By The Rt. Rev. Dr. Bonnie A. Perry, January 7, 2021
Fact. Fiction. Subjective. Objective. Historical. Verifiable. What is truth?
Your perspective, my opinion. Fuzzy. Vague. Sharp. Clear. Provocative. Enlightening, Unfolding.
What is truth?
This is the question that Pilate poses, the question Pilate asks of Jesus just before he condemns him to death. Pilate says to Jesus, “What is truth?”
Each of us, will now have a story of where we were and what we were doing when our capital was overrun by a mass of people, fed by lies, encouraged by silence and emboldened by evil. A group of people, human beings, some neighbors, some family who believe, wholeheartedly that the only thing they could do to preserve democracy was to take over the house of representatives, the senate chamber and stop the ratification of the electoral college votes. I watched. I became enraged. As I saw the photos you all have seen, windows of our capital smashed in, guns drawn, gas masks on, I do not need to remind you anymore.
As many of you know, I grew up in a military family. The first sermon I preached in this Cathedral’s pulpit was about my Marine Corps Family going to meet, in the middle of the night, the first POWs returning from the Viet Nam war. I am a patriot.
Like many of you I stand at attention for our National Anthem, like some of you I stand at attention for the Marine Corps hymn. Like many of you, I believe that our country has always aspired to be a place that embodies democratic ideals, the sanctity of the right to vote, the liberty to speak my beliefs, and the freedom from any government telling me how I may or may not embody my religious beliefs. I have always held these truths to be sacred.
As I aged, I began to understand that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has historically not always been offered or given to everyone in our country, regardless of their skin color, place of birth, sex, gender, sexuality, religious belief or economic means. One of the things about the United States of America that I have always treasured is that we do not demand blind obedience of our citizens, rather our ability and right to critique and protest is an essential ingredient of the governing principles of this nation.
And so like many of the people in our country I protest, speak out, and vote when I want change in our nation. Bit by bit I do believe our country tries to move along the moral arc of the universe toward justice. We sometimes stumble, we sometimes fall and then we stand up and begin again.
Last night, our country did more than stumble, we did more than fall, thousands of people in our country ran off the ramparts and crashed into a moat of chaos because leaders in our government at the highest level, our president and some members of congress have insisted upon perpetuating a myth of widespread voter fraud. Those lies: either the perpetuation of them or the tacit acceptance of them has caused a vast swath of our country to now doubt the very means by which we make changes to our policies and laws. A vast swath of our country doubts our ability to hold fair elections.
This belief is simply not true. The courts have upheld our November elections, the state legislatures have upheld our elections, the Justice Department and the Head of the Department of Homeland Security Cyber-security section upheld our elections. And still lies and conspiracies were stoked and fed by our president and perpetuated or ignored by others who knew better.
And yesterday happened.
What are we, people of faith, Christians, patriots to do?
Speak the truth. Hear the truth. Learn the truth. Explore the truth.
What is truth?
Long before he stood in front of Pilot, Jesus said, “If you continue in my word…you will know my word, you will know my truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8: 31, 32
I believe that word of truth is contained in Matthew 25:35. When did we feed you, when did we visit you, when did we give you something to drink? When did we reach out to the least?
Friends, someone has to start caring and listening we have enormous pain and hurt and sickness a virus attacking our bodies and viruses attacking our souls in this country.
What is the truth?
Each of us who is capable needs a job, with respect, dignity and meaning. Truth.
Each of us needs educations that enliven our spirits and touches our souls. Truth.
Each of us needs to be able to legitimately dream of an amazing future for ourselves and our children. Truth.
Each of us needs to have a voice, to speak, to be heard, to be listened to. Truth.
Each of us needs to be loved, for who we are, as we are. Truth.
When we start seeing each other, hearing the truth of each other’s lives, then I believe we will no longer need the junk food lies of conspiracy to sustain us. It is a massive change and that change begins now, there is no turning back. No turning back if we are indeed to follow Jesus there is no turning back. It begins now.