If we do not stand firmly against what is evil, if we do not choose a side – and with that I mean the side of what is good, moral, just, ethical, and right – we all bear the weight of guilt. Our country now stands some distance past the junction of good versus evil. Will we direct our way back and make the sharp turn for what is good? We can do that by being very clear that hate, racism, and the notion that one race or people is superior is pure evil. God made us ALL in God’s image. Full stop. Each person is formed in the image and likeness of God, and the dignity of each human person should be fully assured. Full stop.
One of the first things I did on Sunday morning was to look at a few video clips from the movie Judgement at Nuremberg. These two particularly spoke to me…
This first one shows how a woman, the widow of a Nazi war criminal, still believed that no one knew what was going on. The problem was, that kind of “not knowing” can only come from the inability to see what is actually going on. And sometimes, just what is going on is so awful that maybe it feels like “not knowing” is the only way to cope. Sadly, that is no excuse as the dust settles and the smoke clears.
The second clip is longer and addresses the levels of evil. We are wise to make some effort to understand institutional evil, and to be very clear to our response to it. That is a difficult and permanent condition – once again, it may be difficult to cope. But cope we must. Life is not black and white – and I do not mean that in the racial sense.
With Charlottesville we have seen a new face of hate unveiled. Literally. No longer are white KKK hoods needed, no the “banality of evil” was on full display in polo shirts and tiki torches from Walmart or Home Depot. Big box racism is trending I guess.
I’m not sure what this means for our country. It is a turning point, of that I am sure. I’m not so sure that it will be for the good, at least not yet. But our country – like our churches – means “us.” What we think, how we feel, what we strongly believe and stand for all matters a great deal. Take a position, take a stand, otherwise we will be mourning more than the events of this weekend. Take a stand, understand where you stand and why, and if you are a person of faith, may that be done in on-going conversation with God. If we do not take clear positions and make active moves towards justice, mourning in America will be worse than we might imagine. Let’s not let that happen. Good and evil is clearly visible. Choose good – choose it very clearly.