Diana Butler Bass: ‘We cannot stand by …’

Diana Butler Bass—religion scholar, historian and author—is known in 2016 for her new efforts to encourage Christians to rethink their connection to the environment. However, in mid-October 2016, she has joined with 700 other women who are Christian leaders to condemn not only the toxic disparagement of women in this year’s presidential campaign—but also male religious leaders who dismiss violent speech about women as a minor lapse.

In the Huffington Post, she posted this call to action: 

“We cannot stand by and allow the Jerry Falwells and James Dobsons of the world claim to speak for God regarding Trump and sexism … When this election is over—and Hillary Clinton is the nation’s first female president—I hope that we will finally get beyond the idea of ‘Christian women leaders’ being some special subset of Christian community.

“Women are the majority of Christians around the world—we are the heartbeat of living faith. The media spends too much time covering male leaders—and then a small subset of authoritarian conservative men—as if they are the voice of the church. They are not.

“Women are. All the women. The women who preach, the women who write theology, the women who pray, the women who serve, those who hold the hand of the dying. Those who care for children, those who feed the hungry, those who embrace the poor and visit prisoners. Those who weep and mourn for the pain they’ve suffered. Those who find the God’s love is more beautiful and trustworthy than those who abused them. That’s the church—a church that knows no facile forgiveness or partisan spin. But the church that understands grace, peacemaking, and mercy. And that church is rarely heard in public because it is too busy living its faith. Women are the high priests of that church.”

Care to read more?

A ‘GROUNDED’ RENEWAL—Diana Butler Bass calls her new Grounded, “the first book of the second half of my life.” Read our in-depth interview with her about that book.

STUDY GUIDE—We welcomed Christian educator Debbie Houghton to help us write a five-week study guide to Grounded. Here is Part 1 of that guide, which you are free to use for individual inspiration or for small-group discussion.

COVERING THE CALL TO ACTION—The Huffington Post has been covering the nationwide call to action by 700 Christian women. While this response came out of Christianity, this effort is broadly applicable to the thousands of women who are the heart and backbone of Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and other religious communities as well. Here is a link to the original manifesto with all of the signatures attached in PDF form. Then, on October 13, 2016, Huffington Post reported this news story about the effort. The next day, Huffington Post asked key women within the campaign, including Diana Buter Bass, to respond more fully.

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