If the government dictates that we must close down the economy, then it is incumbent upon that same government to ensure that the people – ALL the people – can survive that shutdown, and have a reasonable hope of returning to fruitful and stable lives afterwards.
When I hear and read of these protests to end the COVID-19 Lockdown and re-open the Economy, what I mostly hear is fear: particularly the (well-founded) fear of losing one’s home and livelihood in the current economic shutdown.
I hear a desperate cry to return things back to the way they were, even though that is not possible. I hear the fear of people who do not have the resources they need to survive this plague for an indefinite period of time. I hear the fear of people who are grasping for hope. These protestors are yelling for “Freedom.” To me, it is clear what they mean is “Freedom From Fear”. But, they can only imagine that Freedom on their own terms: not within the context of being a member-of, and dependent upon, the society around them. They believe that Freedom from responsibility to their neighbor is the only way to survive.
I’ve recently seen a spate of Facebook posts, political emails and opinion columns saying the writer can’t (and we shouldn’t) “approve of the President.” I would suggest this is a fundamentally flawed approach…
Saying this suggests we should hate or dismiss the man for what and who he is.
And yet, as a minister, I and many of my peers constantly preach and demonstrate we love all of our neighbors no matter who they are or what they believe. No matter what their race, income, nationality, immigration status, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Jesus taught that we are to love each other without judgment, without preconditions.
That includes the President, too.
So, I cannot approve of him, nor disapprove of him.
In a recent interview with Sean Hannity on Fox, Eric Trump said that those who oppose his dad “are not even people” and then proceeded to criticize those who are calling his father names, and making all sorts of vile accusations against him.
I’ll have to admit, it’s really hard for many to take such ire seriously. After all, no one has ever accused our current president of being a high-minded politician. And, all of us (even his most ardent supporters) can easily recite quite a long list of derogatory phrases he has used to label those he sees as enemies. He’s a master at the craft of name-calling and the memorable insult, we all know it.
But, does that justify our own insults of him in return? And, does our own insulting of him justify his supporters (and him) re-insulting us back? And, does their re-insulting of us in response to our insulting of them after they insulted us justify our re-insulting them back again? And, does our re-insulting of them for re-insulting us after we insulted them for their insulting us justify their re-re-insulting us again? And…
A synopsis of the “A Message for All Ages” I presented to our congregation’s children (and adults) on January 22, 2017.
I attended the “Women’s March for America” in Boston yesterday. It was not easy to get to because Boston’s Public Transportation system was overwhelmed by how many people were trying to go, but it was well worth the hassle it took to get there.
I thought it would be good to show you a slideshow of some of the things I saw, as well as talk about what that March means for us and our neighbors.
I like this meme by John Pavlovitz: It gets to the heart of something that always troubles me when I’m labelled as an ally of one group or another…
It is true that we are called by our faith to make a special effort to support those who are not empowered, no matter who they are. And, this is a central concept within my own ministry and in my day to day existence.
But the problem has always been that people tend to view someone who is “for” some group or cause as being against something else. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Let us not mince words, as a country we have a starker choice than we’ve ever had before: to choose hate, or to choose love. Which path does our faith call us to pursue?
A year ago today our souls were still filled with the words of President Obama’s Eulogy in Charleston for nine Christians murdered in their own church: in that speech his words were filled with calls for forgiveness, love, tolerance, and social justice. And then, a year ago today, the Supreme Court passed down a decision that made it legal for everyone in this nation to marry whomever they love.
How have these two great events impacted us now, a year later?
On the one side we have a political party that talks about respect and care and social justice. Now, admittedly, they don’t always live up to the ideals they hold, but the intent is there: a determination to love others as God love us.
On the other hand, we have a political party that talks about alienation, about deportation, building walls, embracing hate for all who are different from them in any way, claiming that the threat of deadly violence against another as the first and best defense against injustice. And, it is clear that the presumptive nominee of that party has no concern for anyone but himself: in his mind, people are tools to be used, not creatures of God to be loved as God loves us.
Let us not mince words, as a country we have a starker choice than we’ve ever had before: to choose hate, or to choose love.
Claiming that our Christian faith is strong is a lie unless we put into action our belief that this nation must embody Christian principles in the governance of its people. Providing subsidies to help those who do not have the resources to begin building a good life for themselves on their own is a good place to start. Likewise, those who claim that this is a “Christian Nation” are deluding themselves if they allow our leaders to ignore and even demonize those in need.
In a recent Op-Ed piece entitled “The Crisis of Minority Employment,” the New York Times Editors make it clear that Congress’s abandonment of subsidized work programs for minorities is not only a threat to the economic viability of our cities, but is also shortsighted – sacrificing the long term economic and social wellbeing of a large segments of our population with the excuse that we can’t afford it. “…Getting jobless young people into the world of work is valuable in itself. Work reduces alienation, gives people a stake in society and allows children in poor communities to absorb the ethic they need to be successful.”
And they are correct: by shutting down such programs, Congress is abandoning its responsibility to provide for the common good – of all, not just for some.
The common complaint we hear from many – both in and out of Congress – who reject the idea of providing help to the poor in any form is that all “they” want is a handout. The thinking is that somehow (because of the stereotype we have created in our own minds that they are uneducated druggies and street criminals) minority youth do not deserve our help.
You’ve probably heard the story of Rachel Dolezal in the news: a young woman who is (apparently) “White,” but who some now claim has been masquerading as “Black” for most of her adult life. She is also the [now former] President of the NAACP chapter in her community of Spokane, Washington; and a professor of Africana Studies at Eastern Washington University.
The concern of many is that she is not a “real Black” even though she claims to be. But, what is a “Real Black” – or, for that matter, a “Real White”? And, is all this controversy over her perceived racial makeup relevant in any case?