Castles in the Sand

When the waters rise, will our castles remain?

“Nobody believed in us” and “religious persecution” both have honest and true examples in our world. Unfortunately, both have been so heavily watered-down by ridiculously false claims that they’ve lost all meaning and have become cliché. This is an incredibly fragile time for our country and world. Let’s not lose focus of what’s important by clinging to false narratives that only harm our mission of sharing God’s love with the world around us.

Hand holding lantern in a forest

This pandemic is a chance for us to come together as a country and see what’s really most important to all of us as life and the health of our friends, family and neighbors takes center stage. Even in the midst of this pandemic, we’ve seen the unwillingness of certain groups to accept truth lead to greater spread of the disease. It is in this time that we must step back and really self-assess as to whether our sources of information are reliable or if we’re allowing partisan gaslighting to turn us against entire groups of people based on manipulation. We must do better if we hope to survive as a nation through this period not just of medical turmoil but some of the greatest political division we’ve ever seen. In order to do so, we must start with a firm foundation: a foundation of truth.

Imagine for a moment that, instead of real life, this were a movie about a nation-wide and global pandemic bringing our lives to a screeching halt while threatening to kill millions if we don’t act responsibly. Hearing the president and some of his most influential supporters espouse an opinion that we need to sacrifice certain groups of people in order to boost the economy because “the cure can’t be worse than the disease,” we would react with horror at such a suggestion. We would unquestionably hope for the downfall of those leaders, seeing them for the selfish villains they truly are.

But at some point (hopefully sooner than later) it will end. At that point, we’ll be left to pick up the pieces. And there will be a lot of pieces as we discover just how devastating this experience will be for all of us in so many ways – medically, socially, culturally, economically. I pray that as we go through this together (apart, please respect the restrictions for going out as much as you can), we will seriously reconsider some of the deeply rooted aspects of our American personality.

Religious freedom means I had every right to pray while attending public school and wear my (painfully) corny shirts while proudly strutting around with my Bible to showcase my extreme holiness (which entirely missed the point of the Gospel, but I digress). It also means Muslim students have an equal right to pray in school, wear hijabs, host Quran study groups and read their holy texts in their quiet times. It means Jewish students can do the same. As can Wiccans, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and all others.

The truth exposes. It places things out in the open. From there, we can respond and move on. The opposite almost always grows into something uncontrollable, as our quest to hide the truth leads to piles of increasingly larger lies piled on top of lies that all threaten to destroy our house of cards and expose our hypocrisy.