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Friday, May 20, 2016

A Litany of Praise and Thanks for Political Correctness

For those of you who are enviably, blissfully unaware of the goings on of The Episcopal Church and the seemingly incessant natter in our corners of Social Media, well, kudos to you. 

Over at the General Convention FaceBook page, there is a discussion about being 'politically correct' which was prompted, believe it or not, by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Yes, that Clarence Thomas. You remember. The one appointed to the SCOTUS when Anita Hill should be serving in his place.  

Yes, that Clarence Thomas. 

The usually Silent One on the bench speaks. 

And now we know why he usually keeps his head down and his mouth shut. 

Justice Thomas was the speaker at the Commencement Ceremony at Hillsdale College where he was roundly quoted by Fox News media outlets as having said this: 
“I admit to being unapologetically Catholic, unapologetically patriotic and unapologetically a Constitutionalist.”

 “Do not hide your faith and your beliefs under a bushel basket, especially in this world that seems to have gone mad with political correctness.”
Well . . . .!

There is an angry troll (isn't there always an angry troll?) who reports that he was, "for 50 years an Episcopalian" (isn't that always the case with angry trolls on Episcopal social media) who is now a member of a conservative mega-church (of course) which has . . . wait for it ... "changed his life". 


He loves nothing more than to stir up negative conversation and derision among Episcopalians (Because, you know, his life has been changed. Imagine what he was like before he knew Jesus!).

He says he's "moved on" from The Episcopal Church but all the evidence points to the contrary. 

Anyway, he posted a meme of Clarence Thomas and his quote and, well, the conversation has been, shall we say, "interesting".

Of course, there was push back. And, of course, there was push back against the push back.

Which, of course, led to many verses of the predictable sad chorus of "The church shouldn't be in politics."

Yes, some Episcopalians said that.

Which, for some, translates to mean: "This conversation really makes me uncomfortable."

Truth is, there has been some interesting - if not unintentional - distinctions made between being "political" and "politics" and the role of each in public service, public discourse and religion.

So, after lots of back and forthing and forthing and backing, I felt called to write this Litany of Praise and thanksgiving for Political Correctness.

I share it with you now and ask that you join me in prayer.
A Litany of Praise and Thanks for Political Correctness in The Episcopal Church
I give thanks and praise to God for all of the  Episcopalian Presidents of the United States who have put their faith into political action and service to this country, including George Washington, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Tyler, Franklin Pierce, Chester Arthur, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush.

I give thanks and praise to God for all of the incumbent Episcopalians who presently put their faith into political action and service to this country as US Senators, including Angus King (I-ME), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), as well as now retired John Danforth, (R-MO) who also served TEC as deputy to General Convention.

I give thanks and praise to God for the political action of Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu whose sacrificial witness and work helped to bring an end to Apartheid in South Africa.

I give thanks and praise to God for the political action of Baptist Minister Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose leadership brought thousands of clergy and laity from thousands of churches of various denomination - including The Episcopal Church - to pass the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act and the desegregation of schools. His words continue to inspire many Episcopalians to dismantle racism and end prejudice and oppression in the name of Jesus.

I give thanks and praise to God for the many Episcopalians - lay and ordained - who marched and protested and participated in political street theater and testified before congress to pass legislation to get treatment and research for People with AIDS.

I give thanks and praise to God for the many, many bishops and priests and deacons and laity in The Episcopal Church who stood up against religious organizations like The Mormon Church and the Roman Catholic Church who contributed millions of dollars to prevent the civil right of Marriage Equality in this country.

I give thanks and praise to God for the group Bishops Against Gun Violence who bring the force of the moral authority of their religious beliefs to bear in the efforts to control gun violence.

I give thanks and praise to God for the work and witness of The Episcopal Church with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) which insures that a calm, confident, moral voice of religion is heard in the vitriolic, hateful, violent battle of the arena of women's reproductive health.

I give thanks and praise to God for the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) for working to keep Episcopalians informed of the ways in which they can put their faith into action - directly as individuals or with other groups and organizations and congregations as well as indirectly through political action - in issues of social justice like poverty, hunger, immigration and peace.

I give thanks and praise to God for all of the independent justice organizations in The Episcopal Church which bring the needs of the world to the church and the care and concern of the church to the world, including Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry Advocates, Episcopal Network for Economic Justice, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Episcopal Urban Caucus, Episcopal Women's Caucus, Integrity, TransEpiscopal, and the Union of Black Episcopalians.

I give thanks and praise to God for all of the elected deputies - past and present - who put their faith into the political action and the legislative process of General Convention.

May God continue to bless the sacrifices they make to be a witness and serve God's people in the world through The Episcopal Church.

I give thanks and praise to God for all Episcopalians who put their faith into action in daily acts of mercy and justice and kindness, without fanfare or recognition, apart from any political party or political affiliation or what they consider politics, and all in the name of Jesus.

I pray that we may all continue to put our faith into action in whatever ways we feel called to do, and that we may continue to have conversations, even when they make us uncomfortable or upset or frustrated or angry, secure in the knowledge that it is always correct political action to take the risks of our faith and honor the Christ in each of us by serving the Christ in others.



Brother David said...

About the Angry Troll;

I heard it once said that folks can leave the church, but they can’t leave the church alone.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I love it, Brother David Thank you. I'll be using it.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Susan - Thanks for your always-on-target quote. You are the Queen of the Soundbite. I bow to you, my dear.

Roger Akroyd said...

Religion, either pro or con, tends to attract obsessives. Which is odd, since it's increasingly a marginal activity engaged in by fewer and fewer people every year.

Marthe said...

It seems to me that what "politically correct" actually means is to be personally considerate , to speak with an understanding that one's own experience is different than others' and may very well not apply at all to anyone's point of view but one's own, to acknowledge that words that disregard the feelings of others do, in fact, damage not just the conversation, but people. Calling something "pc" is now shorthand for announcing that whatever comments follow will be harsh, inconsiderate and therefor somehow more "real" or "brave" than everyone else's view, but it's really just bullying all dressed up for tweeting.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank you for that comment, Roger. Something to consider.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I'm still sticking with Susan Russell's definition of PC. (See poster of that meme at the top of this blog)

lsiepw-W said...

Churches are created by the delusional for the pathetic and maintained by the obsessive and resentful.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hi, George. Do you get excited when you see someone has actually published one of your comments? Like, it might have some credibility? It doesn't. Not with the faithful. I can't imagine why else you keep commenting. Hope I made your day