An Open Letter From God to the U.S. on the Event of Ferguson

Dear Loved Ones,

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written. As you might imagine, I’ve had a few things on my plate. Thanks for understanding.

I’m also sorry that this letter is going to have to be so direct, but I’m afraid recent events have pushed us far past pleasantries.

Please, throughout the things I have to say in this letter, remember I love you. I do.

I just wish you loved me back.

Oh, I know. I hear you say you love me and that really does mean a lot.

It’s just that…

Well, your actions make me wonder.

For the moment, let’s get back to business. I need you to remove my name from your money.

Yes, I know. It makes you feel proud – even a little bit special having “In God We Trust” printed on your money, but here’s the thing: a lot of people seem to believe it and it’s making me look bad.

Take Ferguson, Missouri for instance.

Police killing a kid who has no weapon? Law enforcement officers intimidating unarmed crowds, calling them “animals,” and shooting tear gas at them? Opening fire into a peaceful protest? And don’t even get me started on the racism.

I’m sorry. When you behave in such unjust ways and devalue the lives of others, you don’t get to call yourself a Christian nation – not that I think you should have done so in the first place.

After all, I’m the God of all people – not just Christians.

As I have shown you time and time again, I’m much more inclined to lift up crooks, prostitutes and those shunned by society than the powerful.

You? As a nation, those are the people you ignore. You lift up movie stars, politicians and the rich.

Even as my children huddle together to demand better treatment, even as those with power use force over and against those very groups, you are more disturbed by the loss of one of the elite. Admittedly, he one of the very best, but elite none-the-less.

I assure you, while you rightfully mourned him, there was much laughter here as he arrived.

Yes, it was a tragic loss and, yes, there is much to learn from it, but what’s going on in Ferguson is equally tragic and there is much to learn from it too.

Ferguson offers you a snapshot of what your nation has become – and where it seems to be going.

The machismo of the Second Amendment has been elevated to the level of a demigod. The violence, bullying and overstated privilege that rides along on the back of such evil continues to play itself out over and over again in your nation.

And while some people may complain, my children, particularly the least of these, continue to fall as the fingers of hate, greed and self-importance pull the trigger again and again and again.

At the same time, you’ve managed to make the Constitutional Amendment your nation’s founders believed was important enough to be the first one look like a joke.

Freedom of the press now looks like nothing more than a cover story for a ruling class that prefers to control reporting uprisings from the “commoners.”

From breaking up Occupy Wall Street to preventing coverage in Ferguson (including arresting reporters for simply doing their job), those in power have ignored the First Amendment time and time again for fear of a seed being planted.

They cannot have the masses recognize the power they have – so, when owning the media doesn’t work, they shut it down.

Do you know how far you have fallen? Do you understand where you are going?

This should be sobering: People in Gaza are tweeting to people in Ferguson to help them with handling tear gas being fired at crowds from oppressive governments.

Let the hell of that reality sink in for just a moment.

So, take my name off the money, remove it from your pledge, do not wrap your flag around the Bible even one more time.

I am God. I am not a prop.

I do not want to associate with your politicians, the elite and the powerful.

I will wait with the huddled masses. I will lie on the cold asphalt next to my child Michael Brown. I will be found in the protests of Wall Street and Moral Mondays.

I no longer wish to have my name present on the money that the powerful use to further marginalize my children.

I do not want to be reduced to the God of only one of the nations I love, as you pledge your loyalty to it.

I am not leaving you.

I will stand in the crowds with my faced wrapped in expectation of the first tear gas cannon. I will rush into falling buildings to help those in need. I will stock food pantries and distribute good to those without homes. I will be in the faces of every woman, man and child who suffers, and I will be known through the hands of those who bring them aid.

If you love me, do not tell me.

Show me.
 

 
(In no way do I believe any of us actually know the words of God. This is merely an exercise in hopes of birthing more understanding of what God might say and in order to lend a more macrocosmic point-of-view to the event in Ferguson as well as what those events may say about our nation. It is written in hopes of adding to the larger conversation that is encouraging us to alter our course as a nation.)

 
 

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About Mark Sandlin

Mark is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) from the South. He is a co-founder of The Christian Left. His blog, The God Article, was recently named as one of the “Top Ten Christian Blogs.” Mark received The Associated Church Press' Award of Excellence in 2012. His work has been published on "The Huffington Post," "Sojourners," "Time," "World Church Services," and even the "Richard Dawkins Foundation." He's been featured on PBS's "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly" and NPR's "The Story with Dick Gordon." He’s married to an amazing Baptist minister and has two fabulous teenagers. More than anything (other than peace and justice), Mark wants to have a beverage in one hand and a book in the other as he and his wife look across the shores of Ocracoke, NC.


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