A Holy Week Letter from the Episcopal House of Bishops

In a letter to the Episcopal Churches in the State of Maine, Bishop Stephen Lane wrote that the bishops of the Episcopal church, meeting for their annual spring meeting were, among other things, united in a deep sense of unease about the current state of politics in the United States. He wrote: “Of particular concern was the scape-goating of marginalized peoples for the decline of the middle class. Middle class income has been falling for 40 years, but it is not the fault of the poor, immigrants or people of color. Nor is our security as Americans suddenly at risk because people across the globe still see America as a land of opportunity.

“There is no reversing the growing diversity of our land. In fact that diversity is what God intended in creation. And, our faith calls us to welcome the stranger and to have compassion on the poor. In the current polarized environment, the church is called to be a voice of love and moderation. I invite each of you to consider the statement of the bishops and to do your part in bringing Christ’s love and compassion to our civic discourse.

“Remember, love overcomes death.”

What follows is the letter from the House of Bishops for Holy Week 2016

March 15, 2016

“We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others.”

On Good Friday the ruling political forces of the day tortured and executed an innocent man. They sacrificed the weak and the blameless to protect their own status and power. On the third day Jesus was raised from the dead, revealing not only their injustice but also unmasking the lie that might makes right.

In a country still living under the shadow of the lynching tree, we are troubled by the violent forces being released by this season’s political rhetoric. Americans are turning against their neighbors, particularly those on the margins of society. They seek to secure their own safety and security at the expense of others. There is legitimate reason to fear where this rhetoric and the actions arising from it might take us.

In this moment, we resemble God’s children wandering in the wilderness. We, like they, are struggling to find our way. They turned from following God and worshiped a golden calf constructed from their own wealth. The current rhetoric is leading us to construct a modern false idol out of power and privilege. We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others. No matter where we fall on the political spectrum, we must respect the dignity of every human being and we must seek the common good above all else.

We call for prayer for our country that a spirit of reconciliation will prevail and we will not betray our true selves.

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