As a minister of the Gospel, I found Sunday to be terribly hard to preach to my congregation. I pastor a multicultural church, comprised of blacks and whites, Caribbean immigrants and Latinos. What I learned on Sunday, much to my surprise, considering my liberation theology approach to preaching, is that half of my congregation voted for Secretary Clinton, while the other half voted for President-elect Trump. Even though, I value the democratic ideals and principles of our nation’s democratic process-- in that people should have a right to vote for whomever they want, I am still baffled after Sunday’s service; not entirely because Donald Trump is President-elect, (because his presidency represents more than him alone), but that a group of my parishioners reinforced racism, homophobia, xenophobia, islamophobia, and sexism on the ballot.
While this is not to suggest that a subset of my parishioners are any of the things I mentioned above, it does however suggest that many of them voted to preserve “whiteness” over and against their gender identification and socioeconomic status; and at the same time—blatantly made a decision to not stand in solidarity with their black and brown brothers and sisters in the fight for justice and equality for all people.
Liberation theology is at the heart of the Gospel, and those of us who call ourselves moral agents for equitable change regardless of our religious persuasion, have a moral obligation and responsibility to be resolute against forces that undermine those values and principles. We must continually serve as the moral voice who stand on the side of the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed, and the downtrodden regardless of who inherits the White House.
My position hasn’t changed. We must keep fighting for universal health care, quality education for our nation’s children, voting rights, labor rights, LGBT rights, immigration, and greater access to resources and opportunities for the working class.
I believe in America, and while no society is perfect, I still choose to believe that America is one of the greatest planets on earth. What unites us as Americas are far greater than what divides us. We have come too far to turn back now. We have been down this road before and history has taught us that it has never inspired us towards real progress, but instead divisive rhetoric only breeds hatred, bigotry, and prejudice. Now is not the time to resuscitate the era of Jim and Jane Crow, but now is the time to demand that a new chapter in history be forged, where women, minorities, and immigrants are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. And, quite frankly, this is the demand we place on this incoming administration. We will not tolerate hatred and bigotry of any sort, and any attempt to do so, will be met with vigorous resistance and spirited confrontation.
This election has signaled for me that now is the time for clergy all over America, especially minority clergy, to get more involved in the political process and to awaken the ethical consciousness of the nation through a radical social justice agenda. Now is the time to push for smarter broad based policies to protect the interest of the poor, and those whose voices have been rendered mute. Now is the time to push back against partisan politics that offers more of the same instead of substantive change.
Today, I am deciding to lick my wounds, and to recover from my own Post-Trump-Matic Stress Syndrome, and hitting the ground running. Our nation needs your collective participation. Would you please join me in the fight in helping to make America a more inclusive and just society?