Thursday, August 5, 2010


Memory is a terrible thing to waste. I have just returned from Israel. It was a brief visit, but long enough to get a sense of the country and the concerns of the people. It is not Eden and the nation is not perfect. A common concern among Israelis was that their best friends, the American people and the American government, were forgetting them. Many Americans do not realize the reality that shapes Israel: 36 million Arabs, many of whom will not acknowledge their right to exist, surrounding 5.4 million Jews. That is an unknown fact for many; it is not a forgotten fact.

What has been forgotten is the Shoah, the Holocaust. Israel was founded on a wave of repulsion at what had been seen in the death camps. People remembered and acted. Today there are those who have forgotten and there are those who are intellectually challenged who think it never happened. Israel looks ahead to peace, but it also does not forget. Their neighbors remind them from time to time with rockets aimed at civilians that forgetting is perilous.

Yesterday a judge in California ruled that the ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional. The case will continue through the court system with judges responding to the notion that the values of marriage may be shared between partners of the same sex. Today the cries of judge made law are heard. The will of the people who voted against same sex marriages was cited as of more importance than the rights of a few.

Forget that the best way to strengthen the institution of marriage is to better educate those who wish to marry about the values and virtues of the institution. Remember that Americans would not have ended racial segregation without being told to do so by those who held to higher moral standards and those who interpreted the law as serving all people in our nation. Look ahead and understand that health care for all makes us a better and healthier people. Sometimes we need to hear what needs to be done even if it pushes us beyond our comfort zone. This is especially true when there are those who play on our fears and exploit them. When folk have to resort to lies to make their point there is something terribly wrong. Just ask Shirley Sherrod.

Memory is the key. We know where we have walked and by the grace of God we have a chance to be better. Let us not forget.