From the Minister’s Desk
After a somewhat gloomy January we have moved into February,the month of love.
The weather may be cold but the heart is warm, filled with romance, or agape, a spiritual universal love we share within the human community. For several years now our Unitarian Universalist denomination has pledged to “Stand on the Side of Love”…, to treat each other with love and to bring that beating heart of justice to the oppressed and marginalized. Now more than ever with the new administration, our values of inclusion and the safety net many rely on to live, eat and have medical care are under assault.
There is much that challenges our peaceful, non-violent hearts as we work to save each other and the rest of humanity. We continue to endure mounting acts of seeming endless violence. The debate over sensible gun safety regulation and our second amendment rights rages on as we citizens strive to find a middle ground between protecting our Second Amendment rights and the safety of our citizens. It is my strongly held belief that no one has a legitimate need or a right to possess an assault weapon with large gun clips. No one needs these weapons to protect themselves or to hunt. It is the fringe elements in our society who are stockpiling these weapons supported by the moneyed interests of the gun manufacturers. It is a heated debate producing fire but no light. Let us hope we can find ways that bridge the many gaps that divide us in all areas of our national life. The fight over health care has the potential to leave as many as 20 million uninsured again. If Paul Ryan and the Republicans have their way, Medicare will be privatized and benefits placed at risk of market fluctuations. Planned Parenthood is likely to be defunded, denying millions of women reproductive health screenings, and birth control choices. I can see Roe v. Wade being overturned with Trump’s Supreme Court nominee putting woman back on the streets to find illegal abortions. President Trump believes “stop and frisk” to be a good pro-gram. It has been ruled illegal in the New York courts as it unfairly targets people of color. Public education policy will favor Charter schools that fail at alarming numbers and take away funding for those who need it most.
Our national security is at risk too because Trump’s ego will not allow him to accept the truth of Russian hacking. His fight with the Intelligence agencies is troubling to say the least. And worse yet, his vicious attack on the free press is undermining one of the central pillars of our democracy. The unhinged tweets of the President are the raving of a bully willing to strike back at any who attack or disagree with him. That is not the kind of President we want. We want an inspirational call to bring our better angels to the public discourse. We want unity of shared purpose. We demand action to solve our many challenges and compromise to get the job done for the common good.
Friends, this is a call for all of us to stand up on the “Side of Love”, to act with a shared commitment to create a wall between us and the looming tyranny, bigotry and the deluge of divisive rhetoric already drowning us. I have no illusions of how daunting this challenge is, but I have faith that a dedicated few can stem this tide and bend the arc of justice back to love, mutual understanding and respect.
Perhaps we can start by creating a dialogue across party lines. Likely, that will only rise-up from grass roots movements as many of our politicians are self-serving, feckless and in the pocket of big business.
The struggle will be long, but our lives depend on us being galvanized for the long haul. The results of our efforts are uncertain. But we who stand on the Side of Love can find a way to make this a more peaceful, loving, caring community, nation and world if we hold firm to our values. We can do no less …our faith calls us to that. It may be our only hope to rise-up and fight for our inalienable rights as defined in the Constitution.
I close with these prophetic words.
“First, they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communists so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists, but I was not a Socialist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for the me, there was no on e left to speak out for me”.
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German Lutheran Pastor and Theologian) His involvement in a plot to overthrow Adolf Hitler led to his imprisonment and execution.
This current challenge we face is that ominous. Be warned and forearmed.
Reverend Paul D. Daniel
“Standing on the Side of Love”