“Let man be noble,
Generous and good:
For that alone
From all the Living
Beings we know…
…Let the noble man
Be generous and good.
What is just and useful:
Let him be a model
For those beings whom he surmises.”- Goethe
(And her too, by God!)
Having finally watched the movie Spotlight, I was outraged and saddened. The movie follows the investigative reporters in Boston verifying the local and then world-wide systematic abuse of children by priests. I remembered a bumper sticker that said, “If you are not furious, you’re not paying close enough attention.” My old roommate used to say that “Things are always much darker than people think,” and I would counter with, “Things are much lighter than people are aware of.”
Religion has often been compared to a country club. It is the smugness of the members of the club regarding this abuse that rots its foundation. My friend Drake Powe has often pointed out to me that wherever there is a strong light there will be a strong shadow.
Watching the show Call the Midwife, I am moved to tears almost every time at the humanity of the nuns in East London. This show is taken from an actual account of life as a midwife in the nineteen fifties. These dedicated women use their faith, not as a smug affiliation that allows them to leave their responsibility at the door but motivates them to roll up their sleeves and provide service, mercy and kindness to many who have never received these things in sustaining portions.
My friend Janeen once said if women ran the various religions they would be not only closer to God but beneficial to human beings as well. While I tend to agree with her, we all have to take responsibility for our shadows.
Yesterday, I read an article * written by a young man who went to a Trump rally, expecting it to be funny and he was horrified at the crowd’s ugly, antagonizing intolerance towards any protesters. Even a man silently wearing a shirt that said, “Love is the answer,” was thrown out and ridiculed.
A group of farmers fought the most powerful army in the world to create the first nation in history that was not ruled by a dictator or a king but by the people for the people. Here is our shadow abdicating love and responsibility using the word Freedom to justify hatred, racism and greed. We are bigger than this. We are stronger than this and each of us individually, while not being perhaps as strong or consistent as the nuns in Call the Midwife can make a difference despite our shortcomings and fluctuations.
It is never too late to exercise freedom of choice. May we choose freedom for ourselves and those around us.