November 15, 2016

This Is What We Feared ...

It was most likely a teenage boy just doing something stupid.

Nonetheless, it saddened me to read that a church in Maryland was defaced. The words written in this photo were on the back of a banner advertising their Spanish language service.

I know this congregation. I have worshiped with this faith community. This church is in the diocese I worked in just a few short months ago. A stupid and likely thoughtless tactic. Still, saddening and frightening to many I consider friends and colleagues.

This is what we feared might happen.

Not all who voted for Donald Trump are racists and bigots. I know from my conversations with folks that many voted to express their concern about economic policy or foreign policy or American politics in general. I believe those that have explained their rationale to me. What I would hope those that voted for Trump could appreciate is that what happened in Maryland, and other places across our country, is experienced differently than it would have just a week or so ago.

A few weeks ago, this may have seemed like a random act of stupidity by a marginal extremist. Now this is experienced as only the potential "tip of the iceberg." A congregation, such as the one mentioned above, made up largely of immigrants, has to wonder if this defacing of property is only the beginning.

They would not wonder this based on a campaign platform of economic and foreign policies, or healthcare reform. They would wonder this due to the campaign trail rhetoric of our now President elect. At least from my perspective, opposition to Trump's presidenct has more to do rhetoric than policy. Words matter. And that is what I hope Trump voters will appreciate.

As I have said, I did not vote for Donald Trump but I will not shame those that did. What I would hope is for Trump voters to stand against the actions and words of those that were emboldened by the President elect. Be vocal. Show others that your vote meant something else. I have and I will oppose actions and words that dismiss you, your intellect or make broad stroke assumptions about those that voted for Trump.

I hope you will do the same.

Not for me, but for immigrants, people of color, Muslims, women and the LGBTQ community. I'm not asking you to agree with their politics, their values. I'm asking you to honor their humanity.

I will be standing by them as well.

More information about the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and the incident mentioned above can be found on the EDOW FB page.