Grace and peace. There are so many things going on at St. Patrick’s. I hope that you will be there for the celebration of our new program year this Sunday at 10am. Bring yourself, a backpack for a blessing, and a side dish or dessert for the cookout.
DACA has been in the news this week. I encourage you to read the letter signed by Bishop Mariann and other faith leaders about the Dreamers. Last year, we spent the month of October studying the book, The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. The book is about the psychology of groups and the human tendency to fall into them. The quick summary is that when we do this, we see our position as righteous and everyone else’s positions as wrong. The way to overcome these logjams is to see the other side’s position as valuable and then, while listening with an open mind, to evaluate the different ways to get to a common goal through compromise.
DACA and other stopgap solutions for our country’s problems are a result of our leaders being stuck in a righteous mind. They are so stuck that they are unwilling to see other viewpoints as valuable and unwilling to compromise. We have jumped on their ship and it is speeding toward destruction. We must stand up against injustice, but at the same time realize that it is a long road overcome with small steps.
I am not an expert on DACA, but I think there are ways that we could advocate for something better. Currently, a Dreamer must apply and pay a fee to be in the DACA system every two years. That is a great opportunity, but it is not freedom (as I see it). It is more like an elementary school hall pass. This week, leaders from both sides of the aisle have expressed support for dreamers. Might there be a way to see the next six months as an opportunity to advocate for citizenship for these people by finding ways to compromise on our immigration positions?
If we transform the “win everything” mentality, we might be able to do what both sides say that they want: to bring about unity in a country that is currently polarized.
There are, no doubt, many arguments to be made (on all sides), but we will never make things work if we only see our way as righteous. The Episcopal Church welcomes all. Are we willing to put that into practice and deal with the consequences of being uncomfortable with those who think differently than we do? I hope so, because that is what it takes to live a Christian life.