Dear Faith Des Peres Friends,
This Sunday Rev. Joe Marting is preaching while my daughter Julia and I, and sister and niece, attend the Women’s March on Washington on January 21. I hope you’ll be at church to hear Joe’s insightful words. There IS Disciples’ Gathering and nursery care on Sunday.
In the lead-up to the march, there have been posts on Facebook titled “Why I’m Marching”. Reading those posts has prompted me to write my own “why I’m marching” that I want to share with you here.
I’m marching because on Wednesday, November 9, I woke up with a sense of dread. Keep in mind, this isn’t the first time my chosen candidate has lost. In fact, of all the votes I cast on November 8, only one of them was victorious. I didn’t dread the other victors. But I dreaded Trump. My dread has now been replaced by what I can only call fear: fear that we are taking steps backwards on women’s rights (as well as others), steps backwards on how we treat other people with whom we disagree, steps backwards on how we care for the poor and people Jesus called “the least of these”, and steps backwards on how we treat people with civility and dignity. I do not see President-elect Trump caring about any of these issues or people based on his behavior and actions thus far. I hope and pray, truly I do, that he will prove me wrong. But thus far he hasn’t, so this is one reason I’m marching, because I feel called, as a woman, to march for justice, kindness and civility.
I’m marching knowing that as a woman of privilege there are many women (and men) who cannot march. They can’t take off work, or buy a bus ticket, or find someone to watch their kids while they go off to march. What Trump has said he wants to do will adversely affect them in ways that I cannot even imagine. I’m well aware of the fact that I may suffer very little from rules the Trump administration may pass. But others aren’t so fortunate. Thus, I’m marching so they’re not forgotten and not left to fend for themselves. Sometimes people can’t “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”, so they need someone to pull them up for them. I’m in a place to do that, so I am. It’s one of the reasons I went into the ministry, to give something back to a world that has blessed me greatly. So I’m marching to help others who don’t have a voice, who cannot march.
For me, the march isn’t about whether one is a Democrat or Republican. I think at the end of the day most of us want what is best for our country and its citizens, ALL of its citizens. As I said in my Faith and Politics sermon series, we just go about how we do that in two different ways. And those differences serve us well; they’re healthy for our democracy. But right now, I only see President-Elect Trump serving his own needs, and I don’t think that is good for our country. Again, I hope I’m proven wrong on this. And if you see it otherwise, I would welcome a conversation with you, because only by talking with people with whom we don’t see eye-to-eye will we move beyond the gridlock and hyper-partisanship that is so prevalent in our country.
Last, but certainly not least, I’m marching because as a Christian, I feel called to march. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is from Luke 4, the story where Jesus goes back to his hometown to preach. At first, everyone loved what he preached. It made the hometown crowd feel good and proud! But then he started talking about how God’s favor is extended to people they don’t like or don’t feel are worthy of God’s favor, and they don’t like hearing him say that, so they run him out of town. To the edge of a cliff, in fact. For me, that story sums up the heart of the Gospel. It tells me that as Christians, we are called to say and do hard things that aren’t always popular to say and do because we are called to be people of justice. We are called to be our “brothers-keeper”, and we’re called to use the gifts we’ve received from God on behalf of those in need.
There are people who say that those of us who lost need to get over it, move on, and unify. But I was reminded this week in Will Willimon’s essay for MLK Day, that sometimes we’re called to be impatient. He wrote: “There’s a time for reconciliation, for prayers for unity and healing. This is not such an hour.
It is not for me to ask that women be reconciled to a man who has publicly, repeatedly wronged them in misogynistic word and deed, a man who boasts of his inability to admit wrong. I’m not the one to tell Hispanic Americans to support a person who built a political powerhouse by lying about them.
We must not allow our silence or passive acquiescence to suggest ‘we like the way we are being treated.’”
Willimon reminded me that King urged his white friends against “patient caution and bland moderation”, and that acquiescence in the face of injustice is not an option for those of us who call Jesus Lord.
So this is why I am marching. I wanted you to know. But I especially want you to know that I truly believe with all my heart and soul that we are all God’s children – no matter how we cast our votes. When we can truly recognize that in one another, I believe we will all be the richer for it and so will our country.
May God’s peace prevail on all of us and on the United States of America.