Smart people saying smart things (2.16.19)

Smart people saying smart things (2.16.19) February 16, 2019

Thomas Cranmer, “The crime of ill-treatment” (via)

If a man is cruel to his wife and displays excessive harshness of word and deed towards her, as long as there is any hope of improvement, the ecclesiastical judge is to reason with him, rebuking his excessive violence, and if he cannot prevail by admonitions and exhortations, he is to compel him not to inflict any violent injury on his wife, and to treat her as the intimate union of marriage requires, by making him pledge bail, or by taking guarantees, and if he refuses to abandon his cruelty by these mean, then he must be considered his wife’s mortal enemy and a threat to her life. Therefore, in her peril recourse must be had to the remedy of divorce, no less than if her life had been openly attacked.

Gabrielle Bellot, “Blackface is a strange ghost that haunts America”

Blackface is the joke that comforts white Americans who, consciously or otherwise, are terrified of nonwhite people, as Ellison knew. It lives on like a comfort food. The critic Elias Cannetti argued, in Crowds and Power, that laughter allows us to take power over the one we laugh at; perhaps this is why, even now, blackface still exists, a crude, cruel attempt by certain white Americans to retain a sense of racial superiority. Blackface is a ghost we may never be able to exorcise; it is too deeply, painfully American.

William Lindsey, “Stephanie Krehbiel on Religious Groups Facing Abuse Revelations”

It should be noted that this is the same excuse people are now offering to defend Southern Baptist churches in face of reports of horrendous covered-over abuse — that the SBC is loosely organized, lacks a centralized authority, and so on and so on.

But in both church groups, let a church leader or congregation make a statement proposing ordination of women or acceptance and respect of same-sex marriage and LGBTQ people, and watch how quickly the supposedly “loose” and “disorganized” church structures act.

This is a con. Don’t believe that they cannot act. They act with alacrity when they want to do so.

Stephanie Krehbiel, “Godly Men, Be Quiet”

Let me be as clear as I can: I am not asking men in church leadership positions to do nothing about sexual abuse. I’m asking them to devote themselves to the task of following people who have less social power than they do. That is not doing nothing. That is a lifetime’s worth of action.

The rest of us — knowing that power never yields without a fight, knowing that we may well wait the rest of our lives for so-called godly men to get a clue, and still be disappointed — can choose to trust only the people who have earned our trust. We can choose to accept leadership only from people who have proven their compassion and expertise. And just as we shouldn’t demand unearned trust from others, we don’t have to extend it. There’s nothing spiritually virtuous about refusing to question authority.

Dina Zirlott, “I Wish I’d Had a ‘Late-Term Abortion’ Instead of Having My Daughter”

I have watched as women raised their voices in the Me Too movement. I have read the vitriol directed at victims of sexual assault, at women who have made the agonizing decision to go through with an abortion. I am watching now as our bodies continue to be commodified, exploited for the sake of ignorant politics. Judgment without context is the worst sort of cowardice. I would invite you to sit across from me and listen to me tell this story with my own voice, every excruciating detail, and tell me to my face how I should feel or what I should have done. Tell me you know my grief better than I do. Tell me it doesn’t matter.

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