What's your sign?
It was an expression, used mainly in the 60's and 70's, as a small talk opening line at parties and bars to begin a conversation. It was meant to provide a common link between two strangers. Now, in the south (as it has been for a long time), the general opening line between two strangers is "where are you from and where do you go to church," mostly completed in one breath.
I've been dwelling on using a new line for the new century (a decade into it) -- right after someone asks you about your church...how about responding with "where are you from and how was your abortion?" That works on women...for men you could change it to "how your [fill was in sexual partner blank]'s abortion?"
Lots of women have had one, so it seems plausible to use it, whether you're asked your religious affiliation by a man or woman. A little too invasive you think? Which side?
As our culture changes (oh please, can all just EVOLVE?), we are more aware of which "things" are off limits to ask complete strangers...over time, some things come off as rude, insensitive, and downright personal. Graceful people do not insert themselves into someone else's business without provocation or invitation, and even then it must be done with delicate evasiveness so as not to judge by your own standards. It's called being civilized.
Yet prolifers (zealots, antis, freaks...they have so many names) seem to think that it's ok to insert themselves AND their religion into our personal lives, and more specifically, into WOMEN'S personal lives. They do this at the drop of a hat these days, and on the sidewalk no less. So let's call them what they really are...BULLIES.
A Bully is generally defined as one habitually cruel to others weaker than himself (generic, Webster's). Now I don't happen to believe women are weaker, but they are emotionally vulnerable during a visit to an abortion clinic. As Alexandra is fond of saying, it's not like women wake up one morning and say, gee, I think I'll get an abortion today...sort of like saying, gee, I think I'll (a) get may nails done, or (b) go get an ice cream cone. What a choice I have to make.
And there they are, those religious bullies, determined to keep you from exercising your choice of what to do that morning, because only THEY know that shame, and torment, and ridicule, and cruelty will stop you from this particular indulgence today. Their religiousness fortifies their innate cruelty -- it gives them strength, a particular kind of self-righteousness bullying that is at once self-sustaining and self-perpetuating. It is soooo easy to be a bully these days, but that effort is so much easier when you get away with it, time after time, day after day. Grace? Who needs it. They have a right to kick women when they're down, threaten them with damnation. Grace? They have no need of it when vile words are met with no resistance from their target.
I'm less of an escort than I am a verbal conscience. I yell back for those who cannot or will not speak for themselves. I fight the bully with the courage of really angry words...I call them christian bullies. Yet, I still wonder why the women who come to the clinic don't? A simple "back off" or "it's none of your business" or "do NOT speak to me about this issue" would do it. We do have backbones and some fairly wicked comebacks.
I'll never be the southern lady, dripping with sweetness. I learned six months into escorting that these antis don't give a rat's patootie about babies. They just love the fight, as all bullies do. And they only want converts...what easy pickins' women in trouble are...a few well-placed screams of "god loves you and your baby" might just do the trick, so they can parade you about their place of worships as a new recuit in the holy war, the bully war.
It's now culturally repugnant to be a bully about all sorts of things these days -- race, sexual orientation, mental capacity, hell, even age. Why not religious proselytizing on pregnancy alternatives? I want to make religious freaks' condescending remarks on sidewalks as equally repugnant. Drop your inhibitions and call them what they are...christian BULLIES.
So at the next cocktail party, let's evolve...throw in a well placed "were you a christian bully today?" Coz if they were, and with a little work/luck, all they'll ever be is a fading memory...eventually.