Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Anti-Rape Bill Should Not Be a Partisan Issue

by Rev. Laura Barclay

I was very troubled last month to see that 30 senators voted against Senator Al Franken’s anti-rape amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill. This amendment would revoke defense contracts from Halliburton and others who do not allow their employees to take workplace rape and sexual assault cases to court. One such example cited by Senator Franken involved a former Halliburton employee, Jamie Leigh Jones, who was gang raped and locked in a shipping container by her co-workers and later prevented from taking her case to court by her employer.
How can this be a partisan issue, you ask? Those 30 senators, who all happen to be white, male, and Republican, claim that the government is overreaching their authority into the private sector with this bill. They also believe that frivolous lawsuits would occur from allowing employees to sue. One article explains a portion of this: http://www.minnpost.com/stories/2009/10/06/12247/senate_passes_franken_amendment_aimed_at_defense_contractors

However, many of the 30 senators who voted against Franken’s bill had no problem intervening and cutting federal funding when corruption became evident in ACORN. I would have hoped these senators would have made rape cases as much of a priority as financial corruption.

I believe this is another case where politicians get so involved in how to argue against and defeat the other side that they lose focus of the reason they decided to be public servants and run for office. Both parties have been alternately guilty of this throughout history, even though this example highlights Republicans. Many politicians seem to miss the whole point of good governing that protects and cares for its citizens and upholds the law. Democrats and Republicans alike could learn from his example. Jesus went where the poor and suffering were without apology. Our government would do well to exemplify this behavior and listen to the stories of these rape survivors who are crying out for justice.


  1. I would like to respond to the code of civility, more secifically to the idea of loving our neighbors. One wonders how much love there is in either the moderates or conservatives for each other as the result is the desire to triumph. Having spend two years in the Greek on I Cors.13 and having faced the problem of our inability to respond with the kind of agape love required by that pericope, it seems to me that we ought to give attention to our need to see the Lord' face for help in dealing with our miserable failure to really care for any one oter than our own sorry nd sordid selves. Still there is the fact that, since Jesus loved us unconditionally, we might be thus empowered to love others unconditionally.

  2. Great, I was doing alright today until I read this. Thanks for posting this I am glad that you brought attention to this issue. Ugh, I don't have much to say on this subject without loosing it.

  3. @ Dr. Willingham: Thank you for your comment, and I appreciate your compelling honesty. I think that we can move toward fulfilling the goal of loving our neighbor if we move past partisan labels, which is incredibly difficult in our society. This doesn't mean we can't challenge the government's policies (in fact, I believe we should when they don't have loving our neighbor in mind), but it does mean valuing our fellow brothers and sisters as children of God. And if we do that in small acts every day, perhaps we can make it a habit.

    @ Niclolas Fiedler: Thank you. I know it's a tough subject to take. I hope that in raising awareness of this ugly story, folks can pressure the government to care for the people instead of party bickering.