What If Mary Had Said No?

A clergywoman/poet friend posed this question recently. This is my response at the moment

BotticelliThen it would have been sexual assault.

I’m not being snarky. Where was her right to say no? Nor am I being anachronistic in asking about such an uneven balance of power, which was then recast as praising her as a “vessel,” of all things, to establish a divine presence on earth and an Old Disciples Club that to this day feels free to stand between women and their choices about their own bodies.

I am no doubt late to the party for such discussions, but I appreciate your posing that question. Much of my response arises from the death of the gang-raped young Indian woman, the shot to the head by the Taliban of the young girl determined to go to school, and usurpation of women’s bodies as political fodder in the recent election campaigns. 

Does rape by a deity equal “legitimate rape”? There’s a long, worldwide history of such events. Mary and the angel can probably be traced back to Leda and the Swan.


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