I am also concerned that we are doing the same thing to Madiba that we have done to Malcolm X, and to a lesser extent, to Martin Luther King: whitewashing their radical prophetic legacy into nonthreatening champions of “reconciliation.”
This craving, this desire to fill ourselves with “things” is often a mask, a recognition that we are hollow on the inside, that there is something in us that is calling out to be fulfilled. That craving, however, is often not about things, but an opening in the heart that can only be filled by the love of another that makes us whole.
The history of Thanksgiving may not be real, but the love we share is real. The joy that comes from contentment is real. Expanding the circle of love and compassion is real. And for all that, we give thanks.
I watch in horror Christian preachers talk about how God wants you to be “blessed” with faith, wealth, health, and victory. And I wonder about the poor and the homeless, the immigrants and the marginalized ones, and where they fit into this false gospel of prosperity. Are they the un-blessed?
The moral blind spots of Nobel Peace Prize winners Obama, Elie Wiesel, and Ayung San Suu Kyi are a reminder that we have to keep each other accountable, even the most noble and beautiful of us. We have to insist that we practice moral constancy, and shine the light on those moral blind spots.
How are we to make sense of Madonna’s interest in Islam? It’s about a number of factors, ranging from Islamophobia to the entertainment industry to racial privilege. And the Islamic ethical tradition might have something to offer us here.
By what standard of morality do many of these Republicans count themselves as followers of Christ, when they violate the very literal ethical teachings of Christ that compels us to care for the “Least of These”?
What does it say about our Republic when the only issue that we seem to be able to achieve consensus on is war? Not on healthcare, not on education, not on taxes, not on housing, not on environment, not on gun control….only on war. Something is not right with us.
The President said he wanted to have a debate on Syria. Let’s give him one. Let us start by reminding him of the real teachings of the same Dr. King on peace and justice that he and others have so thoroughly sought to appropriate. What is at stake is both the fate of the suffering citizens of Syria and the fate of our own democracy. We are, as King told us, caught in this inescapable network of mutuality.
This hideous practice not only tramples on the rights of American Muslims, it also makes a mockery of the very rights and freedoms that are at the heart of the American experiment. If America is great, if America wants to be great, its greatness is to be measured not in the size of the flags we fly, but the extent to which we recognize the innate rights of all of our citizens, starting with the most marginalized amongst us.