Does Melania’s Life Matter, Too? A Pastor’s Response to the Stoning of a Woman Caught in Plagiarism

Blue lives matter, black lives matter, LGBTQ lives matter, but what about Melania Trump, does her life matter too?

Our media has analyzed everything from her choice of words, to her choice of clothing to her alleged college degree. It seems as if the hounds have been released to attack this woman of stunning beauty, multiple languages, business acumen and incredible speaking skills. While most journalists and analysts agree that there were, in fact, words and themes lifted from Michelle Obama’s speech, now the question is, so what? Are we to burn her at the stake for her unorthodox behavior, putting the freedom fighting words of the Democratic Party to work for the Republican Party? Offending the standards of our national morality….uh…whatever that is?

I wonder if the lives of  women who have made something of themselves in the world matter, too, regardless of status, beauty, nationality, color or spouse. America has unleashed the hounds of hell on Melania and it is a difficult thing to watch. It reminds me of the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials and all the ways in which we punish those women who offend our highest ideals of who we are, even though we can’t seem to live up to them ourselves.

Jesus said to the mob gathered to stone the woman caught in adultery, “you who are without sin, cast the first stone.” He was good at bursting the bubble of mob mentality.

It is clear from my blog that I am not a fan of Trump’s methods, in fact, I wrote about his persona as a Trickster character, bringing out the shadow side in all of us so that we can see the darker aspects of our personalities for what they really are. His tactics bring out the worst in us and I write that this is actually a gift, because it enables us to have the conversations we’ve refused to have, to begin to work through some of our ways of behaving that seek punishment and retribution over forgiveness and love. The article speaks to some of our deeply held core beliefs about women, beliefs that reinforce the statistics of violence against women. Trump seems to bring out the worst in all of us, including his very own family.

If anything, a refreshing response to Melania’s speech would be to offer her refuge from the storm, to grant her the freedom to “go and sin no more,” so to speak.

We seem to be obsessed with living a life that matters, and in this obsession, we put everyone on the stand who seems to stand in the way. But are we willing to explore the realms within us and with others where mattering occurs? What makes a life matter is not achievement, fame, fortune, wealth, popularity or beauty. The hyper focus on these things in our world, played out in the example of Donald Trump, gives us a sense of importance and maybe even power, (and in Trump’s shadow, humiliation) but it’s not the same thing as having a life that matters. The way in which you can live a life that matters, in other words, feel as if your spirit is being transferred into matter over the course of your lifetime, (what we as Christians call the twice born soul, the second birth), is by walking away from a life controlled by dominance and transferring your life into love, the being and doing of love in the world.

There are many creative ways in which this is done, artists do it through creation, teachers with their students, engineers with projects that enable humans to live better lives, people who decide to invest their hearts in communities of diversity, and on and on. The reality is, it cannot be done alone and there is simply no one “right” way to love, but it must be done with others, you need others to help you create a life that matters.

It is the giving and the receiving of love in its many forms that turns your life into something that feels like matter in the larger world.

We all have the opportunity to live lives that truly matter, to walk away from those areas of our lives that make us feel as if we don’t matter and move toward the people, places and things that help us transfer our love into the world.

 

Rev. Sherry Cothran is the pastor at St. John’s West UMC, Nashville, TN, a writer, musician, speaker and Co-Founder of  Dreamweave: Transforming the Lives of Incarcerated Women Through Social Enterprise.

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Speaker, Author, Musician, Pastor, Nature Lover. Co-Founder of the Social Enterprise: Dreamweave: Renew Lives, Recyle Products;

9 thoughts on “Does Melania’s Life Matter, Too? A Pastor’s Response to the Stoning of a Woman Caught in Plagiarism

  1. It’s not exactly burning someone at the stake to point out that quoting without attribution is ethically questionable behavior. It seems clear to me from direct observation that however many languages Mrs. Trump speaks, her facility with English is limited, and she needs to learn that it’s bad form to take someone else’s word as your bond. If she didn’t learn that in middle school, it will benefit her in future to understand it now. Since a Trump International employee has accepted direct blame for the plagiarism, we can move on to focus more on the raft of lies presented by the candidates themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments. The stoning reference is leaning towards an equivalent of such in the media, the burning at the stake, only a passing reminder of extreme forms of punishment throughout history related to women acting in unorthodox ways. The slurs alone that have been heaped upon Melania due to her slip up, provided by an organization called “Men Stopping Violence” are astounding. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes all lives matter however if it had been Michelle Obama in this situation the call would had looked very differently. The movement Black lives matter is about the plight of my people and the mistreatment ans unequal treatment that we received by power. The press and your blog continues the role of sympathy toward Mrs. Trump have your words been the same for the African American lives lost due to racism here in America. Where is your blog for those whose plight that do not resources that Mrs. Trump have. I would consider looking up who is oppressed. Chaplain Patricia E Kelly, M.Div., BCC

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your words, Patricia. I identify as part Native American, female, Caucasian, but certainly don’t believe in such a thing as a white or black race in the way in which those terms are used in our culture. I can’t possibly identify with what it means to be African American in our culture, my heart is continuously broken, over and over again, by the ways in which those who identify as “white” persecute and hold hatred for those who identify as “black”…so the whole debate, slurs against anyone as derogatory towards a person’s character hurt me to the core. It’s a hurt I only know how to talk about in terms of the plea, “all lives matter,” which means all. Being friends with many the Lakota community, I have heard terrible, terrible stories of how they are still treated any time they try and deposit money in a bank, they are questioned as to where they got it, things along those lines. I’m trying as best I can to give my power to compassion and love for everyone and lead people in that regard. If you browse my blog, you will see posts representing MLK, Cherokee women, Homeless, and many others who I try and advocate for. I understand that we all see Melania as a person of white privilege, but I also see her as a person trapped in a power struggle, perhaps it is something she chose, perhaps she felt as if she didn’t have a choice, I don’t really know. But I do appreciate your candor and honesty, it is only through our civil conversations that we will get anywhere towards being able to love one another. I don’t believe in white or black or red or yellow, I believe in human beings and God, that all life is sacred. Maybe that should be part of our Christian creed. 🙂 And I love Michelle Obama, she is one of my heroes.

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      1. One more thought here, Patricia, I want to apologize for my usage of the phrase, “all lives matter.” It has come to my attention that this is a heated, political phrase that is often used to counter the phrase, “black lives matter,” and I’ve removed it as a hash tag. I always say I am not very political and then I hear quotes such as “all poetry is political” and have to revise my stance and pay more attention. 🙂 I was not aware of the full import of the phrase, I was only trying to speak about mattering in terms of how our compassion undergirds justice, a necessary component for true justice to be realized. The whole situation made me think of the woman caught in adultery, and Jesus’ response due to all the name calling and shaming that occurred afterwards. For me, this has been an experience about shaming women in general and the words that are thrown about that go way beyond the crime. Words create worlds, and it is my hope that we can all work towards a better world with better words, words that reflect actions of a holy mountain kind of justice, understanding and compassion.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pat,
    Michelle got ripped by Melania. There is a pattern of White power stealing from the Black community. There is definitely a piece of that in this event. There is also a political naïveté with Melania that let her do it – as well as a lot of assumed privilege (which comes with power). I think you are on target with the nastiness that would have been directed at Michelle Obama if she would have done the same. Race is huge here whether it gets acknowledged or not. The nastiness directed at Michelle (and Barak) as First Lady and President has been deeply generated by race as much as political differences.

    As much as race is at work, I do think gender and shame plays a huge piece in how we operate. Class may be coming in behind as well (I think of how the ‘rich young ruler’ was trapped by his wealth). She is rich and White but she is also a female. The words that have been generated around her speech have centered as much on her gender as it has been of her wealth or race.

    What I see in Sherry’s blog is a lifting up of how God continues to see what is really at stake in God’s creation. The many articles on the soul’s journey and individuation in the midst of the darkness that so many of us face is a seminal theme for Sherry. I see Sherry read through the lens of gender more than that of race but I do not think that the embodiment of sin and deathliness could not be expanded to how we do race in America. I do not think that valuing the one lens of gender has to necessarily exclude what comes from viewing through the lens of race and its pluriform experience.

    So, in regards to the article, if I am to imagine a different way of doing business, I have to imagine that there is a way of acknowledging my own complicity in shaming (and the rest). I also have to see if I can engaged differently. In other words, as a White guy, I have lots of pieces that might get in the way of seeing how God is at work in the world due to my own behavior. Others matter whether I fully embody that or not. I also thank God that the kingdom that is at work is not limited to my own acknowledgment and involvement/embodiment.

    I like your comments. I like the article as well. There are places for both. But maybe I am mishearing?

    Patrick

    Liked by 1 person

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