Very soon the Republican Convention will be upon us in this election year. It would seem by the media that each party is defined by a small handful of hot button issues and sound bytes. The bigger substantive discussions informed by non-partisan expertise on war, climate, hunger, social justice, international relations, immigration, water, energy, and campaign finance has been politicized and trivialized. Religion too, has been hi-jacked by extremists in the midst of those who gave up or caved in to apathy. A few years ago, a friend of a friend, with whom politics was never discussed, assumed I was in on their incredible dislike of an individual of 'the opposite party' and proceeded to skewer the politician. It was in a church before being seated for a wedding. In his book, The Cathedral of the World, Forrest Church says, "When true believers confront neighbors who believe differently than they do or who don't believe in God at all, they have (unless they are convinced by their neighbor's arguments) only four options. They can attempt to (1) convert, (2) destroy, (3) ignore, or (4) respect those who hold contrasting views."
Church goes on to make it tangible for us, "Fundamentalism embraces the first and, in its most radical expression, the second of these four options. Secularism occaisionally imposes the second-witness the gulags- but most widely embraces the third. The American way, charted by our forebears and coded in the spirit of our nation's laws, represents the fourth path. The spirit of liberal democracy-with respect given to the worth and dignity of every individual, and minority rights protected insofar as the commonweal can still be maintained-celebrates religious pluralism." (p 36)
We're beyond the time when only one way is the right way interpreted narrowly by a small band of wealthy men in control, supported by those who seek to gain a mighty commercial advantage at the cost of the rest. We're beyond the time when environment doesn't matter and bolstering the status quo- cheap energy- wins at all costs, because: it isn't cheap. We're beyond the time when spending more on the war machine than any other country on the planet has cost us peace and security. We're beyond the time when partisan politics shuts down dialog towards solving the serious economic and social problems we face. We're beyond the time we should be espousing a winner takes all philosophy, because in that, we're all losers.
A recent poll placed the race between the candidates at 50/50. If you are already weary of this election campaign, remember that song by John Lennon, 'Imagine'. Listen here.:
Meditations for this post:
"If our religion doesn't inspire in us a humble affection for one another and a profound sense of awe at the wonder of being, one of two things has happened. It has failed us, or we it. . . I may not believe as Jesus did, but I should dearly hope to love as Jesus did, to forgive and embrace others as unconditionally as he." p163 The Cathedral of the World
"Until now the great weakness in all ethical systems has been that they dealt only with the relations of man to man. In reality, however, the question is, What is our attitude toward the universe and all that it supports? A man is ethical only when life as such is sacred to him-the life of plants and animals as well as that of his fellow men-and when he devotes himself to helping all life that is in need of help." Albert Schweitzer pp157-158 from Out of My Life and Thought
The Greek Festival begins Friday at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral downtown!