This Sunday, I will begin a new sermon series for Lent. It is designed to help us break free of the fears that too often inhibit and control us. I decided that this is important because I have grown so very weary of watching politicians manipulate people by pushing their fear buttons.
The current administration just announced a new “public safety and national security” budget, which will increase military spending, and provide the funds to build a wall and hire more border patrol agents. All of this is a huge waste of money designed to enrich the corporations that Republican President General Dwight David Eisenhower tried to warn us about, what he called the “military-industrial complex.”
Violent crime, illegal immigration, and even war are at an all-time low, so why is there so much support for spending this money when our bridges are crumbling and our education system is in desperate need of help? The short answer is that our leaders, and the media they like to bash, have been relentless and successful in making us afraid, afraid of our sisters and brothers, especially those who look and believe differently than us.
I’d like to take these politicians who use fearmongering for power, and the media who use it for profit, behind the woodshed and spank them thoroughly because they are seriously destroying our culture, our country, and human lives. However, if we were honest, we would need to admit they couldn’t do any of this if there wasn’t a place in our own hearts where they can set their fear hooks.
If we weren’t secretly so prone to fear we would scorn and reject their words, laugh at them, and mobilize to repudiate their manipulation of our fellow citizens. The problem is, while we may outwardly disagree, there is a place inside of us that worries that they might be right, so we remain passive, complacent, and immobile. We post things on Facebook to ease our conscience, but we sure don’t act as though this is destroying our planet and society and violating the very core values of Jesus.
Rev. Michael Piazza