Join together to discuss divisive, demeaning speech
We address this letter to all people of faith and of good will in our state of Montana. We are at a crucial time in our nation’s history, as well as that of our state, where racial, political and religious divisions have regrettably deepened. People on all sides have spent so much time fanning the flames of division that the higher callings of our religious traditions have been neglected. While we cannot speak for everyone from the various contexts of our siblings in faith, we also cannot remain silent. So we call out to you from our context of faith as followers of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul spoke:
Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 3:11, “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”
Paul is teaching that we are all children of God, we are all equal in Christ. Any speech, action, decree or regulation that separates or marginalizes on the basis of ethnicity, country of origin or religion is antithetical to Paul’s teachings and our beliefs as Christians. This clearly includes racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism, white nationalism and white supremacy.
The uptick in racist and supremacist language and actions is troubling to all, including Christians. Such views, which are antithetical to Christian teachings, are being promoted by leaders in our country. This is something we must speak out against. We must equally speak out against the twisting of words for political gain.
As Christians we hold all to be equal in God’s eyes. Additionally, our country upholds the principle that all are created equal. The rallying of bigotry and fear for political gain, and the tolerance of such behavior is threatening the norms and values of American democracy. Such divisive rhetoric only serves to deepen the divide in our nation.
We hope to be guided by the passage in Hebrews 10:24-25, which says, “Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Let us not neglect to meet together to pray for our leaders and to discuss these matters. Let us gather together to encourage one another to love deeply through our words and actions. Let us not respond in kind by demonizing one another. Let us rather speak with one another in ways which promote the inherent worth and dignity of all persons.
As Christian leaders of Glacier Presbytery, we call upon all people of faith to come together, that we might speak with religious, social and governmental leaders about these serious matters. Events are being planned and will be announced soon.
Glacier Presbytery Cabinet members Rev. Tim Dalstrom, Whitefish, Rev. Miriam Mauritzen, Kalispell and Risa Paul, Hot Springs; along with Rev. Glenn Burfiend, Kalispell, Betsey Ellis, Condon, and Steve Ellis, Condon.