A couple of weeks ago when I wrote our yearly appeal letter I said, “About the best that can be said about our federal government is that it's non-functional.” Unfortunately it's become less so since then. The passage of the reverse-Robin-Hood “tax reform” bill, coupled with yesterday's Supreme Court decision allowing the “Muslim ban” to stay in effect while going through the courts, and the Administration's decision to significantly roll back preserved status for two national parks in Utah, show that however dysfunctional or threatened the federal government is, it can still do significant damage – and it will.
Every one of the actions of this government (not just the president, but Congress as well) has been immoral and contrary to the teachings of our faith traditions, which instruct us to care for the poor and disregarded, to love and protect the stranger, and to care for God's creation.
What bothers me most is how “religion” has become associated with the Trump brand. I think it's probably fair to say that in most churches in Kansas, hard-right politics is as much an article of faith as the divinity of Christ. Of course, it's not just them: the mainstream Jewish community is also being distorted by its support of Trump's line on Israel, and of course Islam has its own ongoing internal struggles. But the issue of “faith” is so twisted up in the public mind with conservative white Christianity, and conservative white Christianity has become so twisted by partisanship and enmity, that it calls religion itself into disrepute.
It seems like most people who care about the message of care and concern that is at the core of authentic expressions of religious faith have two choices: drop religion altogether, or reclaim and fight for the justice message of our traditions.
And that's the choice that we've made at Kansas Interfaith Action. We strongly believe that not only do we not have to choose between faith and working for justice, but that our faith is the motivating force behind our work for justice. We have faith that, no matter how dark things seem right now, if we work for justice, it will come.
But we need your help. We can't do it without you. Sometimes we need you to come to an action, or to make a phone call or write and email. But right now, we need your financial support.
KIFA is a very small organization that, to be honest, has been pretty hand-to-mouth so far. I believe we've had an impact far beyond our small size and limited finances, but it hasn't been easy. We do it because we believe that KIFA has a unique role to play in the life of Kansas and the US – as witness to, as force for, the application of our time-honored and (allow me to say) holy values to the life of our state, and our country.
And that's never been more important than it is right now, in these dark hours.
With your help, KIFA will be able to keep putting faith into action in 2018.
Thanks very much.