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US bishops “troubled by the violent forces” of political rhetoric

Posted on: March 17, 2016 4:47 PM
The race to the White House has generated intense political rhetoric, leading to a call from the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops to ensure those on the margins of society are protected.
Photo Credit: HarshLight / Flickr

[ACNS] The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in America has issued a unanimous “word to the church” expressing concern about the language being used in the US political season.

Would-be presidential candidates for the Republican and Democratic parties are currently criss-crossing the United States as they seek selection by their respective parties in a series of primary elections and caucuses.

In their statement, which was approved during a retreat this week at the Camp Allen Conference Centre in Navasota, Texas, the bishops say that they “reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others.”

They say: “On Good Friday the ruling political forces of the day tortured and executed an innocent man. They sacrificed the weak and the blameless to protect their own status and power. On the third day Jesus was raised from the dead, revealing not only their injustice but also unmasking the lie that might makes right.

“In a country still living under the shadow of the lynching tree, we are troubled by the violent forces being released by this season’s political rhetoric. Americans are turning against their neighbours, particularly those on the margins of society. They seek to secure their own safety and security at the expense of others. There is legitimate reason to fear where this rhetoric and the actions arising from it might take us.

“In this moment, we resemble God’s children wandering in the wilderness. We, like they, are struggling to find our way. They turned from following God and worshiped a golden calf constructed from their own wealth. The current rhetoric is leading us to construct a modern false idol out of power and privilege. We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others. No matter where we fall on the political spectrum, we must respect the dignity of every human being and we must seek the common good above all else.

“We call for prayer for our country that a spirit of reconciliation will prevail and we will not betray our true selves.”