Have Faith, Not Fear

have faith not fearEverybody is excited and anxious about executive orders to ban Muslims, Congress’ repeal and replacement of Obamacare, enhanced law enforcement to detain and deport undocumented immigrants, and increased efforts to rollback civil rights advancements for people of color and the LGBTQ communities. There is every reason to be concerned about the rapid degeneration of long, hard fought gains for women, including protection of reproductive rights, choice, and health matters.

We are witnessing the bloodless coup of the American government and the diminished capacity of our democratic society. At the same time, we are reminded of the legal system that historically allowed the extermination of Native Americans and the criminalization of Black people while lawfully protecting public policies and practices that continue to do gross harm to individuals and families. All of this is consistent with the acceptable American Way of abusing and mistreating minority groups in this country.

Amid shifting political winds blowing extremely dangerous gusts around the world we see posturing on multiple international fronts, including North Korea, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, and even in Turkey, a long-term ally to the United States. These are not the only dots on the global map that are making headline news. The insulting array of bluster toward our neighbor Mexico cannot be overstated. Cuba, Venezuela and Central American governments in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are not outside the crosshair of the leadership emanating from the White House. Lest we forget, China, the Philippines, and, yes, Russia, all remain within sight of the Commander in chief.

There is no safe haven for anyone who believed hope was possible over the past eight years. A new day has dawned and the narrow focus on greed, conquest, and return to a time long remembered is upon us.

To be clear, there is no safe haven for anyone who believed hope was possible over the past eight years. A new day has dawned and the narrow focus on greed, conquest, and return to a time long remembered is upon us.

“Make America Great Again” is being realized in real time and means eroding environmental regulations to save Mother Earth; denying racial and gender equity; and, pricing homes and healthcare beyond the reach of affordability for too many people across America. The most obvious visual evidence of where we are as a nation and who is truly valued is found in the photograph that went viral of the “victors” standing with the chief occupant of the White House after the close vote in Congress and regrettable passage of what is being termed, “Trumpcare.”

Let there be no mistake about the direction and commitment of the combined powder keg of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government all under the control of a cabal that is out of touch with the majority of people in this nation and around the world. Apartheid has a familiar face and narrow mindset with the resurging authority to get its way no matter the cost or damage.

Yet, let us not despair or cower in fear. There remains a Higher Power with even greater authority than the temporal minions who control earthly possessions. It is to the Eternal and Ultimate Power we turn and find our way to sanctuary. Thus, it is in a time such as this we rely on the values, teachings, and best practices of multiple faith traditions to guide us forward.

Now is the time to obey long held instructions to love and show compassion toward our neighbors, families, and strangers who live among us. We seek redemption through forgiveness and allow each of us to exhibit the best of us toward one another.

Have faith, not fear and reach across religious lines and arbitrary borders to discover real power that can trump misguided decisions and campaigns to divide us. This is our time to remember, “Every human person is sacred across all borders.” We can do this and we must for the sake of future generations who will ask what we did during these days. We are in this together. Si se puede! Yes, we can!

Rev. Dr. Art Cribbs

About Art Cribbs

The Rev. Dr. Art Cribbs is the executive director of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, a statewide faith-based organization, that advocates for workers and immigrant rights, quality education, and health care.