By Bobbie Karchner, writing from New York and CSW58
Yesterday in worship, we were challenged to create a vision of what the world would look like if everyone had the resources they needed, men, women, children. Somehow it made me look at the reasons for war.
In so many cases wars exist because one group has and another does not. Or one group wants to take away what the other has. One group resents the other because their needs are great and are being ignored. Wars are, in a sense, need based and greed based.
I also considered this in the context of the sermon at St Patrick's Cathedral where I visited two days ago. What are the two basic choices we make? We can desire God, or we can desire to be God, turning away from God. As people choose to ignore the fact that there is a greater Good, they inexorably become a people who oppress others.
In the context of women, men who do not value women as reflecting equally the face of God fear gender differences and gender fairness.
In our Declaration of Independence we state that all people are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among those rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The things that I am advocating for at the UN Commission on the Status of Women are those fundamental rights we hold so dear.
I am advocating for solutions to poverty and hunger. One cannot "pursue happiness" when one's belly is empty, when one is watching her children slowly starve.
I am advocating that all people have the right to equal access to a quality education, employment, and decision making, that all people have the right to help make decisions that impact their lives.
I am advocating that people have adequate access to health care, particularly when it comes to being able to safely bear children and raise them without fear.
I am advocating for a world and a culture where men and women alike can safely share in relationships and friendships. This is a world free of violence, where men can know their wives, and men and women can know their sisters, and daughters are safe from the atrocity of rape and human trafficking. The truth is that these issues involve vulnerable females at a much higher incidence than men. And it is only when women can trust men as partners that all of us can begin to build a world where all have the resources we need, and there will finally be a world where "peace on earth" is a reality.
Bobbie Karchner is pastor of three Presbyterian churches in Missouri. She is one of 40 Presbyterian delegates to the 58th UN Commission on the Status of Women. See her blog at https://tricountyministries.weebly.com/un-blog.html.