07 December 2007

The Poetry and Righteous Anger

"True religion will not let us fall asleep in the comfort of our freedom. 'Love thy neighbor' is not a piece of advice, it's a command."

I saw a well-written and well-delivered speech yesterday on faith in America. Everyone else is writing about it so I won't bother. That speech reminded me of this one, which I searched for and found on YouTube last night. The video is a bit long (the speech begins about four minutes into the video) but the speech has an incredibly powerful ending.

I have to admit one of the coolest things I did working for Senator Kennedy was staff him when Bono came to visit. Bono was looking for advice on getting other Senators to support efforts to prevent disease in Africa. Bono was visibly tired that day but I was impressed with his sincerity, his humility, his gratitude, and his knowledge of the topic. He mentioned his faith that day as a motivating force in his life.

And I'm still moved by his words.

And to those in the church who still sit in judgement on the AIDS emergency, let me climb into the pulpit for just one moment. Because whatever thoughts we have about God who he is, or even if God exists, most will agree that God has a special place for the poor.

The poor are where God lives. God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is where the opportunity is lost and lives are shattered. God is with the mother who has infected a child with a virus that will take both their lives. God is under the rubble in the cries we hear during wartime. God, my friends, is with the poor, and God is with us if we are with them.
I will always support the separation of church and state. I worry that some people still use religion as a wedge and see government as a tool to impose their religious will on others. But faith is still what motivates many of us to do the right thing. There's nothing wrong with having it.


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