As the summer comes to its inevitable cooling, at least I hope, we begin a new church year in hope and optimism. This shared journey we are on is to build a faith community that enriches our spiritual lives as Unitarian Universalists and creates a sense of community beyond just the social aspects that we all so value and enjoy. As a people of faith, we face many challenges living in our society so filled with violence, hatred, terrorism, and division.
I want to address some of these issues we face but please note: the following are some of my personal opinions, not as your minister, but as a UU heading towards a half of a century of membership and devotion to justice and equity. I recognize that others have very different ideas and I support that right to express thoughts and opinions differently.
I believe our political system is in a shambles, gridlock grips Washington, partisan ideology has overcome cooperation and compromise for the sake of country, in favor of party. The Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States rhetoric is filled with mockery and disrespect for woman, people with disabilities, minorities, immigrants and Muslims. We deserve better and as a religious people, we must demand that from all politicians regardless of party. Trump’s rhetoric is counter to our UU values and principles.
Also, I believe, much of the opposition to President Obama these last 8 years in Congress and the general public is very thinly veiled racism. The legacy of slavery and treating people of color as 2/3 a person as envisioned by our founding fathers is demeaning and reaches into our souls with hatred and bigotry. The fingers of Jim Crow still reach out from the grave to do damage to the body politic.
Today, men of color are killed by police in far greater numbers than Caucasians. Our police have a very tough job and I sadly acknowledge their job has become more dangerous to life and limb. I believe, the vast majority of our law enforcement officers are honorable and desire only to serve and protect. But having said that, it is also an unfortunate reality that the violence in our communities, is too often committed by law enforcement against minorities. That fact speaks to the need for the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Unfortunately, too many Caucasians respond with, “All Lives Matter!”.
The answer is, of course, that all lives do matter, but many miss the point. Caucasians are not killed in the same proportion as people of color; more people of color are subject to mass incarceration, live in poverty and are under employed. Our political system fosters that unfairness be-cause most of those discriminated against have little real power to protect themselves and protest their mistreatment. Many states, primarily Republican-governed, seek to disenfranchise minorities for political gain. The proof of that resides in the federal injunction which recently struck down voter suppression laws in at least three states and counting, all Republican led. Our principles and values state that all people have equal rights and we support a fair and equitable demo-cratic government of and by ALL the people.
As UUs we are called to pledge our heart, soul, and some of our treasure to counter such treatment for all of our sakes. Our values and principles call us to justice and action. This is why I will be spending some of our coming Sundays together calling on us to live our faith and values more
fully. Perhaps together, just perhaps, we can move the needle of justice a little toward the finish line of real equality, justice and true compassion.
In the face of all this division and violence, I still have hope for a better society. If we walk togeth-er in each other’s shoes we might have more compassion, understanding and LOVE. Love will conquer hate if we devote our hearts and minds to the task of being human!
Yours in our Shared Faith,