At my church our value and mission statement talks about how we ‘welcome without exception’. This past weekend this statement was put to the test. As a congregation we voted on whether or not to become a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) community; one that explicitly welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. This vote was a true test of our mission statement and a timely moment to find out who we are as a congregation. In a time when there is a lot of uncertainty for minority groups and emboldened hate crimes are occurring, knowing that my local congregation passed this with 95.2% of the vote brought tearful elation.
The results of a different vote the week prior brought me confusion, concern, and disappointment. As someone who believes that the number one priority of every nation should be moving away from fossil fuels, the whole US election cycle was a disappointment. The debates did not have any direct climate change questions and the topic was touched on for less than 2 minutes. It appeared as though something that is incredibly important to me had virtually no prioritization with the candidates or moderators. I empathize with Trump voters and agree that a shakeup in Washington would be beneficial. It would be great to see term limits for politicians and having less “Washington insiders” in leadership roles. To me, the views documented by Trump on his own website and his treatment of humans created a scenario where the ends would never justify the means.
The president elects website indicates that he intends to open onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands for fossil fuels and “Unleash America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean coal reserves.” I think it is generally understood that there is no such thing as “clean coal” and I truly cannot imagine any scenario where increasing our production and use of fossil fuels will be a long term benefit. Despite being white, heterosexual, male, Christian, and born in the US, I am afraid of the president elect. I can only imagine how an undocumented lesbian tree hugging minority must be feeling at the moment.
This is a critical moment in history in my opinion, one of those moments where I think about a futuristic conversation with my children and grandchildren asking me what I did to protect human rights as well as the habitability of our planet. While I have day dreamed many times recently about moving off of the grid and completely escaping the society that seems to be gaining a voice, I realize that I need to help shape it. I need to Testify. One other great thing happened at church this last Sunday was a well-timed sermon that I strongly encourage you to give a listen to, you can skip to the 9:03 mark and go from there. It is important that we as a society, as human beings with compassion, and as citizens of this planet recognize this opportunity to Testify and stand up for ourselves and others. We need to ensure our elected leaders understand that they were actually elected to follow (the will of the people). The wonderful and timely sermon concluded with a great rendition of Leonard Cohens’ Hallelujah which of course only added to the tears already rolling down my face.