Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are speaking to an angry people, and especially angry men – men who are angry about income inequality, loss of jobs and an economy that has left them behind. And while they stand on opposite sides of the political spectrum, they connect with a deep nerve in America today.
And then last week, Brussels. After months of speculation that it would happen, another suicide bombing in a European capital. And then a suicide bombing in Lahore. And then…
Anger is a powerful emotion. Anger can spew fearful and hateful rhetoric. Anger can make us see what we would rather not see. Anger can push us forward towards creative action or push us away from each other in fear. Anger can lead to bombing of innocents. Anger spreads.
Last week the UCC Conference Ministers endorsed a statement by the Episcopal Bishops on angry rhetoric in the Presidential election. We read it in church on Palm Sunday as did other churches throughout our country. It was a call to remember what we so often can forget when we are angry – the dignity of every person, the common good, our true selves.
Holy Week was a week of anger and a week of pain.
This Easter week might be a good week to live a different way.
The leadership of the United Church of Christ, concerned with the political rhetoric aimed at the marginalized people of society in this election cycle, spoke out in support for and solidarity with a Holy Week statement released by The Episcopal Church. The UCC national officers and Council of Conference Ministers, in testimony to the ecumenical relationship between the two churches, expressed gratitude to The Episcopal Church for “the courage to speak, and for granting us the kindness of joining them in this statement.”
Here is the text of “A Word to the Church” from The Episcopal Church House of Bishops for Holy Week 2016.
“We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others.”
On Good Friday the ruling political forces of the day tortured and executed an innocent man. They sacrificed the weak and the blameless to protect their own status and power. On the third day Jesus was raised from the dead, revealing not only their injustice but also unmasking the lie that might makes right.
In a country still living under the shadow of the lynching tree, we are troubled by the violent forces being released by this season’s political rhetoric. Americans are turning against their neighbors, particularly those on the margins of society. They seek to secure their own safety and security at the expense of others. There is legitimate reason to fear where this rhetoric and the actions arising from it might take us.
In this moment, we resemble God’s children wandering in the wilderness. We, like they, are struggling to find our way. They turned from following God and worshiped a golden calf constructed from their own wealth. The current rhetoric is leading us to construct a modern false idol out of power and privilege. We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others. No matter where we fall on the political spectrum, we must respect the dignity of every human being and we must seek the common good above all else.
We call for prayer for our country that a spirit of reconciliation will prevail and we will not betray our true selves.