Listening to the current Republican presidential debates one can draw a frightening comparison to the early growth of Hilter’s Nazi Germany. The hatred, racism, bigotry and name-calling is ugly, divisive and wrong.
Such rhetoric appeals to the fear and baser instincts of the unintelligent and uneducated, but does not reflect the moral and spiritual foundation of our nation. No nation will be called great that demonstrates the values of greed, fear and zenophobia being so loudly proclaimed by the two remaining Republican candidates for the highest office in the land.
Turning a blind eye in the late 1930s led to the deaths of untold millions and a global war whose impact is still being felt. All of us need to open our eyes and see what is happening. We need to open our ears and truly listen to what is being said.
Then we need to do whatever is necessary to insure our nation doesn’t take the low road. It’s the road that leads straight to hell.
Knowing history can keep us from repeating it. Concern over the direction our country is moving is not enough. Faithfulness calls us to step up and speak out against the hate speech, racism and bigotry that is being encouraged.
Hate speech is not a Christian value. Loving others more than we love ourselves leaves no room for racism and bigotry.
Christians need to demonstrate the love of God by our acceptance and respect of those different than ourselves. And we all need to have the moral courage to speak out against the ugly rhetoric that has become a part of the current political campaigns.
I once had the opportunity to spend some time with the president of the West Sahara people. We met in the Sahara desert at a time when his nation was at war to regain the land they were driven from years earlier.
One of the memories I have of that conversation which I’ve never forgotten was hearing that he would not accept the presidency until the laws were changed to allow the president to take part in combat (he had already been wounded several times before being elected), and that the law would also demand that every elected official must serve one month a year in direct operations.
I cannot help thinking that such enlightened thinking might slow down our own elected officials’ casual attitude and easy acceptance of the real bottom line of war.
Most of us would agree that we live in a time of challenge and controversy. Growing violence around the world, terrorism, politicians spewing hatred and unabashed bigotry, a polarization and ever-widening chasm between the obscenely rich and the abysmally poor; it all points to the need for us to demonstrate our true values.
We need men and women of faithfulness to stand up and quietly reflect the values that seem to be getting buried in the ugly rhetoric and political posturing that surround us. Am I the only one thoroughly sick of politicians and presidential candidates grandstanding to the lowest common denominator?
There are times when silence is not golden, but just plain yellow. We now find ourselves in such a time. It is time to stand up for what we believe in our hearts to be right, what we know our faith demands of us. It’s time to demonstrate that love is still far more powerful than hatred.
Leadership includes speaking up, speaking out and taking action on critical issues impacting those we serve. Pope Francis has humbly and consistently demonstrated this leadership since arriving in Rome.
His ministry focused on the poor and dispossed marks him as a true disciple of Jesus Christ, just as this recent Earth Day quote identifies him as a leader unafraid to acknowledge reality.
It’s a shame and disgrace that more of our United States politicians could do the same.