May 26, 2007

Juli Loesch Wiley

Juli Loesch Wiley has commented wisely about the unwise New Drive Afoot to Pass Equal Rights Amendment. Juli has always been an excellent writer and her current article in Voices continues to enlarge her reputation. More than that, the piece shows how much she has matured from the radical feminist of about 25-30 years ago when I first met her at a National Right to Life Convention.

Juli's background is of a young Catholic woman who worked as a boycott organizer for the United Farm Workers (Cesar Chavez) and then with a community of radical sisters. When I met her, probably in the early 80s, she was a committed pro-life worker who otherwise adhered closely to the liberal social causes of the Democratic party. We talked for almost an hour, and it was a conversation that I remembered for Juli's forthrightness, willingness to listen, and especially because she was never lukewarm about anything in her determined beliefs. Because of her reputation as an outspoken feminist, she reached groups that most pro-lifers would not have touched with a ten-foot pole!

Juli now lives with her husband and homeschooled teenage sons in Johnson City, TN. Her article about the ERA notes clearly that this proposed amendment to the U.S. constitution has precedents at the state level in requiring same-sex marriage, gay adoption, insurance funding for contraception, and public funding for abortion. I read Juli's afterword with even more interest:
Most of the political and legal analysis in this article was derived from two sources: the Arkansas Republican Assembly and Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum. To them I give full acknowledgement and gratitude for their indispensable work.
Juli's new (and presumably somewhat autobiographical) novel, Emma's Journal, describes "an activist's journey from living as a lay woman in a community of radical sisters to founding a movement combining peace and pro-life conviction -- who, following tribulation, pain and grace, eventually finds her heart's home." I suspect that if Juli and I talked again, we would agree much more than we did in the early 60s.

1 comment:

Alison said...

I love your description of Juli. What I have always loved about this woman is when she united with other pro-lifers for the "We Will Stand Up" Campaign for Pope John Paul II's first American visit. She and a handful of pro-lifers were determined to stop abortions in all nine cities the Pope was visiting while he was in those cities. They actually did it in seven of them. I don't think that she was afraid to try anything for what she believed in.