Under God: With Liberty & Justice for All
Under God is St. Martin’s ongoing effort of “works of love” prompted by the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, eliminating the federal constitutional right to abortion in the United States.
In forming this ministry, we recognized that the decision is causing heartbreak, confusion, bodily harm, and fear. Swiftly proliferating state laws are preventing women from exercising their moral and physical autonomy, and criminalizing women and medical practitioners for receiving and providing safe medical care. The most vulnerable among us are bearing the brunt most harshly. Our ministry draws upon a long history of Christian support for reproductive justice, and seeks ways make public witness, educate, and advocate for equal access to safe reproductive services, including abortion, and provide practical support where needed for those seeking such care.
Who Is Involved
A steering committee leads the efforts of this ministry. Members include Bill Bixby, Huntly Collins, Barbara Dundon, Carolyn Green, Rob Jennings, Cary Nicholas, Kate Maus and Lydia Ogden.
Over 50 parishioners have participated in prayer, discussion, and discernment about how St. Martin’s should address the issue.
St. Martin’s Vestry has resolved to support the right of all women to make decisions about their reproductive health, including abortion, and to have equal access to reproductive health care services.
How can I get involved?
Contact Cary Nicholas, [email protected], or any member of the steering committee.
ACTIONS TO DATE
Prayer, listening, discernment
In the summer of 2022, we led three information/listening sessions following Compline. From the approximately 50 parishioners who attended these sessions, we created teams charged with identifying possible local partners and coming up with a communications strategy geared to both the parish and, ultimately, the broader community.
In September 2022, the Vestry of St. Martin's approved a statement, expressing grief and distress over the harms being done, and our resolve to lift our Christian voices in support of women’s right to make decisions about their reproductive health, including the right to abortion. The St. Martin’s statement builds upon the firm foundation provided by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s statement shortly after the Dobbs decision was rendered.
In November 2022 St. Martin’s hosted a community-wide forum on the rise of white Christian nationalism and the threat it poses to democracy and an inclusive vision of Christianity. The speaker was Dr. Philip S. Gorski, a Yale University sociologist and co-author of a recently published book, “The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy.” It was attended by more than 100 people, both parishioners and from the immediate community.
In March 2023, the Under God ministry encouraged St. Martin's to attend attend a lecture by The Rev. Dr. Pamela Cooper-White, on her recent book, The Psychology of Christian Nationalism: Why People Are Drawn in, and How to Talk Across the Divide (Fortress, 2022). Her lecture explored White Christian Nationalism as “the dangerous belief that America is – and must remain– a Christian nation founded for its white Christian inhabitants, and that our laws and policies must reflect this premise. Such ideologies can lead to the erosion of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism and fascism. Rev. Dr. Pamela Cooper-White offered keen insights into the nature of this movement and how critical-thinking Christians can provide a much-needed counter-narrative to this fear-based rhetoric.” You can watch a recording of the series on YouTube by clicking here.
On Nov. 3, 2022, an op-ed on the subject of white Christian nationalism by Rector’s Warden Barbara Thompson was published in the Chestnut Hill Local.
On December 14, 2022, we submitted testimony to Philadelphia City Council in support of the Reproductive Freedom Platform, a suite of bills designed to support access and provide protections for abortion providers and patients. The Platform has been enacted into law with overwhelming support from City Council members.
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