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Working with religious resources

In this video SAFAIDS explains how and why it is important to engage with religious resources when working with religious leaders
NAKAI GODFREY NENGOMASHA: OK. I’ll give you an example of the story of Jesus, and the woman with the issue of blood. It was culture, and tradition, that when you had that condition you were supposed to stay outside. Or in a quarantine, or in a place where you’re not mixing with others. And scripture says that she suffered for 12 years. She could not be in a place where she would interact with others, because of the condition that she had. But you realise that when she heard that Jesus was passing, she went to reach out to Jesus. But when she touched the hem of Jesus garment, she was healed. This is one of the stories that we work with religious leader.
She tucked. And Jesus never accused her of, saying you came out of quarantine to come and touch me, and you made me an undefiled person. Actually, in the Bible we don’t hear her name. And the way Jesus reflects to her, he actually calls her daughter. He then says, daughter your faith has led you well. So these are some of the scriptures that we use to engage with religious leaders. To say, even if tradition and culture had actually separated this woman from the whole community. When Jesus came, he embraced her, and even called her daughter. And made sure that the healing that she deserves, she got it. He did not separate himself from the situation.
But he was there to make sure that she get the help that she needed. And the Bible says, immediately the issue stopped. So we use that to say, sometimes with cultures and traditions that separate people, that put a gap between people, but what we need to do as religious leaders is to make sure that we bring people together. With the message of hope, with the message of oneness, with the message of unity.

In the previous step you have investigated how the Sexuality, Gender and Faith Toolkit draws on Bible texts to raise awareness about gender based violence and the importance to transform unequal relations. In this video Godfrey Nakai from SAFAIDS explains how and why it is important to engage with religious resources when working with religious leaders.

He gives an example of how a story from the Bible book of Judges, chapter 19, is used to engage into conversation on rape and gender based violence. His reflections indicate that stories from the Bible are not engaged to communicate ‘truths’ or ‘norms’. The stories create space for talking about rape and sexual trauma in everyday life in the community, and for reconsidering normative and exclusionary responses to this. Drawing on the Bible as a resource that has a lot of authority for Christian communities and their leaders in Zimbabwe, helps to motivate people to engage in such sensitive and difficult conversations.

Can you think of any examples in your own environments where activists and organisations draw on religious texts to transform the ways people think around themes such as gender, sexuality, and gender based violence?

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Religion and Sexual Wellbeing: Pleasure, Piety, and Reproductive Rights

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