Thursday, September 15, 2005

Just because I can....

I'm going to post this for your reading pleasure. My apologies for the lack of formating... I did the old cut-n-paste and I don't have time to clean it up right now. This email was passed on to me by the mayor of the largest town in Montana (Billings) with a request to pass it along to college students and youth. Well, the readership here at the Homestead tends to not fit that criteria but I'll let you read it and see what you have to say....

What Are Moral Values?
by Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers
Mayflower Church, Oklahoma City

As some of you know, I am minister of Mayflower Congregational Churchin Oklahoma City, a church in northwest Oklahoma City, and professor ofRhetoric at Oklahoma City University. But you would most likely have encountered me on the pages of the Oklahoma Gazette, where I have been a columnist for six years, and hold the record for the most number of angry letters to the editor. Tonight, I join ranks of those who are angry, because I have watched as the faith I love has been taken over by those who claim to speak forJesus, but whose actions are anything but Christian.
We've heard a lot lately about so-called "moral values" as havingswung the election to President Bush. Well, I'm a great believer inmoral values, but we need to have a discussion, all over this country,about exactly what constitutes a moral value -- I mean what are wetalking about? Because we don't get to make them up as we go along,especially not if we are people of faith. We have an inheritedtradition of what is right and wrong, and moral is as moral does. Letme give you just a few of the reasons why I take issue with those inpower who claim moral values are on their side: When you start a war on false pretenses, and then act as if yourdeceptions are justified because you are doing God's will, and thatyour critics are either unpatriotic or lacking in faith, there are someof us who have given our lives to teaching and preaching the faith whobelieve that this is not only not moral, but immoral. When you live in a country that has established international rules forwaging a just war, build the United Nations on your own soil toenforce them, and then arrogantly break the very rules you set down forthe rest of the world, you are doing something immoral.When you claim that Jesus is the Lord of your life, and yet fail toacknowledge that your policies ignore his essential teaching, or turnthem on their head (you know, Sermon on the Mount, stuff like wemust never return violence for violence and those who live by thesword will die by the sword), you are doing something immoral.When you act as if the lives of Iraqi civilians are not as important asthe lives of American soldiers, and refuse to even count them, you aredoing something immoral. When you find a way to avoid combat in Vietnam, and then question thepatriotism of someone who volunteered to fight, and came home a hero,you are doing something immoral. When you ignore the fundamental teachings of the gospel, which saysthat the way the strong treat the weak is the ultimate ethical test,by giving tax breaks to the wealthiest among us so the strong will getstronger and the weak will get weaker, you are doing somethingimmoral. When you wink at the torture of prisoners, and deprive so-called "enemycombatants" of the rules of the Geneva Conventions, which your owncountry helped to establish and insists that other countries follow,you are doing something immoral. When you claim that the world can be divided up into the good guys andthe evil doers, slice up your own nation into those who are with you,or with the terrorists -- and then launch a war which enriches your ownfriends and seizes control of the oil to which we are addicted, insteadof helping us to kick the habit, you are doing something immoral. When you fail to veto a single spending bill, but ask us to pay for awar with no exit strategy and no end in sight, creating an enormousdeficit that hangs like a great m illstone around the necks of ourchildren, you are doing something immoral. When you cause most of the rest of the world to hate a country that wasonce the most loved country in the world, and act like it doesn'tmatter what others think of us, only what God thinks of you, you havedone something immoral. When you use hatred of homosexuals as a wedge issue to turn out recordnumbers of evangelical voters, and use the Constitution as a tool ofdiscrimination, you are doing something immoral. When you favor the death penalty, and yet claim to be a follower ofJesus, who said an eye for an eye was the old way, not the way of thekingdom, you are doing something immoral. When you dismantle countless environmental laws designed to protectthe earth which is God's gift to us all, so that the corporations thatbought you and paid for your favors will make higher profits while ourchildren breathe dirty air and live in a toxic world, you have donesomething immoral. The Earth belongs to the Lord, not Halliburton.When you claim that our God is bigger than their God, and that ourkilling is righteous, while theirs is evil, we have begun to resemblethe enemy we claim to be fighting, and that is immoral. We have met theenemy, and the enemy is us. When you tell people that you intend to run and govern as a"compassionate conservative," using the word which is the essence ofall religious faith -- compassion, and then show no compassion foranyone who disagrees with you, and no patience with those who cry toyou for help, you are doing something immoral. When you talk about Jesus constantly, who was a healer of the sick, butdo not hing to make sure that anyone who is sick can go to see adoctor, even if she doesn't have a penny in her pocket, you are doingsomething immoral. When you put judges on the bench who are racist, and will set womenback a hundred years, and when you surround yourself with preacherswho say gays ought to be killed, you are doing something immoral. I'm tired of people thinking that because I'm a Christian, I must be asupporter of President Bush, or that because I favor civil rights andgay rights I must not be a person of faith.

I'm tired of people saying that I can't support the troops but oppose the war. I heard that when I was your age, when the Vietnam war was raging. Weknew that that war was wrong, and you know that this war is wrong --the only question is how many people are going to die before thesemake-believe Christians are removed from power? This country is bankrupt. The war is morally bankrupt. The claim of this
administration to be Christian is bankrupt. And the only people whocan turn things around are people like you--young people who are justbeginning to wake up to what is happening to them.It's your country totake back. It's your faith to take back. It's your future to takeback.Don't be afraid to speak out. Don't back down when your friends beginto tell you that the cause is righteous and that the flag should bewrapped around the cross, while the rest of us keep our mouths shut.Real Christians take chances for peace. So do real Jews, and realMuslims, and real Hindus, and real Buddhists--so do all the faithtraditions of the world at their heart believe one thing: life isprecious. Every human being is precious.Arrogance is the opposite of faith. Greed is the opposite of charity.And believing that one has never made a mistake is the mark of adeluded man, not a man of faith. And war -- war is the greatest failureof the human race -- and thus the grea test failure of faith.
There's an old rock and roll song, whose lyrics say it all: War, whatis it good for? Absolutely nothing! And what is the dream of theprophets? That we should study war no more, that we should beat ourswords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks. Who wouldJesus bomb, indeed? How many wars does it take to know that too many people have died? Whatif they gave a war and nobody came? Maybe one day we will find out.
Time to march again, my friends. Time to commit acts of civildisobedience, time to sing, and to pray, and refuse to participate inthe madness.


Susan said...

Oh my god that made me cry. In a good way, I think.

I have heard about his church; they sponsor the NPR station I listen to in the morning, here in OKC.

Thank you so much for sharing this--I can't tell you how much it has touched me. I tend to forget that not all my Oklahoma Christian neighbors are Bushie wackjobs; that some of them are compassionate and rational and thoughtful people who really DO follow Jesus' teachings, in a construtive way.

I needed to hear this.

Susan said...

Okay, me again--sorry, I'm totally flustered by how beautiful that was.

Where did you find it? Can you post the link?

Thank you!

Homestead said...

Susan- I have no link. It came to me from the former mayor of Billings... I'll try to find out where he got it...

Homestead said...

I blingo'd it. (Because you know blingo is the new google...) and came up with: