1/20/13 and 1/8/17 Sermon
Injustice vs. Love
Rev. Paul D. Daniel, Minister
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther king Jr., non-violence saint for our generation said,
“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence
but also, internal violence of the spirit.”
As a student of Gandhi, he
came to accept the power of nonviolent resistance and love as the most effective way
to fight the injustice of violence, physical and emotional that darken our souls and the body politic.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, would be appalled at the election of the divisive, soon to be president Trump.
Dr. King’s would have fought this mean-spirited bigot and we must too when Trumps policies contradict our UU values.
The need for socially fair, equal justice for all is imperative,
We must look at repeated acts against immigrants and shootings of people of color way beyond their numbers, to know injustice has gotten out of hand.
Mass incarceration is decimating communities of color.
It seems, Bigotry has been given license with the Trump victory.
As a faith, we whole heatedly support equal justice for all.
We cannot rest in this struggle for fairness and equity.
We are called to support all oppressed nations and peoples;
such as the indigenous people fighting the desecration of their sacred Ian’s with an invasive pipeline.
Our faith calls us, no demands that we “Stand on the Side of Love” against tyranny, injustice and bias.
The UUA including this congregation collectively dedicate ourselves to bring love to bear against all violence.
There is too much that troubles our peaceful hearts today
dealing with unendurable gun violence, and cruelty in our country
stoked by gutless amoral politicians and a president elects who mocks the disabled and others who disagree with him and offend his fragile ego; who stand with the NRA against any sort of sensible, reasonable gun safety regulations, that most Americans favor.
In-spite of that, we are not helpless in the face of tragedy.
We can demonstrate, petition for sensible regulations. NO one wants to end our second amendment right to bear arms, but we should not allow citizens to own automatic assault weapons designed to mass murder people as just happened in Ft. Lauderdale.
Our concern is real, desperate, pressing and deeply felt.
To honor MLK life’s work we are called to march and work for peace, justice and freedom.
We must build coalitions across faith and political barriers if we are toto save each other and the rest of humanity from a host of social ills:
murder of innocents,
unjust and disproportionate incarceration of people of color
mistreatment of immigrants because of color and/or religion.
The criminal justice system including sentencing guidelines must be reformed and fairly applied. That is what DR King would have wanted us to do. That is what he died for at the hands of a gunman.
Amidst our culture of violence, no one is safe. Americans are 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun as is someone from another developed country. Over 16, 400 murders were committed in America in 2016r and Drug overdoses, another form of violence, has topped 50,000 and rising.
These scourges are what Dr. King died to prevent. If you are not alarmed, you should be. I’ll wager there is not one person sitting here right now who has not been touched in some way by these acts of violence. My sister’s only child Alex, 27, died of a heroin overdose less than three years ago.
Recent mass shootings have sadly not been able to move the needle one step closer to creating a peaceable kingdom that Dr. worked to create. His dream remains a distant hope.
That hope now rests on our shoulders. We, who now carry the torch must continue the struggle and demand action on comprehensive gun safety regulations.
The gun manufacturers, the NRA and feckless politicians never stop working against the will of most Americans and others to make our streets safer, provide services for those mentally and emotionally disturbed with too easy access to weapon. The right-wing uses the shield of the second amendment to prevent any change in the laws that the overwhelming majority of Americans want.
We must marshal our voices, our treasure and vote out of office politicians who won’t protect us with sensible regulation of ammunition, safety locks, background checks, etc.
If we are to honor Dr. King, we must demand our government find a common sense middle ground, between protecting our Second Amendment rights and the safety of our citizens.
I strongly believe no one has a legitimate need or a right to possess an assault weapons with large ammunition clips. Even the late Judge Scalia, one of the most conservative justices in Supreme Court history said, “The Second Amendment is “not unlimited” and is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner, whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
Further still, “Article II of the U.S. Constitution clearly grants any President the authority and the discretion to issue executive orders with the force of law over the sale of guns and ammunition. Our founding fathers never envisioned assault rifles. No one need military weapons for hunting or home safety.
Yes, I have heard all the arguments … “guns don’t kill, people do”, but I submit, that is a bogus argument, a ruse to protect the gun manufacturers led by the NRA.
I acknowledge, there are many causes and sides to this complex debate. We see violent movies coming from Hollywood and video games that glorify violence. I saw the movie “The Hateful Eight” and before that “Django” by Quentin Tarantino. While the anti-slavery theme in “Django” was laudably; the depiction of the evil and violence of slavery was gratuitous. It was disturbing and repulsive to see literally dozens of gun murders the “Hateful Eight”. We must ask ourselves, when is this violence too much and harmful to not only impressionable children but our culture and to a peaceful, safe society?
Yes, this is a complicated issue, but that should not prevent good people from coming together as Dr. King urged us to find a reasonable solution to stop the carnage. We, you and I, must act; we must speak out against all violence but emotional and physical. We must tighten gun registration and close all the loopholes that allows criminals and the mentally ill to buy and possess guns.
We must reassess our mental health laws and put money into systems of treatment rather than spend money to clean the blood off our streets or engage in mass incarceration. We must go back to treating the mentally ill as our own brothers and sisters, members of our human family.
Our society needs thoughtful, committed citizens if we are to stop these behaviors that harm individuals and the nation itself. I am urging you to take concerted action to end this violence before you become a victim. The danger is real and growing.
I don’t want my grandchildren, Graham and Lisette, ages 12 and 9, or your child or some other loved one to become a statistic, a number with a forgotten name.
This struggle is our struggle.
It will be long,
the results uncertain but
we who stand on the “Side of Love are called to act. We must march, we must stand up, be counted and heard. Our faith calls us to that. Rev. King” gave his life for this cause and he deserves no less, than our dedication to fighting violence and injustice wherever we find it. If we do nothing, we fail to honor his memory, If we do nothing, we fail as citizens and as human beings. If we do nothing, we fail as religious people. Doing nothing condemn our children and loved ones to continue being victims again and again.
I don’t want that on my conscience.