How Shall We Love After November 8, 2016?
Like many of you, I have oscillated this last week between disbelief, deep sadness and disappointment, anger, and fear. We do not know what the next months and years will hold for our country, but we do know that we will continue to be called to resist tyranny, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, racism, and Islamaphobia. And we will be there.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is over 90% white. Even if we did not individually vote for the president-elect, it is our wider community of white Christians who elected Donald Trump, and it is those same white people who legalized voter suppression by rolling back the Voting Rights Act, prohibiting thousands of people of color from voting in this election.
The time is now to examine within our own communities, churches, organizations, and hearts to examine beliefs of white supremacy and Christian supremacy that pervade our thoughts and worldviews. Identifying this will not always be easy for white folks, as it is like asking a fish to describe water, and changing it will be even harder. However, if we truly believe in peace with justice, we must eradicate oppressive thoughts and frameworks that exist in our own minds and hearts, in the communities and institutions that we hold dear. If they cannot change, they are not worth saving.
Our New Testament scriptures tell us that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear.” Now is the time to love more deeply, more perfectly, more actively, more creatively, more boldly than we ever have. Now is the time, as Dr. Cornel West reminds us, to do justice, which is what love looks like in public.
If the next administration demands that Muslims register with the government, that love might look like the 1.5 million Presbyterians being the first ones in line to register. If this administration does continue deportations and increase ICE raids, that love might look like opening our homes and our churches to be part of the Sanctuary Movement. If this administration repeals marriage equality, that love might look like Presbyterian pastors continuing to marry same-gender partners.
We do not know what will happen in the next few months and the next four years, but we do know we will be called upon to reform ourselves and our communities and to stand and speak up against oppressions. We do know that our work as a predominantly-white organization in a predominantly white denomination must take the form of deep anti-racism work. We do know that our calling to be peacemakers has not changed. Our love for God's creation--the earth and all its people--calls us to love even more and to love without fear.
The struggle for justice is not new, but our calling to resist empire in all its forms--particularly manifested in oppression of People of Color, Jews, Muslims, immigrants, women, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, and poor people--is re-newed.