Wow what a week it has been! As with many people half of my extended family is American and guess what, they are on both sides of the political spectrum. You can just imagine some of the conversations that can take place if any of us dare talk about politics. So forgive me, but I do need to ask, just in case, because you never know . . . when the Apocalypse happens what do you do . . . ? You carry on with the work anyway. We roll up our sleeves and get down to doing the work that needs to be done in the name of God. What is this work you may wonder? The work that we do, the work that we are called to do as the Church by God is: to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit those in prison.
We live in uncertain times where to be honest, the election campaign in the United States has been filled with mistrust, hate and superstition. The results of this election affect not just American and those living in America, but everyone around the world. The world has watched the campaign and watched the results this past week and will continue to watch, wait and see what is going to happen next. As with any change in government policy changes, relationships change and there is a general transition time of uncertainty as things begin to settle down.
As I reflect on the events of the election in the United States, I as many of you have, wonder what can we do as Canadians living in Canada? What is our role? More than that, what role do we have as a Church in local and global politics?
While we do want to be careful not meddle in other people’s business I do believe that there is a place for us as a Church in global relations. As has become more and more clear the actions of one country affects everyone everywhere. We live in a global village and the world isn’t as big as we once thought it was.
We as a Church have always fought for values of equality, freedom of speech, the hungry, the marginalized and the oppressed. Sometimes we have done these well, other times we have fallen short for sure. Throughout history we have never relied on governments, regardless of their mandates, to carry out this work. We have always and will continue to be watching and monitoring and calling to account governments the world over on their policies and agendas.
While I have not studied a lot of history, one trend I do notice is that at some point all Empires fall and Administrations come and go. But we as the church always prevail and always stand strong with the weak and marginalized.
As we with our American brothers and sisters in this time of change and uncertainty. Where fear continues to rise and tensions mount, I am reminded of an article in the New Yorker (November 9, 2016) that quoted George Orwell from his essay, “Freedom of the Park”. The New Yorker quotes, “. . . Relative freedom which we enjoy depends on public opinion . . . The law is no protection. Governments make laws but whether they are carried out, and how the police behave, depends on the general temper in the country. If large numbers of people are interested in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it; if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.” This is where we as the Church have a pivotal role in this country and around the world. Let us as the Church make sure that this election, like many others, is not a reason or a moment for hate to have hope. Our Gospel is one that talks about a God who came into the world in the name of Love. To that end we urge countries to love their neighbors and the Church needs to love them more. In the final analysis our profound belief is that goodness will always overcome evil.