Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Standing for Justice -- Reflection #8 -- General Assembly 2013

Bus rode by Rosa Parks in Montgomery, AL




The discussions aren't always easy, but when we gather at the General Assembly as Disciples, we are confronted with issues that are difficult to address, conversations that can make us feel uncomfortable.  I know that today there will be several issues that will raise questions.  I am, for instance, co-sponsoring an emergency resolution calling for Congress to fix the Voting Rights Act, so that the Justice Department has the ability to enforce this important act that protects American access to the ballot box.


Here is what I shared in support of GA-1337, which called on the Assembly to stand up and call on Congress to fix the Voting Acts Rights Act so that the Federal Government can protect the voting rights of all Americans. 
 
My name is Bob Cornwall.  I am the Senior Pastor of Central Woodward Christian Church of Troy, Michigan, and I rise in support of this resolution calling for Congress to address the Supreme Court’s decision stripping away the mechanism empowering the Justice Department’s to oversee changes in voter laws in jurisdictions that historically suppressed voter rights for specific populations.
As you can see, I am white and male.  I am also a property owner.  From the beginning of the American Republic, white, male, property owners, like me, have had the right to vote.  The Supreme Court decision will not affect my voting rights, so, why do I rise in support of this resolution? 
I join with my co-sponsors because those who are now at risk of losing their voting rights are my neighbors, whom Jesus has called me to love.   Many are my sisters and brothers in Christ.  Paul writes that when one member of the body suffers, we all suffer.  So when one of my neighbors suffers, then surely we all suffer.

It’s unlikely that Congress will act unless we demand action, therefore, in the name of God’s justice, will you join me in supporting this resolution as an expression of our love of neighbor? 


There is one addressing the George Zimmerman verdict.  I've not seen it, but I know that there will be differences of opinion.  In the end, as Walter Brueggemann noted, we don't know all the details of this case, but it's clear that the Stand Your Ground law invites violence.

There is also the resolution calling for the Disciples to be a community of faith that is Welcoming and Gracious to all people, including LGBT folks.  I have spoken here several times in support of LGBT rights.  I am personally open and affirming and working with my congregation to move in that direction.  At the very least we can show welcome in a gracious and loving manner to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

There are many who don't see why we should do this.  My response is that   Prophets called on the people of God to do justice.  Jesus called on us to love our neighbors.  Paul reminds us that when one part of the Body of Christ suffers, we all suffer.  It is for this reason that we stand up in support of those whose voices do not get heard. 

But in the Spirit of this General Assembly, let us always keep in mind the call to prayer.  Jesus taught us a prayer that invited us to ask that God's Kingdom would come on earth as in heaven.  That means that we are to pray that the values of God's realm would be found present in our midst.  May this prayer be in our mind as we address issues that we might not be all in agreement upon.

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