Saturday, April 16, 2005

Valerie W.

I was baptized into the Episcopal Church in Columbia, South Carolina as a toddler. I spent most of my childhood attending church and Sunday School with my grandparents in the Methodist church but at the age of 25 returned to the Episcopal church to study and take confirmation as a fully aware adult.

I am not hostile to faith and most especially not hostile to those who commit the best of their abilities and recognizing their own humanity, their life and ideology to both the promise of Christ's sacrifice and his teachings.

I *am* hostile to anyone who thinks that they can use that same sacrifice and those teachings to bludgeon, intimidate, and hurt people with a constricted and contorted ideology.

I am no less Christian for being open-minded, I am no less faithful for being liberal or for thinking that compassion and charity are the cornerstones of Christian faith rather than the self-righteousness and intolerance of the radical right-wing religious conservatives of *any* faith.

I am no less Christian for thinking Sen. Bill Frist is using "Faith" like a weapon to undermine the effectiveness of our Senate by trying to abolish dissent.

I am no less Christian for opposing openly biased and radical judicial nominees who have demonstrated an inability to see that all people are created equal as far as the law is concerned.

As a Christian, I find the Republican party and the far right religious conservatives to have more in common with the Taliban than they do with the teachings and life of Christ I have studied and known.

My Christian faith taught me to extend my hand to the poor and the hungry, to clothe the naked, offer hospitality to the stranger and give comfort to the sick.

My Christian faith taught me to honor my father and mother which I did unto the ends of their lives.

My Christian faith taught me that to love others, to recognize all people as God's people and not just a few -- God makes that choice; we do not.

My Christian faith taught me to work for an end to prejudice based on race, on nationality, on sexual identity, on economics and even prejudice based on faith itself.

My Christian faith gives me strength when I would be afraid.

My political freedom lies in not being silenced, but it is my faith that gives me voice to speak.

Bill Frist does not speak for me, as a person of faith, on the senate floor. James Dobson of Focus on Family and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council do not speak for me, as a person of faith, with their rhetoric of hatred and intolerance. Jerry Falwell and the strident voices of the far religious right do not speak for me, as a person of faith, from their pulpits.

I will not be silenced by those oppose me. I will not be silenced by those who falsely claim to speak for God. I will not be silenced by those who would deny me my own faith in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

This country has many voices, many faces, many opinions -- it always has -- and God willing, it always will. In those differences we find strength and inspiration. In the weakest and poorest among us we find our own weakness and poverty of spirit -- when we can successfully lift the least among us up, we are truly God's people. But to do so we must do it as human beings, as a people, not as a political stance. Faith should rule our hearts, not our government. Our prayers are for God's ears, not to increase television ratings.

My Christian faith gives me strength when I would be afraid. As a woman of faith, I will not be silenced or misrepresented.

Valerie Watts

Duluth, GA

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home