On this Election Day, I was extremely moved by this post from Peter Wallace, Executive Director of Day1.org, “the voice of the mainline Protestant churches.” I share a few paragraphs below, and encourage you to follow the link to his full post. It’s a call we all need to hear today.
We’ve just gotten through Halloween, and the mask of sanity and civility seems to be slipping, revealing a horrifyingly ugly reality underneath.
In the wake of several heart-breaking young gay suicides comes an Arkansas school board member whose epithet-laced, grammatically mutilated Facebook posts essentially encouraged gay youths to kill themselves. (He has resigned with an apology.)
That’s horrific enough, especially given this person’s educational responsibilities. But then the leader of one of the major conservative Christian organizations proclaims that gay suicides are only natural since homosexuality is “abnormal” and therefore leads them to despair.
Meanwhile, the last few days of the midterm election campaign got really ugly in a number of places. Witness the attack by one conservative candidate’s supporters on a progressive protestor. The victim was set upon by several folks, including one man who stepped on her head (giving her a concussion) and a rather large woman who walked right over her midsection.
And then there’s the man who was taken down by several Virginia police officers — while videotaped by his powerless son — because he was protesting at another conservative rally.
More generally, it’s become blazingly apparent that extreme political views that wouldn’t even have been whispered just a few years ago have become proud campaign slogans. And as a result the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized are maligned and threatened.
It almost seems as though all pretense of civility in our nation is evaporating in the heat and light of an increasingly divisive atmosphere fueled by a rabid 24/7 media.
So does all this mark the start of a malicious new world order, or is it the last barking snarl of a dying corpse?
As our society under God continues to progress in its acceptance, and even celebration, of one another — despite our race, our gender, our orientation, our religion or even our politics — those who hope to maintain their “superiority” feel threatened and fearful. They are losing in the grand scheme of things, and with their backs against the wall they are fighting for their way no matter what.
As a person of faith, I join in the chorus of those who call us all to a higher ideal. I believe we can be better than this.
I admit I get caught up in it all, and my righteous indignation flares. But then some of Jesus’ words beckon to me, and I realize the great responsibility that people of faith — those who are involved in churches, synagogues, mosques — must bear in this situation.