How Do You Think We Did?

Note: The following homily is not mine, it was written by my sister, Lauren McDuffie, and delivered at a Service of Unity and Communion at First Baptist Church in Morehead, KY on November 9th.

John Wesley, that foundational theologian of the Methodist church, wrote in 1774 before the British Parliamentary elections:  “I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them: To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy; To speak no evil of the person they voted against; and To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”

So…how do you think we did?

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The Walking Dead/Night of the Living Evangelicals

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Evangelicals actually denounced the GOP candidate this cycle, and yet the evangelical voting bloc elected Donald Trump. Trump had more support from white evangelicals than John McCain in 2008 or Mitt Romney in 2012. Trump garnered five times as much support from evangelicals as Clinton, with 78% of the white evangelical vote.

This isn’t an evangelical voting bloc, this is a zombie evangelical voting bloc. The heart and soul of the evangelical bloc, the actual evangelicals, have left. What remains is a group of angry white people who couch their anger in religious language about fighting for their faith. Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission took a stand and called out Trump as antithetical to Christian values. Trump still won evangelicals by a commanding margin.

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Can you not walk and pray?

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Last night saw protestors marching in the streets of Atlanta. As I watched the various livestreams, the people I saw marching gave me hope for humanity. As I read the comments streaming in on the feed, that hope for humanity faded pretty quickly. I just want to take a second to unpack a few of the comments that stood out to me.

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Liberty and Justice for All (?)

fox-5-news-at-6pm-clean-feed2016-09-13-wagabcme02-mpg_18-00-47-17_1473805550113_1989274_ver1-0Last week, when I picked up the paper, I saw more images from the Newton mosque controversy, a controversy which I had understood to be winding down now that city officials were removing the moratorium preventing the construction of places of worship in the county.  And yet, I keep seeing more images of protestors outside the county courthouse, armed with rifles, making their voices heard in opposition to the mosque.

Now, I am (surprisingly to some, given my politics) a supporter of the Second Amendment. I’m from Tennessee, so it’s not really a stretch. I own firearms. I like to hunt. I like to shoot. I’m also a supporter of common sense. Second Amendment policy isn’t what I’m wanting to talk about here. I just want to talk about common sense and the exercise of freedoms.

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Safe Spaces, PC Culture, and Colin Kaepernick

pcbroIt seems that lately I’ve been hearing a lot about safe spaces and the overabundance of political correctness in this country. A lot about how thin-skinned people are today and how easily they become offended. Frustration with the PC culture and the feeling that safe spaces are an attempt to withdraw from hurtful words and ideas have led to a propensity for support of anyone willing to “speak their mind” and say how they really feel without holding back.

Mostly…

The problem is, a lot of those same folks who claim that they’re tired of PC culture and who rejected the notion of safe spaces seem to get offended pretty easily themselves. They seem to wish to turn this country into a safe space, more or less, where they don’t have to acknowledge ideas or truths they don’t want to acknowledge.

Take Colin Kaepernick’s choice to sit during the national anthem to draw attention to the oppression of minorities in America. First off, whatever you think about his choice, he had every right to do what he did. You also have every right to criticize him for that choice. It’s the First Amendment, do with it as you will, but just recognize that neither party is more right. The right to protest is protected just as much as the right to criticize protest.

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Black Lives Matter

darkness cannot drive outIn a week which began with a celebration of our country, we’ve been reminded over and over of why we’re less than perfect. Of why the scars of the past we try to hide are in fact still open wounds.

We watched Alton Sterling shot in the chest and back.

But the battles for civil rights are in the past.

We watched Philando Castile gunned down while reaching for his ID.

But the battles for civil rights are in the past.

We watched five police officers fall under a shower of bullets from above while providing protection for a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas.

But the battles for civil rights are in the past.

Yeah, we waged that war. We fought that battle. We talk about it in the past tense. “The Civil Rights Era.”

Glad we got that over with.

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Unable to Celebrate (yet)

awab In the wake of a General Assembly in which progress is being celebrated on bettering the relationship of the CBF with the LGBTQ community, with the announcement of the Illumination project and the statement in the wake of Orlando, I want to feel some joy, but I can’t help but feel some sense of reservation. Everywhere I looked, I saw nametags showing solidarity with the LGBTQ community, and a statement making the rounds on social media rapidly garnered hundreds of names of individuals willing to take a stand while also showing they were committed to remaining with the CBF in this effort. It gives me hope, and I think we’re finally making moves in the right direction, but, I can’t celebrate, not yet. Three particular issues stand out to me in reflecting on the week.

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