a blog about words and faith and life by Cindy Maddox

Posts tagged ‘Trump’

Let That Sink In

I started noticing the trend on Facebook shortly after the election.

–The candidate who received 3 million more votes was not elected. Let that sink in.

–80% of evangelicals voted for a man who shares none of their values. Let that sink in.

–He admitted that he sexual assaults women, he mocked a disabled reporter, and he encouraged violence against dissenters—and still got elected. Let that sink in.

I did. I let all of this sink in. I still mourned not only what was, but what could have been. But I got over the shock, and I let those facts sink in. And then it got worse.

–The president of a country founded on religious freedom just banned a group of people based on their religion. Let that sink in.

–The president doesn’t believe the U.S. intelligence community but does believe the head of an enemy state. Let that sink in.

–Apparently we can’t afford SNAP benefits or healthcare, but we can afford a huge tax cut for the wealthy. Let that sink in.

And I did. I let it all sink in. And then it got worse.

Now it’s the free press being named a threat. It’s our civil liberties going down the drain. It’s our very democracy endangered by tyranny.

Now it’s children in cages. It’s families being separated or incarcerated indefinitely. It’s children too young to know the name of their country being expected to defend themselves in court.

And I’m still hearing “Let that sink in.”

No, I bloody well will not let that sink in! What sinks in is absorbed. What sinks in becomes invisible. What sinks in becomes the norm.

I will not let this shit sink in. I will march against it. I will rage against it. I will name this reality in all its absurdity and terror.

We must not let the lies and the horrors sink in.

Do you know what needs to sink in?

Courage. Courage must sink into our marrow so that our backs will not break under pressure.

Resilience. Resilience must sink into our connective tissue so that when one part of the body needs to rest, we still stand strong.

Compassion. Compassion must sink into our veins so that when another bleeds, we will work both to staunch the flow and to heal the wound.

Let that sink in. Let courage, resilience, and compassion sink in.

Or we will all be sunk.

 

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Things I’ve given up

I am a pastor. It’s not just what I do; it’s who I am. The role comes with many responsibilities–some delightful, some heart-wrenching, and yes, some onerous at times. There are certain things you give up when you become a pastor. It simply goes with the territory. And it’s worth it–it’s so worth it–to get to do what I do. Still, there are some sacrifices pastors make, just as there are in many occupations and callings.

As a pastor, I am prohibited (by law and tax code and ethics) from using my pulpit for political purposes. I am absolutely free to discuss biblical and moral issues and decisions, and to apply the scriptures to contemporary life. This sometimes sounds political to some people, but as long as a pastor isn’t partisan, she or he can–and must–address issues that are part of the political arena because they are part of the religious arena as well.

Still, throughout this presidential election season I have tried to be careful, especially on social media.  Anybody who knows me or who has heard me preach on a regular basis can probably assume my party affiliation, but I have not promoted any candidate. I do not want to alienate my parishioners who think differently. I have bit my tongue and deleted my words before posting out of deference to our diversity. But, as the pundits keep telling us, this is not a normal election, and these are not typical candidates, and drastic times may call for drastic measures.

I may not be able to preach what is on my mind, but this is my personal blog, not my pulpit. And it is not only my right but my responsibility as a person of faith to speak truth. Yes, I am a pastor. But first, I am a Christian, and as a person of faith I must speak out against that which is the antithesis of my faith, that which is against the teachings of Jesus, that which is anti-Christ.

Racism is anti-Christ. Throughout this presidential campaign I have been shocked and appalled by the blatant racism in our society. I guess “shocked” isn’t the right word because I am not surprised racism exists. Even living here in the whitest state in the union, I am aware of the systemic racism that plagues our country. After all, I’m a good democrat, a bleeding heart liberal, a minister committed to preaching justice and working for change. I am aware of the white privilege I carry—not as aware as I should be, but I know I benefit from it as surely as I benefit from my ability to pass as a straight woman unless I’m with my wife.

What has shocked me is not the existence of racism but the validation and legitimization of it that has occurred throughout this election season. We white folks no longer have the luxury of believing it’s only a small pocket of ignorant, hateful people who hold such vile views. One of our two major candidates for president repeatedly insults “the blacks,” claims an Hispanic judge can’t be impartial, accuses Mexican immigrants of being murderers and rapists, and wants to register and/or exclude people based on their faith. His hateful rhetoric has normalized and legitimized bigotry, and I am terrified of what his actual presidency might do to our nation and to my family.

My son was three when he asked me what color I am. Not sure if this was about race or actual color, I returned the question. “What color do you think I am?” He thought for a minute and then said, “Let’s call you tan.” “And what color are you?” I asked. He held his head up high and announced with pride, “I’m gold!” He deserves better than a president who will not see him as a golden child, but will assume he is or will become a criminal because of his ethnicity.

My blond-haired, blue-eyed daughter deserves better, too. She deserves better than a president who defines women by their physical attributes, who treats women like objects who exist for his pleasure, who sexualizes even young girls, and who thinks he has the right to force his “affection” on any female he finds attractive. No, Mr. Trump, this latest video is not, as you claim, “nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we are facing today.” Sexual assault is not a distraction. It is a crime and it is a sin. It is anti-Christ. And as a woman who has survived both public groping and private assault, I will not be silent while you deflect blame and diminish your own atrocities.

This is no longer a partisan issue. Or at least it shouldn’t be. As people of faith, we all should condemn rape culture and male dominance and the objectification of women. We all should condemn the scapegoating of Muslims. We all should condemn the denigrating of immigrants. We all should condemn the killing and incarceration of young black men. We all should acknowledge that black lives matter and trans lives matter and refugee lives matter. We all are responsible for making sure that what happened in Germany in the 1930s and 40s never happens again.

The experts say that other people are not changed by seeing a political post. But I am changed by keeping silent. I am a pastor. It’s not just what I do; it’s who I am. The role comes with many responsibilities, including speaking truth to power. I am giving up the right to be silent.