A guiding life principle from my faith tradition is to unreservedly recognize, uphold, and protect the intrinsic value of all persons. In this country’s struggle with racial injustice, fear, and hate, the need for voices and actions to rise-up and proclaim that we cannot continue this destructive path is as urgent as ever.
I am saddened by the many voices, including from some members of my own faith tradition, who believe those striving for change are unrealistic and trouble-makers that should keep quiet. Those negative voices do not seem to acknowledge that until Black Lives Matter, no one can authentically proclaim all lives matter.
The intensifying polarity of positions and politics in our society is a tremendous challenge. Trigger words and phrases often ignite impassioned disagreement, argument, and sometimes emotional or physical violence. For many people, those who disagree become non-entities of not much value. The capacity to listen, to reason, to share, and to seek understanding often is mired in trite soundbites, loud repetitive talking-points, and harmful bravado.
As people charged with shaping appropriate ways to live in society, faith leaders are tasked with being promoters of goodwill, peace, and authentic dialogue. Energetically advocating for justice, compassion, and upholding the dignity and worth of all beings must be implemented while avoiding demonizing those who think and act differently.
Although extremely difficult, confronting the evils of violence, oppression, persecution, and hate must be championed without generating different forms of violence and enmity. This balance of moving toward justice while not devaluing the inherent worth of those content with the status quo, is a vital need for the times ahead. Faith leaders may be ones called upon to help navigate the way.
Rev. Dave Nii,
Community of Christ, Metro Denver Faith Leaders Caucus