Find Our Voices

Something fundamental about our nation changed last week. In a period of three days the United States changed from a nation and its government that are primarily concerned to protect all its citizens to a nation that prioritizes the opportunity of some of its citizens to walk around, openly in public, carrying lethal weapons. Exactly one day later, the Supreme Court, the body that decided to endanger its fellow citizens, made an even more disastrous decision to remove a right enjoyed for nearly fifty years by more than half its citizens to be responsible for what happens to their bodies and their lives.

It’s difficult to get my mind around it. It began, first, when the House Committee on the January 6 riot at the United States Capitol brought three more witnesses, Republican witnesses, Donald Trump supporting witnesses, to testify to the former President’s bullying, threatening, detached-from-reality, refusal to accept defeat and facilitate the orderly transfer of his office to the man the American people actually chose to be their President, Joseph Biden. Instead, the three Republican witnesses, the Acting Attorney General and two Deputy Attorneys General described in chilling detail Donald Trump’s complete contempt for the rule of law and for the Constitution of the United States. Nothing like it had ever happened in the long history of our nation.

Later that day news arrived that the Supreme Court, packed with Trump appointees, facilitated by then Majority Leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell’s refusal even to consider President Barrack Obama’s choice to fill a vacancy on the Court, struck down New York City’s restriction on carrying concealed weapons. The effects of that ruling will be more guns on the street and more unnecessary deaths. The fact that six Justices could agree to that tragic ruling just weeks after mass shootings of shoppers in a Buffalo supermarket, all the victims specifically targeted African Americans, and the murder of 8-, 9-, and 10-year-old children in Uvalde, Texas, is almost beyond comprehension. It is beyond even a modicum of decency and human compassion.

Of course, there was more to come. Next, that same court overturned Roe vs Wade and a half century of legal precedent that guaranteed the right of American women to have agency over their own bodies, indeed over their own lives. A clear majority of the American people did not want to see Roe overturned. If there is anything obvious here it is that abortion will not disappear, it will definitely become more dangerous and yet another burden will be shouldered by the poor women, many of them black and brown, who cannot afford the expense of traveling great distances to states where safe abortions are still available.

A dear friend and respected former colleague plaintively asked “My God, what is happening to our country?” And I heard from family members and dear friends in abject despair over what just happened. Once we have worked our way through the disappointments, anger, and despair it is time for people of faith to find our voices and go to work.

Christian Evangelicals provided critical support and activism to overturn Roe. Evangelical Christians also provide strong support for open carry gun laws and seem to have been mesmerized by Donald Trump’s bombast, belligerence, and victimization. And so now is the time for Christians who come to very different conclusions to act. My Christian faith leads me to value and respect every woman’s right to affect what happens to her body and the God given autonomy to be in charge of her own life. My faith leads me to want to protect my neighbors, particularly the children, from harm and deadly violence. It is precisely my faith that leads me to argue for common sense gun safety laws such as a ban on the availability to citizens of weapons of war designed to kill quickly and efficiently. And it is my faith that leads me to be appalled by Donald Trump’s utter disregard and disdain for basic, beautiful American values – integrity, respect, kindness, compassion.

So let’s get it together. Find a way, a cause or causes to express your faith and go to work. Give money, volunteer your time. Do what you can to strengthen the beloved community. Dare to pray and work for a bit of God’s promised Kingdom of justice, peace, and compassion.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much. The best response I’ve seen to these two maddening decisions is that the people who say they want to protect children have forgotten about the ones in schools.

  2. Robert Bohl says:

    Thanks, John. Well done.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  3. Virginia Tennant says:

    Thanks, John, I needed to hear that..what terrifying times right now..we must not give up..but stay strong, doing whatever we can and pray!! ” HOLD TO THE GOOD ” seems more important than ever right now!!! Jinny Tennant

  4. bandhdmitchellbmm0226 says:

    Indeed John, and well said. Thanks for both your witness and your challenge to us. When we see each other I’ll run by you what I’ve been doing and intend. May your message and its urgency bear much fruit. HD

  5. Joseph Feldman says:

    Vote.
    Write and call your elected officials
    Show up to rallies.
    Forward Hold to the Good
    Vote (did I mention that?)

    Thanks as always, John for your steady hand.

  6. Milton D. Hakel says:

    Vote by picking candidates, not parties. Vote in every election.
    Support non-partisan primaries, rank-choice voting, and abolition of the Electoral College.
    Keep the faith.

  7. Rev. Becky Chamberlain says:

    Thank you so much, John. You have given concise words to speak to the values I hold dear. Women must have the right to decisions that affect their bodies and their lives. We must rid our country of assault weapons and work hard to elect lawmakers at all levels who represent our beliefs and values instead of letting “evangelical Christians” represent Christians as the loudest voice in the room. Have mercy on us, O Lord. Grant us courage for the living of these days.
    I’m thankful for times we have intersected on our sacred journeys. All the best to you and Sue.

  8. Brian & Susan Johnson says:

    John, we are so grateful for your strong voice, reasonable thinking, and Christian faith. We read every blog you write, and share them with family and friends. Keep up the good work, it is valuable and loved. Brian & Susan Johnson

  9. Morgan Simmons says:

    Dear John, Multiple thanks for keeping me in the loop! As always your careful thought and fulsome heart are front and center in this super important juncture in our religious and governmental lives. I shall be sharing *Hold to the * *Good *to jolt the thoughts of others. Blessings, love, peace and HOPE to you and your devoted family! Morgan

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