“Merry Christmas!” We’ve shouted and heard this joyful salutation many times over the course of the holidays. But I wonder just how sincere it might be from those who for the last seven years have, with Grinch-furrowed brows and spittle-filled invective, attacked the president, the poor and the immigrants and wailed about the state of the union (a warped perception, blind to its status when the president first took office).
In fact, I might even question my own sincerity, for I am often contemptuous of those with whom I disagree, even as I pray for them. More proof that I am certainly no saint.
So is there any difference between us, those who believe one way, and those another? Is either of us more holy, righteous, honest, worthy of heaven, etc. than the other? Well, I’ll leave eternity to God for that is what the Bible teaches. “Judgment is mine, sayeth the lord.”
But for truth, and for consistency with universal morality (the secular moral equivalence of Christian religiosity) it is our duty to discern and judge here on Earth what is true, what is righteous and what is just.
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So if I proclaim “X” and “X” is contrary to this universal morality, as well as the facts, then a more enlightened soul should note my error, show me a higher truth, and provide me the chance to accept it and correct course. This is fair, this is instructive and this is how we make progress, both individually and collectively.
It is therefore godly and righteous to confront unrighteous error, no matter how unpopular it is to so confront it, for example no matter how many of our countrymen support the erroneous position and resist the presentation of a higher truth. It may make us unpopular for awhile, but we have to face ourselves in the mirror each day and, more importantly, face God, our ultimate boss.
So in this season when we celebrate the birth of the little babe in swaddling clothes — who came naked and vulnerable into a hostile world, and through loyalty to his ultimate boss instead of the cheering crowds, became the king of kings and lord of lords — we should stop and consider current events, specifically terrorism and immigration, from the babe’s perspective.
Popular culture is aflame with fear. Fear of immigrants and Muslims has many rushing to shut tight the door to America’s teeming shores. Base emotions have replaced truth, rationality and compassion. Worse, certain politicians are aiding and abetting this descent and departure from America’s foundational values, values that, not coincidentally, mirror universal morality.
All the laws, policies and best traditions of America amount to this: faith over fear. Faith in our values, faith in our system and faith in a power higher than ourselves. The bold American faces danger head on, but with eyes, mind and heart wide open, not shut.
Yes, ISIS is real. But we’ve been taking precautions for years. Our immigration security procedures for Syrian refugees have been painstakingly developed and applied. The facts show that all potentially bad actors are being weeded out and those who do make it have a long wait. Further, the ISIS terrorists in Paris were native born, not immigrants.
Fear-induced solutions betray our faith. Walls can never be high enough, nor guns true enough. Fatalistic dependence on such fear-laden traps betray our faith in both God and America.
If the eternal is our ultimate destiny, we must take the faith-paved road that will get us there. Jesus’ very life, the greatest gift of all, stands as eternal proof of this truth. Like the tender little babe laying under a cold starlit sky, we must proclaim our vulnerability and despite it — or rather, in allegiance to it — live our lives in the triumphant ascendancy of faith.
Richard Dawahare is a Lexington attorney.