The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff, Bishop Suffragan, shares a message regarding her decision to attend the Women’s March on Washington January 21, 2017.
I am going to the Women’s March on Washington January 21. I want to tell you why I’m going, based on my faith as a Christian.
For me it’s all about the deep and abiding love of Jesus. Jesus loved people, loved them with concrete action for their well-being – he healed the sick and fed the hungry. He loved especially people who were despised, rejected, or marginalized. He chose men as his disciples and, out of his powerful choice to love the marginalized, he also chose women.
When he rose from the dead, he told a woman disciple to go and tell the others that he was alive. He made her the first apostle, which means someone who is sent. In Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition this woman, Mary Magdalene, is known as the Apostle to the Apostles. Jesus’ choice of a woman as his first apostle may have come directly from his knowledge of scripture. Jesus would have known these words from the first creation story in the Book of Genesis,
“God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. . . and it was very good. (Genesis 1:26-27, 31a)
St. Paul picked up on this knowledge in one of his many letters that are now books in the New Testament. He wrote,
“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28).
This biblical vision of the oneness of men and women is powerful and beautiful, but it is not yet a reality in our country. Women in the majority of fields still don’t earn the same salary as men for the same work. Glass ceilings are still firmly in place. Women and girls still suffer abuse and sexual assault at dramatically higher rates than men do – and dismissing assault as locker room talk is not acceptable by any standards. Gender inequality remains firmly entrenched and God’s intention is not yet realized.
As I talk about these things, some people say that I’m biased; they say that my decision to go to Washington is biased. And it’s true – I do have a strong bias. But it is not a partisan bias. It’s not about one political party or another. It’s a faith bias. It’s all about living the faith that I proclaim. For me, it’s a Jesus bias and I, as a Christian, embrace this bias toward justice and equality in Jesus’ name.
So I will go to Washington to stand in solidarity with women of all ages and races and religions who are not allowed to live up to their full potential. I’ll go to stand in solidarity with women who have been abused and assaulted, saying with them, “Enough.” I’ll go to witness to the identity that God gave us in creation, the identity that comes from God’s proclamation that women and men alike are made in the image of God. I’ll go to Washington along with thousands of women and men and children from across the country, joyfully walking toward the day when all women and girls, and all men and boys as well, will truly be free to become whoever it is that God calls them to be.
If you are going, maybe I’ll see you there. If you are not going, please hold this march in your thoughts and prayers. Either way, let’s keep on working together for the freedom and equality of all people.
Video of this statement can be found on the Diocese of Virginia You Tube Channel.