Thursday, February 2, 2017

America the Beautiful

Every once in a while in these disturbing times, I am NOT embarrassed by my fellow Christians.  Every once in a while they break through the calcified bigotry and ignorance often found among the alleged followers of Jesus. I was delighted this week as The United Methodist Church (through the president of the Council of Bishops) spoke out against the so-called “Muslim Ban.”  “Today,” wrote Bishop Ough, “I stand with colleagues representing several faith traditions to strongly denounce President Trump’s widespread attack on immigrants and refugees. President Trump’s reckless, ill-conceived executive orders will divide families, impose a religious test for Muslims facing forced migration, penalize communities providing sanctuary and wall off the United States from our neighbors. These actions are expensive, unnecessary and profoundly antithetical to our values of compassion, dignity and justice for all individuals regardless of nationality, religious affiliation or legal status.”  

Every once in a while in these turbulent days, I am NOT embarrassed by my fellow Americans.  Rachel Maddow provided “good news” last night about the America I have known, served, and loved.  She spoke of the mosque burning in Victoria, Texas, and how a GoFundMe page on social media has raised nearly a million dollars from 20,000 people for the mosque’s reconstruction.  She spoke of the Jewish community in Victoria who have opened the doors of its synagogue for the Muslim community to gather and worship until such time as they rebuild their mosque.  

She spoke of this week’s “Texas Muslim Capitol Day,” an annual event when Muslims from all around Texas gather at the statehouse in Austin to hold a rally and meet with politicians.  Given last week’s travel ban for people from seven Muslim-majority nations everyone expected trouble.  (There was trouble two years ago, in 2015, at the Texas Muslim Capitol Day).  But this time hundreds of people (other than Muslims) showed up, formed a human chain around the capitol, and protected the Muslim rally from those protesters surrounding the event.  This happened in Texas, where a Texas state representative, just a few days before the rally, sent out letters to Islamic centers across Texas questioning the patriotism of Muslim leaders.

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