Move Along…Nothing to See Here…Oops! Not So Fast…
Our Democracy is being tested right now and we’re the perfect superheroes to save it, or we can at least martial the redemptive cavalry. We won’t be at a loss for a starting point. We have a plethora of daily reminders of institutional breakdowns in our churches, our governance at every level, and our real and implied social contracts. The colorful cast of characters includes The Pope, Donald Trump, Michael Cohen and Robert Mueller. Crises of accountability and character reveal the spotlight of scrutiny on the Catholic and Methodist Churches, and a series of national investigations are prompting potential upgrades in our systems of governance. I’m betting on WE THE PEOPLE to rise to our occasion. Let’s reflect and consider.
Our First Lady was speaking the truth when she called me a “Burnin’ Hunka Love,” but she was naive to think that this “Just Say No” slogan was going to have much of an influence on our then rapidly-expanding drug culture. I got to join in hosting her visit to Austin while I was on Gov. Mark White’s staff. I remember visiting with a retired military general who’d been named to run the Texas “Just Say No” component. He’d been an admirable military servant, but was out of his league promoting anti-drug and abstinence-only programs to inspire healthier lifestyles for our young people. Few young people had been consulted. It was a well-meaning, but ill-conceived program with no enthusiastic proponents. The programs failed.
Celibacy and Inclusion…The Conflict of Accountability and Trust In The Church
Times have changed since a majority of congregants thought Popes were infallible and celibacy and chastity were admirable. Popes ARE fallible and priests and parishioners are flawed individuals, just like you and me. These impossible standards and tenets are destroying the Catholic Church. Human nature and physical nature preclude a majority of individuals from honoring these arbitrary expectations. And prompt many to prey on the most vulnerable (children), when they’re not allowed to honor their natural and normally legal desires. The Catholic Church must revisit this outdated and failed practice that is destroying the church from within, and precluding its many good works in community building. A challenge of conscience, hypocrisy, accountability and trust.
The worldwide United Methodist Church, of which I’m a lifelong member, has just voted to maintain discriminatory language and policies that preclude full assimilation of LGBTQ communities into the life of the church. A conservative majority of international members, mainly African, enabled this discrimination. Many progressive individual churches have chosen not to honor these restrictive policies, but may have to rethink their affiliations in the near future. Another example of hypocrisy in representing the humanist teachings and inclusion that most churches should be modeling. We should be constructive players in bringing our faith-based organizations into an inclusive, progressive present and future that represents the needs of dynamic congregations.
The Messy, Hypocritical Search for Truth in Washington
How ironic that one of the most credible participants in the Oversight Committee hearings re: Trump and his administration was convicted felon and former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen. Apologetic, contrite, measured and well-documented. While his Republican inquisitors such as Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows followed Trump foil Sarah Sanders and wasted time denouncing Cohen’s well-documented, well-punished previous misdeeds, embarrassingly shilling for their imploding “president.” Another irony not lost on many, the savior of the day was an intelligent, experienced Black gentleman, Committee Chair Sen. Elijah Cummings, who demanded civility and decorum in this important hearing. The re-emergence of a better partisan balance due to the recent elections assured a more balanced debate and quest for the truth. Democracy works when we enable it. The hypocrisy of the likes of Jordan, Meadows, Graham, Cornyn, McConnell, et.al, will only recede when those who know better summon the courage to call them out and shame them into honoring their oaths of office.
The Mosey Project encourages us to “Slow Down, Pay Attention, Be Informed, and Act Accordingly.” We have an abundance of opportunities to honor these tenets in all aspects of our lives. In our homes, neighborhoods, communities and governance at every level. These times give us a seemingly endless number of teachable moments in regard to hypocrisy, integrity, truth and honor. We owe it to ourselves, our families and our communities to expect and work for better. Collaborative opportunities will allow us to summon our Better Angels to join others in constructive community service. We all win in the process.