The cause of our deep animosity (and the solution)

 

The wolf shall live with the lamb,

The leopard shall lie down with the kid,

The calf and the lion and the fatling together,

And a little child shall lead them.

  • Isaiah 11:6

 

Tomorrow, we will have a new president-elect.

No matter who wins, this nation will need healing. Major healing.

This country hasn’t been so divided since the Civil War in the 1860s.

What divides us is not the issues that have dominated the news this year. It’s not Hillary’s emails or Trump’s derogatory language, Benghazi or taxes, FBI investigations or Trump’s political naivete.

No, the issue that divides us runs much deeper than that.

The deepest issue

Right and wrong. It’s whether right and wrong even exist, and who gets to decide.

Conservatives say yes, there is right and wrong, and we human beings don’t get to decide which is which. There’s a higher power, something bigger than us, that decides what is good and what is evil.

Right and wrong do not change over time, but are the same for all people in all cultures for all time, past, present and future.

Liberals disagree with that completely. Humans get to decide what’s right and wrong based on our preferences and desires. Any higher power is oppressive, limiting who we are and what we believe.

That’s the fundamental difference between conservatives and liberals in this country.

Donald and Hillary are not by any means the perfect representations of those ideals, but we chose them in the primaries. This country is heading liberal, no doubt about it, with last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and with marijuana legislation following the same path – a few states passing it, then a wave of states, and perhaps the nation’s top court will rule on this too. Or, perhaps all the states will eventually just legalize marijuana on their own.

The winner is who yells the loudest and the longest. I was a longtime member of the United Methodist Church. That denomination first discussed same-sex marriage in the late 1960s, and its leadership has rejected language supporting it every four years since – for half-a-century. And yet that resolution continues to be brought forth. Supporters will not take no for an answer, because this is a right-and-wrong issue for them.

Those who oppose same-sex marriage also see that as a right-and-wrong issue. Hence, the stalemate. It just depends on which side has more people in positions of authority.

Is there a compromise? I’m not sure there is.

Supreme Court justice

And that’s why our nation is divided. It’s not so much Donald and Hillary, really; it’s who the winner will nominate as U.S. Supreme Court justices in the next four years. The Supreme Court should not set policy, but it does. So, the appointments matter. Big time.

Will Roe vs. Wade continue? Will same-sex marriage continue as the law of the land? Can the tide be turned? Should it?

Either way, can we learn to get along with each other again, as the Bible verse I quoted at the top of this blog says we will?

Or, as my sister said when we were talking about this over the weekend, will it take another 9/11 to unite this country? It’s so sad that it takes a horrific tragedy to bring us together, to help us understand that all of us are more alike than we are different.

Are we headed down THAT path? I certainly hope not.

No quick fix

What, then, will it take for the United States of America to live up to its name?

First, both sides must agree that this issue is worth solving.

The Civil War in the 1860s was fought over slavery, and even when the war ended, it took many decades for slavery to be abolished. Some people would say it still hasn’t been abolished completely, and I would agree with that. Legally it has, of course, but in our hearts … prejudice remains.

I’m sorry to say that. But I think it’s true.

So, I know there’s no quick fix this time either. The wolf shall live with the lamb one day. I believe that is true, even if I don’t see it happening any time soon.

Conservatives are rebelling at the liberal bent this country is following. That’s freedom of speech. They hope the pendulum of life will swing back in their direction eventually.

Will it? Can it? Should it?

I see plenty of evidence that humans (and everything else on Earth) were created by a master designer, who we call God. The designer gets to decide how his “products” are used. Ford and General Motors build cars for specific purposes; the cars themselves don’t get to decide how they are used. The driver does.

That’s the principle behind God. He sees a much bigger picture than we do:

 

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,

Or decide by what his ears hear;

But with righteousness he shall judge the poor,

And decide with equity for the meek of the earth …

  • Isaiah 11:3-4

 

What? God will not judge by the physical evidence? Ultimately, no. Since God created us, he knows our hearts, our motives, and what we will do next.

I am a very good actor. I can hide my emotions and feelings from you if I choose to do that. You can see my motives by what I say and do, but by then the deed has already been done. God knows in advance what I will do. That’s how he will judge me.

Psychologists try to understand the human mind, but they will never get it as well as the one who created the human mind does.

We are not judges

So, we need to judge carefully. At the U.S. Supreme Court and in our own lives.

That’s how we can come together as a nation. By letting God be the judge.

Not me. Not you.

Let’s talk this through. Not with anger. Not with judgment.

Both sides.

Can we do it?

 

They will not hurt or destroy

On all my holy mountain;

For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord

As the waters cover the sea.

  • Isaiah 11: 9

 

That’s the only way to make this country work. If I believe that I am right and you are wrong, and you feel the same with opposite views but identical passion, we will never unify as a nation.

Perhaps it will take a tragedy for us to understand the bigger picture.

Or, we can avoid that and choose to do the right thing.

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