Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday...afternoon preacher: Talking Politics

I talked about both Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the DREAM act in my sermon on Sunday. I don't normally talk about political hot button issues for a number of reasons: one, because I rarely know enough to say anything interesting or helpful; and two, because it tends to exclude those who disagree. It creates this "us" and "them" situation. I think it's especially bad to assume that everyone in the room must agree with one particular political position and to preach as if we are all insiders--the "good guys."

When I do mention politics, I try to acknowledge there are different views. But more importantly, I try to find a way to apply whatever is the principle at the core of the political situation to all of us. In this case, with the DREAM act, I said that my sense was that people didn't want to vote for it because they were afraid it would send the message that the U.S. rewards illegal or bad behavior; and that was exactly the pressure that Joseph was facing. If he married Mary, would he be tacitly endorsing immorality? And the deeper point for the congregation (myself included) is that when we face choices that don't quite set well with the rules, what is the deeper principle or law or morality that we are out to demonstrate? Compassion? Forgiveness? Love?

One of the things that drives me crazy is self-righteous political grandstanding from the pulpit. Too often I feel we let ourselves off the hook by preaching against "them"--those fools who can't see the plain truth and right course. For me, it always needs to come back to us, those hearing the words, and what we are supposed to do out there in the world.

What do you think?


it's margaret said...

I too mentioned DADT and the Dream Act --but only at the Spanish Language service.... funny how that works...

Anonymous said...

Both DADT and DREAM were about inclusion - but one passed and the other failed. I'm curious about what that says about us as a country. Any ideas?

LKT said...

I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that most people now know at least one gay person, but may not know (or realize they know) any illegal immigrants. The old stereotypes about homosexuals haven't held up to examination when faced with the real thing, but I think a lot of the stereotypes about immigrants are still in play.

I forgot to mention in the post that I've been really touched by the website which is a grassroots organization created by those students who would be affected by the DREAM act.