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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lent / Tarot / The Empress

Jacob Seisenegger. Mother with Her Eight Children

Some tarot cards are complex and it has taken me years fully to plumb them. And maybe I'm flattering myself in announcing that I have plumbed them.

Other tarot cards are much more up front. The Empress is mom. She's mother nature. She's Mary the mother of God. She's a woman and she is generative. She creates.

Tarot readers rush to add that this card can refer to a man, if he creates and nurtures life or art or other gifts. And it can refer to a spinster, like me. I teach, I counsel, I produce writing.

Here's the thing.

I wish the institutional church, Catholic and Protestant, would get that memo, would get what Neo-Pagans and Wiccans get. That unmarried, childless women can have some value.

The institutional church luuuuuuuvs moms with kids. The more the merrier. One reason the Catholic Church is so eager to welcome illegal immigrants. Low-income Latina women have more kids.

Kids are soldiers for the ideological army. Kids are butts in the pews. Kids are donations in the collection plate. Kids are the future.

So the institutional church luuuuvs moms with kids.

I generally refuse to debate abortion because I hate the arguments I hear from *both sides.* Is there anybody out there like me? Who wants to throttle both the pro-choice people and the pro-life people? Who finds both sides anti-human, cruel, abusive, murderous?

Of course a fetus is not a baby. Of course a fetus is human. Of course you can't force a woman to gestate a fetus against her will. What do you plan to do, pro-life people? Chain all fertile women to beds? Of course there is a moral cost for stopping a beating human heart. Of course there should be fewer abortions and of course no law will make that happen.

I wish Christians were pro-life because they are, well, pro-life. But too many Christians are only pro-life as long as that life is a fetus inside a woman who doesn't want to be pregnant.

If you are pro-life, you care about your adult neighbor who doesn't have health insurance and just got a cancer diagnosis.

That happened to me. The Christians I knew, including the staff and the priest at the church where I attended mass, and the staff of an award-winning Catholic hospital, whom I turned to for help, turned me away. "We have nothing for you. Sorry." No kind word, no advice, no alternative options, nothing.

I posted about it on Facebook and my vociferous pro-life Catholic Facebook friends ignored my post. They couldn't even take the time to type, "I'm sorry this happened to you."

I found help with friend Robin, who was raised Jewish, who is an agnostic (AFAIK) and a secular hospital far away.

The institutional church opposes abortion, I suspect, because abortion means fewer butts in the pews.

I grew up in the world before Roe v Wade. I was surrounded by immigrant and first-generation Catholic women who had many children. It was miserable. The women complained endlessly. Any affection between parent and child was strained and rationed. There were crowded homes and many illnesses and runaways and unwanted teen pregnancy and boys in jail. There was real hunger. There was plenty of child abuse.

I'm pro-choice largely because of that child abuse. Women who have kids because they have no other option visit a great deal of suffering on countless numbers of children.

The Catholic Church insists that it sees men and women as equal – specifically, as separate but equal. Women have been designed by God to produce and raise children. Men have been designed by God to do everything else: think, lead, play sports, invent, research, write, speak, preach.

When a woman has a baby, she is doing what God wants her to do. When a woman thinks or writes or speaks or does anything else, she is unnatural and invading men's space.

And we wonder why our schools are closing, our churches are being turned into public spaces, and, no matter how many fertile Latinas we import and protect from ICE deportation, our pews empty out. 

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