I’ve marched in 2 protest marches within 7 days. If you’d ask me to sum up why I marched, I’d say to proclaim the worth and dignity of women. Both marches gave me hope. The Women’s March on Washington renewed my hope that people (masses of people, huddled together like sardines!) are offended by morally corrupt, disrespectful attitudes and bullying. The March for Life renewed my hope that large numbers of people are not numb to the irony and tragedy of sacrificing the right to life for any other right. Both marches renewed my hope that there are great numbers of people who believe our personal choices do affect our society.
One little girl that I met on the subway, as I made my way to the Women’s March, had made a sign that summed it all up, “Treat others the way you want to be treated”.
A lot of people who are against the Women’s March on Washington have argued that those of us who are offended by Trump’s moral short comings are hypocritically offensive ourselves. I’ll admit there were some sketchy signs at the march. And, Lord knows I didn’t agree with the politics of every person in that march. However, I’ve never seen people squished together for such an extended time show such patience and consideration to one another. The predominant mood of the march was one of joy and love. The joy radiated out of a belief that people of good will can make a difference. The love radiated out of a conviction that all people are of enormous worth and deserving of respect. This was not applied to the unborn, so after accepting there is no perfect forum of expression for me, I chose to also march in the March for Life.
My experience at the March for Life was similar to the march six days earlier. There was camaraderie, respectfulness, joy and love. There were great signs. There were a few not so great signs. There were people I politically aligned with. There were people I do not politically align with. There were vast numbers of people younger than me (in their teens and in their 20’s). There was more singing than chanting. No one chose to be vulgar.
There are a lot of people who would argue that the ProLifers at this march and in general, do not spend enough time considering the needs of the women who have unwanted pregnancies. They believe that “so-called” ProLifers are only pro unborn and don’t care about life outside of the womb. What about the woman’s financial and emotional welfare? What about the massive disruption to her life? There are also a lot of people who are offended by ProLifers because of reasons that only apply to about 1% of all abortions.
It’s tempting to list my answers to the nay sayers of both marches. But if I’ve learned anything over the past year, it is that very few of us are open to truly hearing arguments against our tenaciously held convictions.
What I am interested in exploring is the notion that hypocrisy is an immovable roadblock to the dream destination of unity among American citizens. We all look through lenses, (life experiences, faith communities, personalities, families, town/city/state environments), that inform how we define truth. Even if we do have an immense amount in common we still have huge differences on what is right for our country. For instance, as a believer in Christ I have marked political disagreements with fellow Christ followers.
One thing all followers of Jesus believe is that we all fall short of the glory of God. In other words, none of us are perfect. We believe all of us make mistakes and none of us knows everything. So, why do we think everyone at these marches had to be our definition of perfect in every way? Why can’t we look at one another’s opinions having some measure of validity? Why are we so prone to throw the hypocrite accusation at those with whom we disagree and therefore throw the baby out with the bath water? What’s with our all or nothing self righteousness?
These marches have led to me making choices. I’m choosing to say no to my anger, my judgmental attitudes, my hopelessness, my fear. I’m choosing to accept the obvious: we’re all a bunch of hypocrites. And I’m choosing to acknowledge that the mass majority of us are good intentioned, lovable, hypocrites. I’m choosing love. This isn’t a once and for all choice. It’s a choice I have to make with every newscast I watch, with every social media post I read, and with every thought I entertain.
In Matthew 7:1-2 Jesus says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” He’s not telling us we shouldn’t have an opinion or hold a conviction. Heck, he gave Christians the authority “to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy”. We’re meant to fight for truth. But we better be clear about who the enemy is. It is not the lovable or not-so-lovable hypocrites around us. Nor the hypocrite that is us.
I will concede that some relationship are just not good for us. When we’re trying to get a handle on not judging them but the relationship remains toxic because they can’t or won’t stop judging us, it might be time to kindly part ways. We just can’t demand unity.
We can keep on marching! Keep on marching for the cause of love!