I was sitting in church this morning especially attentive. My mind tends to wander sometimes on Sunday mornings. It usually happens in the middle of the sermon. What was it I needed to pick up at Wal-Mart? I really need to make a list. I can’t rely on trying to remember what it was I thought of in the shower. And walking aimlessly down every aisle until it hits me doesn’t always prove rewarding. But this morning I was not thinking about crackers or ice cream or dog biscuits or paper towels. I was thinking that in five days Governor Brewer of Arizona is either going to be a coward to her party and veto a heinous law or she is going to appease the legislature and thus make her state the poster child for hatred. As much as I’d like to think she will do the right thing, the queasiness in my stomach says something else.
What started me to ponder were some things that were in the lessons and the Gospel. Although they had no relation whatsoever to the state of events in Arizona, I thought it was rather ironic that they appeared at all considering the fact that the legislators are using religion as the basis for their bigotry. The first reading included these words: “You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor…You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself…You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself…”
When it was time to hear from The Gospel these words stuck in my mind: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven…”
I question people who use religion as a crutch for their bias against others. I question their motives. I question their consciences. I question their sinless lives. But most of all I question their faith.
Love is love. Hate is hate. Evil is evil. With the stroke of a pen or the stamp from an ink pad one woman will decide which it is going to be. The burden of doing the right thing or letting “religious morals” take control rests upon her shoulders. When she was asked by the press on Saturday what she was going to do she said she “needs to think about it.” Really? Okay. But what is there to think about? What effect a law like that would have on Arizona? Would people stop coming to her state? Would the Super Bowl pull out next year? Would businesses decline to relocate there? Would their economy suffer? Would she be guilty of discrimination? Would she be labeled a bigot?
My guess is she is only trying to think about what was on her shopping list for the week.