The bullies made their stand again. This time it was school boards attacked. The anti-vaccination and anti-masking conspiracy theory activists showed up and threatened. And what did the majority do? They went about their daily lives. Doctors and nurses were threatened. Some of the bullies believed God was with them. Where were the majority of clergy to stand up for these other professional people? Why aren’t we doing better?
Good Sense Refuses to Stand
People with good sense are usually known for minding their own business. I agree. Minding our own business is good advice in most cases. “But we urge you beloved…to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and be dependent on no one.” (1 Thessalonians 10b-12) Normally, I follow this rule of thumb. Why spit in the wind?
Our usual response to cranks is let them wear themselves out tilting at windmills. The problem now is the weapons they carry are more dangerous than a lance. They may be foolish. But they are not knights riding on the backs of broken down cart horses.
Everything I have ever learned about getting along in life, tells me the fight is not worth it. But what if you are the victim of the bully? Do you appreciate the wisdom of those who refuse to help you? I never did. I respect the love that saves me from these attacks.
Cowards think they are wise. They may quote the following proverb, “He who fights and runs away fights another day.” Conveniently, they forget the person fought initially. No one wishes to believe they are cowards. When we learn we are, total misery tempts us to despair. We realize all we have done and do is run. It is shameful.
Love does not merely empathize. Love does not simply hope for the best. And love does not opt to pray for a change of heart when something can be done. Love responds to the bully with truth and defiance for justice. Love does no harm. But love does good. Love stands to save lives.
Some Clergy Respond
I am proud of my clergy co-workers in the Southern Christian Coalition for their efforts. Some of us are trying to speak out for the safety of school children against the politicization of efforts to stop the pandemic. The people, who are duped into these attacks on governing bodies at all levels, have been fed a diet of spiritual and political junk food. Our concern is for them as well.
I do not cease to be amazed at the lack of integrity shown by the bullies. It never occurs to them that carrying out the threats against health care professionals would mean their health problems would have no one to treat them. That is spitting in the wind. It is also cutting off your nose to keep it from running. Your inconvenience should never cause bad judgment.
Stand for Community
It is time to mind the business of the community. Another well-known secular proverb is “your right to swing your arm ends where the other person’s nose begins.” The earliest recording of the quote from the 1880’s was by John B. Finch who went on to say, “Here civil government comes in to prevent bloodshed, adjust rights, and settle disputes.” Love means we stand for the safety of the community.