Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Justice Seeking Holy Week

It's Holy Week, and while the pageantry of waving palms, sharing a water ritual, recalling ancient stories, and finally, on Easter Sunday, celebrating the resilience of life, is all quite marvelous, cathartic, therapeutic, and engaging, it is also important to remember that all of it is inspired by a prophetic voice that imperial power tried to silence with extreme violence. That voice could not die, or at least it would not stay dead. It would rise up in the power of community and continuously seek to give people their dignity back.

And so, on this Maundy Thursday of this Holy Week I affirm the sacred value of same-gender loving people. Legislatures may try to silent queer voices, but they will rise to new heights.

Today I affirm the dignity of transgender and gender non-conforming people. Municipalities and state legislatures may try to demonize and dehumanize transgender people but the dignity of trans lives will not be erased by hate speech or fear mongering or oppressive legislation.

Today I affirm the sanctity of women's bodies and women's sovereignty over their bodies. Misogyny may try to control women and limit their choices but Justice will not abandon Her daughters.

Today I affirm the right of Muslims to live peacefully in this country without vilification or harassment. I affirm their freedom of religion and their civil liberties.

Today I affirm the courage of refugees who risk everything and leave behind all that is familiar to keep their families safe and to build a new life in what are too often unwelcoming environments. I take to heart the biblical mandate to welcome the newcomer.

Today I affirm the imperative of every person who can vote to do so at every opportunity.

Today, let us turn over the tables of hate and division and call out the peddlers of fear and bigotry and let us declare boldly that our society is meant to be a House of Goodness for All People. If this is to be a truly Holy Week, it must be a week where injustice is challenged and hope is lifted up.

Too many people have known their own Via Dolorosa, way of suffering. In Holy Week, let us not be content to accept the suffering, but let us address it and move forward to the promise of Renewal that Easter represents. Amen.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Right Wing Prayer Rallies Do Not Offer Me Comfort

A notorious figure from the religious right is insisting that our country is trouble, is having a moral crisis, has somehow offended God, and is need of some sort of spiritual restoration. He is conducting prayer rallies in state capitals all over the nation. While I am a person of faith  and a person of prayer, there is something about this that doesn't sit well with me.

I'm 49 years old and my entire life I've heard the religious right proclaim the end of days is at hand, that America has gone to the dogs, and that there is a need for "revival"...the economy has flourished and lagged during those decades, Justice has been carried out and denied, wars have been launched and avoided...sometimes things were mostly good, and sometimes things were challenging, but the rhetoric of "the sky is falling" has remained constant. I believe it is a ploy to keep people scared and agitated so they will comply with religious authority.

The US has never been a theocracy, and those who want to return it to that which it has never been are not seeking "revival" but religious autocracy. I'm glad for anyone who prays for our nation to be kinder, more prosperous for all citizens, more open to those seeking a home, more generous to those who are not in the majority, but prayer rallies meant to encourage a far right theocracy will not make America fact, they may contribute to its downfall.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Not Worried YET About Voter Turnout

So, I see people lamenting about the less than robust Democratic primary turnout. Let me throw some positive spin on the situation. The GOP turnout is apparently hearty. That's good (people engaging in politics is a good thing). However, they started out with close to 20 candidates, and still 5ish that are hanging on. Perhaps there are only two REAL contenders at this point, but still, that was a lot of candidates each with a fan base, and some of those former candidates have thrown support to some of the survivors. That's a lot of energy. 

Meanwhile, the Dems have two (really), and and while the discourse between their camps is disappointing sometimes, in reality, neither camp REALLY believes the other would be a disastrous choice. So, if I'm marginally more in favor of Clinders over Santon, but could pretty easily live with Santon instead of Clinders, I might be less motivated to take off work early to cast a vote. 

So, I'm not worried yet about primary turnout. I am choosing to hope that regardless of primary numbers, people come out in DROVES in November to vote. 

Women's sovereignty over their own bodies, the survival of marriage equality, the continuation of economic recovery, access to higher education and to healthcare, a non-hijacked supreme court, and true religious freedom (including the freedom to live safely as a Muslim, or as a non-religious person, or as a gay-positive/pro-choice/transgender-affirming religious person) are all on the line. I'm guessing those issues will be much more compelling when it just a two person race. I do hope so. 

So, Dems (and 3rd partiers), the GOP is showing us how to be good, engaged citizens throughout the process. Let's thank them and follow their example. But in any case, get your asses out there, stand in line in the rain for hours if you must, and VOTE (and demand that your vote be counted if there are any shenanigans) in November. A lot is at stake.