Public Conversations with God
| By Lucy Garrido, Articulación Feminista Marcosur
At the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean conference (ECLAC) Regional Conference on Population and Development in Montevideo, Uruguay in August 2013, AFM launched an innovative and engaging campaign calling on passersby to "Talk to God" without intermediaries, via a telephone booth.
The Habla Con Dios campaign uses humour, and creativity to amplify the voices of ordinary people through messages left to God. Many of the messages articulate the dissonance between the humanistic spirit of religion as opposed to extreme discourses that promote discrimination, repression and violence. As Lucy Garrido notes, "fundamentalists have no sense of humour, so humour is the best weapon against them."
The campaign has come under criticism by some, including Uruguayan National Party Deputy Gerardo Amarilla, who claimed the phone booth mocks religious belief, taking particular offense at messages about reproductive rights such as, "I told God I had an abortion. He told me not to worry and that He is with me." Amarilla even argued the campaign violates Uruguay's anti-racism, xenophobia, and discrimination law (see: catolicos-on-line.org).
Yet despite some backlash, the campaign drew an impressive number of "callers" eager to engage God in discussion. The messages left are humorous, critical and also at times earnest pleas for a better life. As Lucy Garrido says, the problem is not God, it is what is being done by those who claim to speak in the name of God.
For more information on the "Talk to God" booth, including a video of the messages, please click here.
Each issue, we chat with a reader of Facing Fundamentalisms and share a brief summary of recent events relating to religion, tradition, culture, and rights-based organizing in different contexts. If you have an idea you'd like to see featured in this space, please reach out! Many thanks to Lucy Garrido, Co-Coordinator of Articulación Feminista Marcosur (AFM), for collaborating on this month's issue of A Reader Writes