Yesterday morning, in a scene that has been repeated countless times for the last 20+ years, parents dropped off their kids at their elementary school in Uvalde, TX and the parents of 19 of those children never saw their kids again. An 18 year old with AR-15-style guns shot up the school killing 21 people in total.
Last week, a young, racist, white man shot up a grocery store in a predominantly Black part of Buffalo, killing 10, injuring 3, and traumatizing countless more.
For the past several weeks, I have helped support a group of faith leaders and community activists and organizers who are greeting 5-6 buses a week that are filled with migrants and asylee seekers who crossed the borders in Texas and Arizona. Let me say that again: 5-6 buses of newly arriving immigrants are coming to DC each week because the Governors of Arizona and Texas want to dehumanize and demean the lives of immigrants so much that they are willing to use them as pawns in their twisted political game.
The injustices are so great and so many. So, yesterday, I was deeply saddened and almost overwhelmed.
Whether it is the extreme racist, anti-immigrant policies of Texas’ and Arizona’s governors, or the utter cowardice by elected leaders who refuse to enact sensible gun prevention legislation to protect children at school, evil seems so strong and pervasive right now.
But today, my sadness and feelings of being overwhelmed have turned to anger. You see, last night I reflected on the fact that the same elected leaders who demean the lives of immigrants and who believe that owning assault weapons is more sacred than the lives of the victims of gun violence are the same elected leaders who love to proclaim long and loud how “pro-life” they are. The hypocrisy is absolutely stunning.
There is something deeply disturbing about maintaining a theology that claims to acknowledge the sacredness of life while, at the same time, holding fast to policies that cause such destruction to so many lives.
My anger though is not just with elected leaders; it is with those who preach and perpetuate such a godless theology. Yes, we need to advocate and organize for both immigration reform and sensible gun violence prevention. And we will. But we must also address the underlying theology that blesses racist anti-immigrant sentiment while holding as sacrosanct unlimited access to all kinds of weaponry. Such beliefs are antithetical the teachings of Jesus. As followers of Jesus, if the justice we seek results in the marginalization and dehumanization of others, then our justice isn’t justice at all. It’s just plain self-centeredness. It is sin.
The class we are offering this summer (starting June 22) will center on how we can address the theology which has caused such tremendous harm in the world. It is called Liberating Evangelicalism. I hope you will join us. It is time we address not just the policies that cause harm, but the belief systems that bless that harm and call it faithfulness.
This is who we are.
This is what we do.