“There is no 'them' and 'us.' There is only us!”
Father Greg Boyle
Father Boyle might as well be barking to the choir, because I swear not a soul is listening! Not one!
The current police controversy is a perfect example. Because many of us have taken stands that black lives matter, following the George Floyd murder, it must mean that we hate cops…especially white ones. We have no more use for cops, want to abolish their departments, and want to spend that money on other things. Don’t ask me how you reach that conclusion, because it defies reason. That, in turn, prompts a pro-cop faction…police unions, families of officers, all of them as equally outspoken in their positions.
Since the Floyd incident, we’ve been exposed to many more reports of people of color being abused by the police. Somehow, that degenerates to taking sides. You must choose a position. You may not live on both sides of the street.
That damn divisiveness starts at the very top, and it’s getting worse. All Republicans are good, all Democrats are bad, or vice versa. All Republicans are conservative. All Democrats are socialists. All gun carriers support the NRA. Liberals have no use for the Second Amendment. All Christians are right-wingers. All right-wingers are evangelical Christians. Middle-of-the-road and compromise are rapidly losing ground. Reason and calm discussion are getting thrown by the wayside.
In this prison advocacy business, we’ve been dealing with that for years.
I hear family members of prisoners cursing every prison guard. Corrections Officers are no good! Evil. Rotten. We know better than that.
Those of us fighting for humane and fair treatment of prisoners are considered the enemy by many victims, many victims’ rights groups, and many prosecutors. Then again, many of our friends in prisoner advocacy think that all prosecutors and judges are evil. Victims’ rights groups are cruel and uncaring.
Let us pray that the Spirit of God whom Fr. Boyle preaches and whom I serve might descend on us with a blanket of reason, whereby
-we deplore abusive activity by law enforcement, and seek positive police reform;
-we put color aside, and see all humans as one race;
-our political leaders find respect for opposing opinions, and seek common ground;
-evil prison guards are overshadowed by kind, hard-working and caring officers;
-victims of crime recognize that many prisoners are victims, too;
-advocates for prisoners feel the pain and heartache of crime victims;
The ball is in our court. May change begin with us.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.