Election Hangover Cure
November 3, 2004
Why I am not Bummed out today…
Ok, I was a little depressed this morning for about an hour, things
didn’t exactly go my way in the election – especially the
things I cared the most about – but the depression didn’t
On about the second cup up coffee the sun broke through the fog, and
my magnificent Maple tree was still lit up like fire in my front yard.
It has rained sideways for two days here in Salem, and when it started
I thought, “well, that is the end of the color show”, but
somehow those crimson and gold leaves hung on until today. I took it as
Then I washed my face and put my sneakers on and went to Freedom Friends
ministry and oversight committee. And I started to remember a few things.
First, Being in power, is never a good thing for the Body of
Christ. Mixing power and faith is always bad for faith. Constantine
turned Christian martyrs into Inquisitors by making the Faith legal and
eventually mandatory. Our Puritan founders came to this country to escape
persecution, established their own state religion and started hanging
people right off the bat. Some of those killed were Quakers. In Europe
where they have state religions, religious devotion has dropped to all
time lows. The right-wing, religious fundamentalists may think that they
won yesterday - they may actually have won. But I assure you – it
won’t be good for them. The infighting will start, and it will start
soon, watch with me.
On the other hand, being out of power – even persecuted –
is always good for the faith. I knew an old Quaker missionary who spent
years in China. It was a hard gig, so little ground was made. Then Mao
came along, chased the missionaries out and declared atheism to be the
state religion. No one got in for about twenty years, but when they did
they found millions of indigenous Chinese Christians. Faith sometimes
grows strongest in bad soil with a toxic wind.
Today I have the good fortune to have been given a Divine commission
to build a liberal, loving, inclusive church. Today there are many people
here in Salem feeling bummed and alienated and ostracized. I intend to
work my tail off giving them a place to feel welcomed and accepted. The
conditions couldn’t be better for me.
Second, when it comes to the issue of allowing gay and lesbian
full civil and religious rights, I know I am working on the side of Justice
and Love. This is never a bad long-term investment. And there
is no other ground that I would rather be standing on. Our Quaker ancestors
were on the cutting edge of all kinds of Loving Justice issues; abolition,
women’s rights, mental health treatment, prison reform, civil rights.
Many of them worked their lifetimes to see justice come into flower. Some
of them died before they saw it. (Yes, I mean that exactly as I wrote
it! – I think they saw it after they died, and see it now) It was
a tough road while they worked, but they became heroes. We are working
to be the heroes of our great-grandchildren. Let us not let them down!
And I know that the other side thinks that they too are working for love
and justice – but this is in our favor. For it is the ground we
will eventually win on. Open hatred is the minority, and it is entrenched
and hard to beat on the heart level. But most of the people on the other
side of this issue are not really hate-filled. And because of that, Love
will eventually win.
“Love never fails”- Paul the Apostle.
I know that many are really hurting today. The hope of many young voters
has been stung – we must speak up and tell them that they have taken
courageous first steps in a life long journey. I know that there are at
least 6,000 people in Oregon who just had their most personal precious
relationship put to public referendum and rejected. I can only imagine
what it would be like to have the validity of my marriage put on the ballot.
But we have to stand beside them and tell them that they are not alone,
and that the fight is not over. We have to give them places where their
relationships are honored and nurtured. There is no law or constitution
that can stop us from doing this.
It looks like Peace has taken a blow, but do not be deceived.
War and strife is always based in fear and deceit – we can fight
these things, our only real enemies. There is always something you can
do. You always have a choice. Are you afraid of a draft? Well, we have
run an underground railroad before, and we can do it again if we need
to. We have gone to jail before, and walked out victorious.
Last, I remembered that there are exactly the same number of
peacemakers, and justice builders, and love encouragers in the world today
as yesterday. I am one, you are one, there are millions of us,
and we are just as talented, and determined and confidant as ever. No
election can stop this work, or undo a mite of its produce.
I love this country. I even like it most of the time. I have seen anarchy
and chaos in the third world and trust me – this with all its faults,
is still a good deal. But I am first a citizen of another country, one
that is not bound by time or geography; one that is not affected by fear
or greed or ignorance. It is the only country that gets my full allegiance,
and the only army I will fight in. It is the Kingdom of Christ, and He
is my sovereign and friend, and co-creator. And when I work and fight
for His cause, it can only benefit this temporal realm.
So pick yourself up! Shake it off, and let’s get to work. The need
is great, the situation is favorable to our cause, and we have nothing
Truth arrives in funny places. I saw this on the back of a shirt today
at Muchas Gracias Drive Through.
“What lies behind us, and what lies before us, is nothing compared
to what lies within us”
AMEN – Yours faithfully,
Peggy Senger Parsons
Pastor, Freedom Friends Church