Perhaps at best we can say of Asheville’s leaders and government officials that they sincerely do what they believe is good for our city. But we also need to ask, “What are our leaders doing for the working people in our democracy? The goal is to promote a secure way of life materially, psychologically and spiritually. In this regard, our local government merely conforms to a way of life that is devastatingly harmful for our city and our divided country! Recent demonstrations in the Asheville area keep calling for change.
Our institution’s job, whether it’s government, business, religion or civil society, is to support people as productive, contributing and sharing community members of a vibrant and prosperous living earth. The ideal being united and responsible for each other. Our Declaration of Independence declares we are all equal. All the spiritually mature major religions call for healing and integration as opposed to today’s political oppositional energy of domination and inequality.
Mountain Xpress published “Where Are the Involved Local Churches?” [Oct. 18]. There are glimpses of churchgoers participating in efforts of peace, especially after the murderous invasion of Palestine. In Asheville, various groups publicly are calling for an end to the murderous killing of children and families in Gaza. Locally, Land of the Sky United Church of Christ, Circle of Mercy, Quakers, Mennonites and the secular activities of the Veterans for Peace advocate for social justice needed for unity and peace.
I recognize the dedication of people in all religions for their outcry for peace and justice. But I ask again: Where are the local churches when it comes to supporting the local Veterans for Peace and other groups now visibly calling for a cease-fire in Palestine, ending the brutality of killing parents, children?
What can we do? Members of the church can encourage church ministers to advocate major changes in the American way of life. Church leaders can encourage and support members of the church to inform themselves of the great mystical, spiritual traditions of the church and the accomplishments of humankind. Together we can create rituals of joy, wonder and awe of the mysterious miracle of human life. We are all one.
The church and parents can support and teach our children the heroic, courageous behavior needed to make our world a better, more united and more spiritual place. We adults can model and practice the virtues of compassion, kindness, forgiveness and love in the public square. This is a huge starting point and requires the same determination, dedication and courage that we attribute to our military veterans.
Yes, I’m aware of the many good works Christians do in our community, but at this time in history, I cry to local churches to become visible in actively supporting nonviolent peacemaking rather than judging and blaming others. There’s no excuse to remain in the background. If we consider ourselves Christians or spiritual, we need to be participating in opposing the American way of life that is built on the domination of wealth and military power.
As we begin a new year, let’s recognize the suffering in Palestine that has been happening. We can stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza and peace workers in Israel and the Disunited States. The courage and ability to work for peace and justice are among the dearest and largest freedoms we have. I’m not talking about mere protest. I’m speaking for advocating a new way of being religious in the public square, exposing the deceitful logic that anyone has the right to kill children to avenge terrorism.
(Please let me know of any church or synagogue visibly advocating for an end to war and justice for all via email@example.com.)
An aside question: “Do you think that World War III is now happening in slow motion — drip, drip, drip— like a leaky faucet in need of repair?
— Ed Sacco