I’ve said before that I think Fred Clark of Slacktivist is the very best blogger writing about religion and politics in America today. It’s not even close. His recent series on things the government ought to be doing to help the economy is also outstanding– that link goes to the most recent, and you can check my Links dump posts for most of the rest of the series.
I end up tagging a lot of his posts for the Links Dumps, but he’s good enough that every now and then I feel I need to give him a little more prominence. His Wednesday post is one that deserves more. He describes two occasions where communities were asked to respond to hateful acts, the first a nasty resolution against homosexuality when he was an intern at a Baptist convention:
The debate had the air of a witch hunt. I wanted to be elsewhere. I wanted to say something, but it wasn’t my place or my role there to speak and I wouldn’t have known what to say anyway.
So the day of the big vote I made an armband with a pink triangle on it and tied it to my sleeve. No one asked me what it meant, and I’m not sure how I would have answered if they had. I went about my intern business, making copies and distributing folders as the final debate on the resolution proceeded and no one said anything to me about it all day.
Well, almost no one. Coming back from lunch, I held open the door to the Charleston, W.Va., convention center for a group of delegates walking behind me. One woman smiled and started to say thank you, then suddenly puckered up into a scowl and just sort of grunted before pointedly walking to the other set of doors. By that point I’d forgotten I was even wearing the armband and it took me a moment to figure out what I’d done to offend her.
That one ends badly, as you can probably guess. But he follows it up with a story about a recent outbreak of anti-semitism in Montana, and the way that community responded. Which is the kind of thing that reminds you that as mean and petty and short-sighted as we can be, humans are capable of a lot more. As lunatic as our political culture often seems, there are still events like this that make it worth saving.