Thoughts on a Rally

On Saturday (Aug. 28), I decided to ride my bike down to the Washington Mall to witness the “Restoring Honor” Rally organized by Glenn Beck.  Other than having an unexplainable sense that “I didn’t belong” and that “I think these these folks and I see the world very differently,” it’s been hard for me to articulate what I thought and felt about being in the midst of this crowd who were drawn to what I sensed was largely an anti-Obama celebration.  I realize that my sense of things was as much (if not more) an expression of my own biases than the real perspectives held by so many thousands of individuals, but that was my sense, nonetheless.

I didn’t hear many of the main speeches, but the bits and pieces I did hear were largely religious. I saw (on one of the large monitors) and heard bits of the remarks from Alveda King, niece of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the African American Outreach Director for the Roman Catholic group, Priests for Life. The part and prayer I heard dealt with abortion, but I heard no mention of or call to abolish the death penalty — one of the positions that Priests for Life espouses. I couldn’t help but wonder why?

Today’s Daily Meditation from Fr. Richard Rohr probably explains better than I can the underlying sense of division that seemed so palpable to me on Saturday.  Would that it were not so!

“We thought that we overcame racism in the 60’s; we thought the church overcame triumphalism at Vatican II, and now forty  years later we are right back into this regressive and dualistic thinking all over again.  …. this judgmental thinking will continue to happen in every group, in every denomination if we see everything with a dualistic mind.  No new emerging church will emerge very far.

The judgmental mind is not looking for truth; it is looking for control and righteousness.  For some reason when we split and refuse to receive the moment as it is, we end creating and even reveling in those splits as our very identities.  These are the culture wars and the identity politics we suffer from today.  They will not get us very far spiritually, because they are largely ego-based.”