Anxieties rekindle, reigniting proactive quest for equality and equity
Unfortunately, North Idaho has been saddled with the ugly image of being a hideout for white nationalists and supremacists. There are still Confederate flags waving on poles and stuck on trucks in certain areas, displayed with pride.
At a PFLAG event at the Gardenia Center in early December, I went to be an advocate for human beings of differing sexual identities. I felt deeply some of the fear that resides in the hearts of our brothers and sisters. Immigrants are worried. Muslims are terrified. Women see a brand new assault on their bodies and human rights.
The anxieties that exist in these areas that were finally being resolved somewhat, have now been rekindled and quickly nourished into a worrisome flame.
For the majority, it is impossible to think that we would relapse in our hearts to a place that would allow bigotry, much less sanctioned bigotry.
Bigotry, fear of the other and the outrageous idea that one’s religion is better than another’s have no place in the world.
There is a line in the Star Spangled Banner that refers to the U.S. as “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
We are not free unless all are free.
We are not brave if we are afraid of our neighbors because of ethnicity, sexuality or religion.
Many believe that God sanctions their beliefs and that the beliefs held by others are evil. This kind of thinking in the 21st Century would be laughable if it was not what is happening.
As it is, any hope for world peace seems to be undone by the very religions that are supposed to be bringing peace, as they become the bedfellows of those seeking power and domination. Humanism and atheism, or any other “isms,” are not exempt from this accusation either.
Fear is at the root of our anxiety towards others whom we may deem different.
We must ask ourselves honestly, “What is my fear of the other?” If we do not ask ourselves this question and respond honestly, sooner or later we will find ourselves to be the object of suspicion and hate.
Here in the West, a perfect example of this is portrayed in the voices of some who feel Christianity is under attack.
Christianity is not under attack, but it is feeling the effects of Christians who have built walls of exclusion.
The majority of us in North Idaho believe in being at least tolerant of those different from us, if not being completely accepting and affirming.
We are asking ourselves the important questions while holding ourselves responsible for the answers.
In this all too obvious time of “gnashing of teeth,” we must pull together to stand in solidarity against hate of any kind, directed against anyone.
We must be, and continue to be, proactive in our quest for equality and equity. We must all be a voice for those who have no voice, or whose voices are under threat of being silenced.
Bob Evans – guest editor
Emerge n’ See United Church of Christ – Sandpoint
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