6/25/22 Response to the Supreme Court decisions

25 June 2022

This week the Supreme Court issued several rulings that will substantially change the political nature of our nation. They decided that funds designated for high school tuition assistance in Maine can be used by parents seeking to send their children to religious schools, including schools that promote a single religion to the exclusion of all others, refuse to admit gay and transgender children, and openly discriminate in hiring teachers and staff. They struck down a concealed carry gun control law in New York paving the way for many more guns to be carried in public. And they overturned 49 years of precedent when they declared that Roe vs. Wade was not a right protected by the Constitution. Justice Thomas also indicated, in a concurring opinion, that the court should reconsider rulings that protect contraception, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriages.

As of this morning, abortion has been immediately banned in Missouri, Louisiana, Kentucky, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. It is expected to be banned in Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming within the next few days. Within the next few weeks or months, it is expected to be banned in Alabama, West Virginia, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and South Carolina. Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Tennessee will not allow abortion even in the case of incest and rape. Abortion is not illegal. However, today it is illegal in 6 states and will be illegal in 20 states within a few months. We expect it to be illegal in our state by the end of the week.

As we saw with the election of Trump, these decisions will embolden the fundamentalist right and we expect hate crimes to be on the rise. By Friday night, anti-abortion rioters protesting education funding breached the Arizona capitol building forcing the state senate to be evacuated. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a man drove his truck into a demonstration of pro-choice advocates protesting the overturning of Roe.

This is bad. This is about power. It is deeply rooted in misogyny and white supremacy. And we are angry. 

And amidst the anger (rage!), fear, disillusionment, and frustration, we are sitting with a profound sense of sadness as well. 

Sadness for all the women who have become political pawns in a religious and cultural environment of misogyny. Sadness for the children who are attacked in the schools so often many of the shootings hardly make the news (there have been 27 so far this year, more than one a week). Sadness for the LGBTQ+ community whose rights are being targeted next. Sadness at the gerrymandering, election fraud, and violent political uprisings that seem to be harbingers of a democracy in decay. Sadness at our environmental crisis (Lake Mead is now 150 feet away from becoming a "Deadpool" making much of the Southwest uninhabitable). Sadness for so many things, too many to list. 

We must not shy away from our grief. Being present to our grief helps us stay connected to our humanity and to our values. As UUs, often our first impulse is to organize for change. And this is one of the reasons we are Unitarian Universalists. We believe that faith without works is dead. But we must also stay connected to our emotional and spiritual lives in times of struggle. As a church, we can serve one another as chaplains during this time...while we gather our strength and vision for our organizing and activism. Please use the members of your Caring Team as a resource. They are here to help. 

The Social Justice Team has begun to explore ideas on how to guide our community through this troubling new reality. They will soon be releasing a way for us to generate ideas on how we should respond as a community. Please give them a bit of time to find a way to organize how they can take in suggestions, but suggestions (and a willingness to do the work) will be greatly appreciated. 

These are tough times and they may even get tougher, but the purpose of church is to help you navigate these difficulties and find a way to help the world. We are angry too. But most of all we are here to support you. 

Dot Verbrugge, Board President
Rev. Ian White Maher, Interim Senior
MinisterRev. Monica Dobbins, Assistant Minister 
Please reach out to the Caring Team at:
Please reach out to the Social Justice Team at: