The challenges of our daily lives are at times overwhelming. The political campaign that is soon to end cannot come soon enough. It has divided the country like the Civil War 150 years ago. It has pit family members against each other, churches and against churches, democrats against republicans, progressive against conservatives, men against women, on and on wiihout end.
The battle lines have been drawn with more animus than ever. Dialogue is more difficult, challenging and contentious then is good for the country and all public and private institutions. I deplore this trend for it violates most theologies of whatever faith we might have come from. It certainly conflicts with our Unitarian Universalist seven principles. We believe in the democratic process embodied in our fifth principle and frankly, this oppositional destructive trend violates all our values.
There is a tendency towards meanness in our civil discourse; society seems more self-serving and callous about all others who have less; less wealth, less education, lower status of employment. We bash immigrants forgetting that we are a nation of immigrants. There
are those in America who push class warfare between the haves and have-nots. We are told that some citizens believe those who need government assistance such as social security, welfare, veterans benefits are users and slackers. If we are to break this trend, this downward spiral, we need real leadership committed to peaceful non-confrontational language and solutions to rebuilding America. Neither political party is interested in or capable of that in this current climate.
What is needed is a grassroots movement such as the “Black Lives Matter” to make us more socially conscious, and we need to teach the lessons of our own faith about respect and dignity and about the value of all people in the interconnected web of existence. This change begins with us and how we treat each other here. It begins with every church member in every faith community living their faith. It begins with politicians telling us the truth with language that does not demean or attack. We need to have a rebirth of civil discourse now, not after the election. That would be a “damn good” beginning. It is about healing. It goes to the heart of who we are as a people of faith and principles.
I hope all of us will continue to practice our faith. I hope we will take up the standard for decency, respect, and dignity in our local and national discourse.
May it be so.
– Rev. Paul D. Daniel