My dear sisters and brothers,
I could call this entry, "Winners and Losers, Part II," since I know that people across the country feel that they fall into one of these two camps in the wake of a nasty and polarizing election. As I noted in my last post, I rarely express political opinions on social media or in the pulpit. In general, I try to be non-partisan, so that I can more easily be a pastor to all people, irrespective of their political views. I don't want to be a source of division within whatever parish I serve. Yet over the last couple of days, extraordinary circumstances have forced me to revisit and revise that position for the time being.
The reason I joined thousands of other people last night in my clerical collar and rainbow stole to protest and march was not because the Democrats lost and the Republicans won. After all, I spent eight years doing public policy quite effectively with the two Republican administrations of George W. Bush. I am quite used to and supportive of working--and often disagreeing--across disparate viewpoints. This disagreement can be a healthy check on my own narcissism, hubris, and self-righteousness. Partisanship is not what this is about.
It is about the election of a man who has said abusive and denigrating things about women, people of color, Muslims, immigrants, people with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ folk, and many others. This is a man who has consistently lied. This is a man who has bragged on camera about sexually assaulting women. This is a man who has called Mexicans rapists. This is a man who has branded all Muslims as terrorists. This is a man who has stereotyped African Americans as living in hell. This is a man who has openly committed to rolling back civil liberties for LGBTQ people. Our President-elect's rhetoric has inspired and given permission to other citizens to engage in anti-Semitic, homophobic, Islamophobic, misogynistic, and generally bigoted behavior. That is intolerable.
That leads me to what I believe the Church and all concerned people need to do next. Be a moral force. Speak out against hate and violence. Seek reconciliation and unity, while respecting diversity. Write letters to your legislators. Vote on election day. March and protest if you have to. I have never really identified as a radical or an activist; but I do identify as a committed Christian. I believe in the words of the prophet, Micah (the message on the other side of my sign): "He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God." There is so much fear and distress that the Church needs to offer protection and solidarity to those who stand to lose much, including their liberty, maybe even their lives. Those like me who respect the democratic process, including the peaceful transition of power and the will of the electorate, are still bidden to admonish our government when it threatens to violate the principles on which we are built. Donald Trump will be our next President, and the best way to help him and our nation to succeed is to assume some moral responsibility for shaping the next four years.
May God bless you all.