Finding the Gospel of my Sisters, or, How to Piss Off Jill Stanek.

31 Mar

Aw, it’s always nice to get some “love” from Jill Stanek and her crew. (Note: Ms. Stanek’s staff has shockingly bowed to reality and put Steph as the rightful founder of the blog. However, I think they chose to quote me for a reason, explained in the response below.)

Quote of the Day 3-31-10

Calling ourselves an Abortion gang means that we are committed to destigmatizing not only abortion care work but also reproductive justice activism. We are dedicated to showing that young men and women care about our bodies, health, and rights. We won’t take anti-choice bull**** no matter how many different ways they spew it.

..I hope that you’ll let us challenge you and that you’ll respect us enough to do the same..

~ Shelby Knox, “self proclaimed Christian” and creator of The Abortion Gang, March 31

The only problem: I didn’t start the blog. It would have taken one minute for Ms. Stanek and staff to do the research to find that out. But as per the anti-choice playbook, facts are casualties to one of several predetermined narratives, this one being that “real” Christians believe forced pregnancy is next to Godliness.

I know why Ms. Stanek and co.  initially chose to put my picture next to Steph’s words. I’m a frustrating paradox to the author and her readership: I was raised an evangelical Christian and I proudly proclaim that my reproductive justice activism is because of, not despite, what I learned in the pews.

When I was in junior high my pastor led the congregation through a series of spiritual gifts one is given to do God’s work – which, my mother said, was to make the world more fair for everybody. I knew I had the ‘missionary’ gift because I wanted more than anything to travel and speak with as many people about their lives as possible.

After a documentary made about my high school activism – the reason Ms. Stanek thinks she knows so much about me – was released, I was blessed with the opportunity to give speeches all over the country. Most of the people I spoke to were women and because I was telling my story, many offered theirs in return.

I met mothers who were struggling to put enough food on the table for their families but hired a babysitter to come to a talk about better sex education. I listened to college students agonize about choosing between buying books and buying birth control and strategized with a young woman who’d started an abstinence club at her school. A sixteen year-old in Tennessee asked if I could help her get the baby her step-father had put in her belly out. I spoke alongside a woman who had been chained to the bed while she gave birth because she was incarcerated.

These stories and hundreds of others – the Gospel of my Sisters – led me to the reproductive justice movement. It’s main tenet is that women are sacred and deserve the rights and the resources to control their lives. It’s about making sure women have the right and the ability to access medical care – whether it be pre-natal care or abortion care or dental care. It’s about giving them the resources to parent their own children, to buy produce to keep their families healthy, and to drink water without toxins in it.

No God I was taught to worship would even tolerate me for sitting idly by while I know my sisters are suffering. No God I would want to worship would reward me for tossing stones at them for not living up to an earthly ideal. Because of my faith, I am convicted to take action and speak up for those who cannot.

I’ve finally fulfilled my dream of being a missionary. I carry the Gospel of my Sisters wherever I go. Ms. Stanek can put scare quotes around “self-identified Christian” all she wants – it just gives me one more opportunity to stand up and assert that true faith and service is using knowledge and experience to make the world more equal for all people.

Editor’s note: It is unclear who posted the entry on JillStanek.com, whether it is Ms. Stanek or a moderator. We do know that the points made in the above entry remain valid no matter who posted their “Quote of the Day.” Apologies to any readers who were confused.

18 Responses to “Finding the Gospel of my Sisters, or, How to Piss Off Jill Stanek.”

  1. ProChoiceGal March 31, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    Beautiful!

  2. Steph March 31, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    Thank you Shelby. Fierce, as always.

  3. BritPixie March 31, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    Amen! Good for you.

  4. Jill Stanek March 31, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    Steph,

    I hate to burst your bubble, but the only problem with your entire scenario is I didn’t post the quote of the day. One of my moderators did. I didn’t see the mistake either. My administrative assistant did and made the correction. Finally, I’ve never seen your documentary.

    Carry on.

  5. Criss March 31, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    Thank you for writing this. I agree 100%. As a fellow pro-choice Christian, all I have to say is YES and THANK YOU!!!

  6. KushielsMoon March 31, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    “Gospel of my Sisters”- what a beautiful phrase/saying. It absolutely fits. It seems the God we learned about (the one, true God) is the same- one who cares about all people and works to help them, instead of hurt them.

    I had not ever thought of speaking up for abortion rights and other women’s rights as missionary work. Missionary work in my mind is (was) going to Africa and telling people their beliefs were wrong and pounding God into their head over and over. Something I never wanted to be a part of. But the missionary work YOU do is God’s work. I need to open my mind to the term missionary work, and you’ve absolutely helped me do that. Thanks!

  7. Kirsten March 31, 2010 at 6:10 pm #

    Amen, Shelby! A doctor we work with in Kenya once said about the work he does treating women who’ve had abortions, “Jesus said that we should help the least of these, and I don’t know who’s more least in my country than women who’ve had unsafe abortions.” When people ask how we reconcile the work we do in conservative religious communities, I tell them that story.

  8. Jasper March 31, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    Actually Shelby, it wasn’t Jill Stanek who posted the quote, it was me, I’m one of her moderators.

  9. Steph March 31, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

    Jill – I don’t have a documentary. You’re mistaking me for Shelby. You seem to get us confused a lot.

    In all seriousness, perhaps you should have your “staff” put their names on the bottom of what they post. Your blog has your name all over it & no way to tell when someone else is making mistakes on your behalf.

    A side note to everyone else: Comments are moderated to prevent the spread of hate and ignorance. The abortion gang blog is NOT a forum for debate about reproductive health issues. We are here to support and challenge each other, not answer to anti-choice lies.

  10. gl. March 31, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    “No God I was taught to worship would even tolerate me for sitting idly by while I know my sisters are suffering. No God I would want to worship would reward me for tossing stones at them for not living up to an earthly ideal.”

    *applause*

  11. Dee March 31, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    “Challenge each other about what?”

    Challenge each other to spread the word to the people of our generation about reproductive justice and what’s at stake if we complacently sit by and let anti-choicers have their way. Our rights as women, sadly, are being challenged each day; so we need to challenge each other to come up with ways to make sure that those rights are not taken away.

  12. Shayna March 31, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    Well, I guess Jill is so busy being godly and what not that hiring competent staff capable of literacy is just beyond her capabilities.

  13. Steph March 31, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    Apologies for the anti-choice vitriol that appeared here earlier! I’ve altered the settings so that shit hopefully won’t go undetected again.

  14. Chelsea August 22, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    You guys do realize that there’s more than one life at stake in abortion? I’m Pro-Life and I’m not anti-woman (I am one and 17 yrs old) I don’t see how privacy trumps the life of another human being nor do I see how supporting the protection of the unborn means I want to marry a controling overly traditional husband and have no future which is what this entire sight seems to suggest

  15. Dee August 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    @chelsea

    “You guys do realize that there’s more than one life at stake in abortion? I’m Pro-Life and I’m not anti-woman (I am one and 17 yrs old)”

    If you’d read the various blog posts, you’d see your question endlessly answered. You can be a misogynist AND a woman. Some of the greatest oppressors of women have been other women. Anyone who values a collection of cells over their unwilling host is anti-woman.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Finding the Gospel of my Sisters, or, How to Piss Off Jill Stanek. | Abortion Gang. -- Topsy.com - March 31, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Heather Corinna, The Abortion Gang. The Abortion Gang said: new post : Finding the Gospel of my Sisters, or, How to Piss Off Jill Stanek. http://j.mp/dtDqos […]

  2. Finding the Gospel of my Sisters, or, How to Piss Off Jill Stanek … - March 31, 2010

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    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by heathercorinna: RT @iamdrtiller: love to @ShelbyKnox RT @abortiongang: new post : Finding the Gospel of my Sisters, or, How to Piss Off Jill Stanek. http://j.mp/dtDqos

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