When I graduated from seminary, I had no idea of ever being political in sermons. Basically I just want to be liked. I saw political issues as a struggle between two extremist groups and imagined myself to be standing in the sane and moderate middle.
When I arrived at our church there was a pro-life group. I saw the church as a big umbrella so I said nothing. One day the preschool director buzzed me on the intercom and asked if I could come to the church parlor. When I arrived there was a woman sobbing. She was a mother of four who had been told by her doctor that her latest pregnancy could kill her and leave her other children without a parent. She had called a “crisis pregnancy number” and our pro-life group had lied to her telling her they would help her get an abortion. When she arrived they showed her the “Silent Scream” which is a graphic anti-abortion film.
I tried to find my typical middle ground, but the truth was, I needed to make a decision. Either I would be a part of such dishonesty and cruelty, or I would not. As the years went on, I realized that was true of many issues of injustice. For the oppressed, social issues are not matters of opinion, they are matters of survival. In times of injustice the person standing in the middle, for all intents and purposes, has sided with the powerful .
This Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday as a kind of “Occupy Jerusalem” protest. If politics means how we treat each other, then love must express itself politically. We cannot say we love God and stand by silently while others suffer.
The word “protestant” and the word “protest” come from the same root. We cannot say “yes” to humanity, unless we can say “no” to all that is inhumane. We cannot say “yes” to a religion of love, unless we oppose that which is cruel. We cannot say “yes” to life, unless we say “no” to all that poisons life as we actually live it.