Young Clergy Women International has published an article on fat shaming and how it has no place in the church. Written by Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath, the article addresses diet culture and how it can permeate church spaces, and how this is a direct contradiction of God’s message of unconditional love for us. “There’s no stipulation in there that the Holy One will love us better if we are thin. There’s no asterisk that says God will love us better if we follow a certain eating plan (which by the way is another word for diet), or refrain from certain foods.” We are made in God’s image, created by God, and God does not make mistakes.
Diet culture is the pervasive message that thin is better, that we must lose weight at any cost. Similarly, fat shaming is, as the name suggests, the idea that fat people should be ashamed, that somehow, they are morally deficient for being fat. Both of these things are woven into the fabric of our secular culture, and according to Carrington Heath, have infiltrated the church as well. “Do you run a weight loss program out of your church? Are you known to comment at the pot luck that you ‘shouldn’t have had that cookie?’ Clergy, do you use your social media profile to proclaim the virtues of the latest food you’ve given up, or your latest diet craze? Intended or not, all of these things communicate (especially to a younger generation) that God loves some bodies more than others.”
Carrington Heath’s article is a strong reminder that God loves us as we are, here, today, not in some imagined future time when we are thinner, wealthier, more beautiful. Even as we are awash in New Year messages of self-improvement, we can and should embrace the message that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Read the whole article here.