What Toilet Would Joan of Arc Use?
I would wager that we all think that we know what is moral – that we have right, and/ or truth, and/or God on our side. Sure in our cloak of smug rectitude, we march, we call, we email, and complain bitterly about those who don’t agree with us, who surely have it wrong, and whom we deride as corrupt conservatives or snowflake liberals.
Just ask me. I’ll be more than happy to tell you exactly how our country should be run – who should be allowed in (almost everybody – we are, remember, all refugees), who should have health care (everybody) and how we should pay for it (taxes for all, no exceptions, no loopholes, including the ones that I am currently using). Our values, after all, are reflected in how we spend our money. It really doesn’t matter how loudly we proclaim differently.
Which brings me to morality, or rather the co-opting of moral as a slogan. Whenever I meet someone who introduces themselves to me as “a good Christian,” I always step a few paces back. Not, mind you, that I encounter many such self-proclaimed sanctified. More often I read about them, on both sides of the issues. Sometimes they are members of the esteemed clergy. More often they are cherry-pickers of whatever biblical voice suits their beliefs.
My first encounter with a group drafting that term was Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, that faction of the 1980s, whose half-life seems to be echoed by Franklin Graham. We all know their stand on righteousness. To me it seems to be “my way or the highway.” As for me, I’ll take the highway – nicer people there, I do believe. And then there is North Carolina’s own Moral Mondays, though this group stands on the opposite end of the morality spectrum, one of inclusion and a voice for those whose voices may not be heard.
Now this hurts – because this is where my principles collide with causes that I support. The marchers in this group are calling for a legislature that considers its citizens and their oft-times competing needs. So it is not their cause I abjure, but rather it is the name they have chosen for themselves. By co-opting “morality,” they are in danger of becoming as rigidly self-righteous as those who represent all that they oppose. They are, as with the conservative Christian right, both preaching to their own choirs and giving the opposition firepower.
Which, finally, brings me to Joan of Arc. The nation is currently in a toilet frenzy – who should be able to use what toilet. I must confess that I don’t see the vibrant connection that the conservatives assert between toilet usage and sexual predators, but I must also acknowledge my sense that this group sees sex lurking around each and every corner. Projection perhaps?
And here is Joan, cross-dresser of old. And even thought the ever-pious St. Thomas of Aquinas admitted that sometimes this was not the embodiment of wickedness and debauchery, the courts of the time decided otherwise. For her hearing, and subsequent immolation, she was forced to wear a dress. (Alas, our heroine in a skirt does not make for nearly as theatrical a rendition.)
So my question of those North Carolina supporters of HB2 and for those states now considering passing the same types of laws – where would you direct Joan of Arc?
And for me, I continue to write, call, email. Our current political situation, locally and nationally, demands it. And as I do, sure that I have the answers, if only someone would ask, I also consider –Who of us does not think we are moral? Who of us does not think we have the corner on good, on truth?
Another Sunday, http://www.cynthiastrauff.com