"I tried many times to educate and talk to them, and let them know we are not second class citizens. We deserve to be with everybody. It got heated he compared me to a stripper."
Breastfeeding, the symbol inspired by Almighty God to describe spiritual fullness, has been labeled as "lewd" and likened to stripping by a Georgia pastor. Perhaps he hasn't studied the prophecy of Isaiah, who penned these beautiful words:
Healthland, a TIME publication, describes what happened to this breastfeeding Georgia peach:
"Last summer, Nirvana Jennette was breast-feeding her baby daughter at a Georgia church when she was asked to cover up. When her daughter didn’t cooperate — as babies are wont to do — the controversy escalated, culminating with Jennette’s pastor calling her disrespectful, intimating that she could face public indecency charges and equating breast-feeding with stripping."
Recently, a local television station interviewed this breastfeeding mom and filed the following report: Local Woman Kicked Out of Church for Breastfeeding Baby
Not surprisingly, this story has attracted a lot of attention in recent days. The Christianity Today blog Her.meneutics has just done an expose on this woman's shocking experience. This timely CT article "Breastfeeding in Church, and Other Petty Crimes" begins with these words:
"A Georgia woman named Nirvana Jenette claims she was kicked out of church for breastfeeding, the pastor ordering her to nurse the baby in the bathroom and calling her behavior ‘lewd,’ comparing her to a stripper. As a culture we’re no strangers to boobage—and not just in music videos and Victoria’s Secret commercials. It’s not unusual to see professional women’s necklines plunging so low so as nearly to permit nursing with little further exposure. Nor is it rare to see suburban teens posing provocatively in photos on social media. Yet strangely, we are still squeamish about breastfeeding."
These are strange times indeed! We are absolutely astounded that Mark Driscoll can prance around the country glorifying oral and anal sex, yet a breastfeeding mom is likened to a stripper when she nourishes her hungry infant. What is wrong with this picture?!
Hey guys (you know who you are), I'm going to presume to speak for my gender now — we're just not feelin' the love. Here at TWW we have explained how in some churches (like Piper's Bethlehem Baptist), women are not allowed to read scripture or pray from the pulpit. Furthermore, in some congregations, women are blamed for the lustful looks and thoughts of men. Now some are sneering at breastfeeding mothers. Where will it stop?
As the mother of two daughters who will probably marry and have a family, I am grateful to Nirvana Jennette and like-minded moms who are standing up to bullies in the pulpit. Do these pastors have any idea what a sacrifice it is for a mother to breastfeed her baby? I nursed both of my daughters, so I know first hand what these moms are experiencing. Breastfeeding is highly demanding, not just physically but emotionally. A mother who chooses this means of nourishing her baby makes a huge sacrifice for the benefit of her child. Demanding that she nurse her baby in a bathroom is unsanitary and unacceptable. When expected to do so, some breastfeeding moms are responding: "Would you take your dinner and eat it in a bathroom? That's what you are expecting infants to do."
Coincidentally, the American Academy of Pediatrics has just reaffirmed its breastfeeding guidelines. Here is their statement:
"Breastfeeding is a natural and beneficial source of nutrition and provides the healthiest start for an infant. In addition to the nutritional benefits, breastfeeding promotes a unique and emotional connection between mother and baby. In the policy statement, "Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk," published in the March 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online Feb. 27), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby's life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby.
This recommendation is supported by the health outcomes of exclusively breastfed infants and infants who never or only partially breastfed. Breastfeeding provides a protective effect against respiratory illnesses, ear infections, gastrointestinal diseases, and allergies including asthma, eczema and atopic dermatitis. The rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is reduced by over a third in breastfed babies, and there is a 15 percent to 30 percent reduction in adolescent and adult obesity in breastfed vs. non-breastfed infants. Approximately 75 percent of newborn infants initiate breastfeeding. Hospital routines more and more attempt to accommodate the breastfeeding mother. Pediatricians promote the advantages of breastfeeding to mothers and infants, as well as the health risks of not breastfeeding. As such, choosing to breastfeed should be considered an investment in the short- and long-term health of the infant, rather than a lifestyle choice."
The Healthland article (cited above) explains the need for a public breast-feeding law in Georgia that will protect women and enforce the law. Here is the pertinent excerpt:
"Every state needs a public breast-feeding law with an enforcement provision, says Jake Marcus, a Philadelphia attorney who laughingly describes herself as the country’s foremost expert on breast-feeding law. (“That’s not saying a lot,” says Marcus. “There aren’t many of us.”) Yet she notes that even if the legislation succeeds, it’s not likely to make much of a difference in terms of Jennette’s run-in with her pastor: houses of worship are generally exempt from public-accommodation regulations.
Marcus, who has helped craft the proposed Georgia legislation, says women can be lulled into a false sense of security when they hear they have the right to breast-feed anywhere they’re authorized to be. “They see the word right and think, No one can interfere with me,” says Marcus. “But a right without a remedy is not a right.”
The proposed legislation calls for a fine of up to $1,000 for those who “restrict, harass or penalize a mother who is breastfeeding her child, require a mother to leave the premises [or] require a mother to move to a different location on the premises if the mother is otherwise authorized to be in her current location.” Nursing in the bathroom, anyone?"
To bring attention to this matter, Jennette and other breastfeeding advocates from around the country are organizing a 'Georgia Statewide Nurse-In' set for this coming Monday at the Woodbine Courthouse. Thanks to social networking, those participating can synergize their efforts through their very own Facebook page. Don't you just love this technology?
Nirvana Jennette has written a petition letter which states:
"Currently Georgia state law allows a mother to nurse her child anywhere that mother and child have permission to be, but there is no enforcement provision.
A law without enforcement protects no one. New legislation would provide for civil action against anyone subjecting a nursing mother to harassment or discrimination in violation of the current state breastfeeding law, as well as protection from all indecent exposure laws.
She goes on to say how she will continue the fight until the law is changed.
The law that a mother can nurse a child anywhere has no enforcement provision, and ultimately protects no-one."
Apparently, some celebrities like Oprah Winfrey have gotten involved, so we expect the nurse-in to draw national attention.
To bring some levity to a serious discussion, here's a collection of funny baby videos. Enjoy!
Lydia's Corner: Jeremiah 12:1-14:10 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:8 Psalm 79:1-13 Proverbs 24:30-34