There has been a great deal of press surrounding the events of last week, and I have attempted to stay off of the air and keep a distance from the circus that the actions of a very few have thrust upon our nation.
Let me be clear about a few things. The behavior of a handful does not reflect the vast majority of those protesting health care legislation. While I do not appreciate the events that transpired, I know they were not personal. The man who spit on me did not know me from Adam. It was inappropriate but not personal.
There is a larger issue of concern involved here. Our ability to have a civil conversation is at a crossroads. That is the real harm. The ties that bind us together in a common patriotism are fraying. This is the real danger. We face many difficult days ahead. If we cannot find a way to find solutions as a national concerned community, we may not rise to the challenges before us.
This is not about politics. It is about treating one another with respect.
In my faith tradition, the coming days represent Holy Week. For me it is a time of reflection and celebration of a common tie, a sacrifice and a rebirth.
As many of you who read this newsletter weekly know, I rarely get in to theology. My role as pastor and my role as Congressman are so often intertwined, but I try to respect the diverse readership we are fortunate to have.
As I have been thinking about the events of the last week one very simple and very pertinent lesson from my faith tradition keeps arising.
Next Thursday will be Holy Thursday. On that night, in my tradition, we celebrate Christ’s Passover meal with his apostles. As recorded in John 13:34, after carefully washing each of his disciple’s feet on his hands and knees, Jesus said: “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you…"
I am not going to preach here. I am not going to make some grand pronouncement. All I will say is that in this week of contemplation, and regardless of your faith, perhaps we could try to hate a bit less and love one another a bit more.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Cleaver: The ties that bind us together are fraying
In his weekly EC from DC newsletter, Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver lamented the lack of civility in our nation's discourse: