Thank you

Dear President Trump,

Yesterday I opted to use my character count to send you the text of the prayer I read aloud in church so I couldn’t tell you how it went. I’ll start by saying that as I’ve considered again the possibility of putting these letters out in the public forum, the 10/29 letter from which the prayer was drawn has given me the most pause. In that letter I am saying the virgin conception story has fueled misogyny for thousands of years, I patently do not believe the story, and I think it’s time for Christians to let it go. Even at my liberal UCC church I was worried some people would be angry enough to walk out. Fortunately my pastor had me help her lead worship throughout the service so I didn’t swoop in with a radical take on everyone’s favorite story and then exit stage left. Our pastor’s sermon was also along the same lines and was met with an almost unanimous standing ovation so what I had to say amplified and supported her and together we shook things up.

The greeting line after service was incredibly long and people had so much to say to both of us. One of our oldest members hugged our pastor and through her tears told her she is grateful to have gotten to live long enough to be present for this exact service. It was so beautiful. I had people telling me they now feel they can bring their whole thinking selves to church and others saying they hadn’t realized the depth of their brainwashing before.

It feels kind of crazy to say this, but I wouldn’t have been able to have this amazing opportunity and experience if it weren’t for you, so thank you. On her show the other day when she was interviewing Roxanne Gay, Sarah Silverman commented that having you as our president has led to some great writing and Ms. Gay reluctantly agreed. I don’t know that what I’ve been doing is necessarily great writing but it’s certainly heartfelt and it wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t my most difficult person. So the fact that I got to share a prayer based on a feminist critique of the virgin conception myth the Sunday before Christmas in one of the UCC’s flagship congregations is thanks to you (and my pastor and me).

May we all be safe to challenge oppressive mythologies.
May we be happy to step out of our brainwashed myopia.
May we choose stories that are healthy for everyone.
May we choose stories that promote peace and kindness.

Tracy Simpson

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