“The chief of Your words is truth and forever all your righteous laws.”
Psalm 119: 160
We are appalled at the assault on our Capitol and our democracy last Wednesday. As with so many other groups, we, the undersigned of the Cape Ann Clergy condemn violence and pray for greater compassion and kindness between people despite their differences.
However, these simple and obvious sentiments are totally inadequate for this dangerous moment. This moment requires more than calls for peace, love and understanding. The physical assault on our Capitol and our democratic process is over, for now. However, the more insidious shameless assault on truth and our democracy continues unabated. The assault on the Capitol resulted in at least five deaths. The assault on truth, in trumpeting that COVID-19 is a hoax and that wearing masks and social distancing don’t matter, has killed hundreds of thousands.
The big lie at the core of the seditious insurrection last week is that “the 2020 election was stolen.” It is unacceptable for people of good faith to condemn violence and yet continue to assert without evidence that the last presidential election was stolen. There has been tremendous effort and ample opportunity to investigate these rumors. Every serious inquiry has found that they are lies. This deadly assault on truth is the cynical and corrupt strategy of those who debase our constitution in their lust for power.
That these are lies and not facts was clear from the words of the president of the United States. In attempting to overturn Georgia’s election results all he could do was ask about “rumors” and be told repeatedly that they are not true. Rumors are not facts. Repeating disproven rumors is lying.
This dangerous lie may threaten the life and wellbeing of many more than the horrifying number of unnecessary COVID deaths. As Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader said on the floor of the Senate after the violence. “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We would never see the whole nation accept an election again. Every four years would be a scramble for power at any cost.”
In case Wednesday’s events were not clear enough, “scramble for power at any cost” means violence. Elections are how we decide who will be in power. Delegitimizing elections means we will be left to decide who is in power by other means. Lies kill people. Relationships of trust at any level, individual and corporate, cannot be built on falsehoods. We must not let the love of fellow citizens or their personal kindness and positive qualities allow us to tolerate deadly lies.
We stand for love and we stand for truth. We hope that you will stand with us.
The Rev. Jim Achadinha, The Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport
Holy Family Parish-Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
The Rev. Judith Brain, Northeast Association, United Church of Christ.
The Rev. Dr. Norma Brettell, pastor, Trinity Congregational Church, UCC, Gloucester
The Rev. Eva Cameron, First Universalist Church of Essex, UUA
The Rev. Anne Deneen, New England Synod, ELCA, retired
The Rev. Michael J. Duda, First Church in Wenham, UCC
The Rev. Alice W. Erickson, United Church of Christ, retired
The Rev. Wendy Fitting, minister emeritus of the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church
Fr. Ronald J. Gariboldi, retired co-astor of Holy Family Parish, Gloucester/Rockport.
The Rev. Bret B. Hays, St. John’s Episcopal, Gloucester
The Rev. Sue Koehler-Arsenault, pastor, The Annisquam Village Church
Rabbi Steven Lewis, Temple Ahavat Achim, Gloucester
The Rev. Elsa Marshall, retired UCC minister
The Rev. Susan Moran, minister, UU Society of Rockport.
The Rev. David C. Myers, pastor, Rockport and Gloucester United Methodist churches
The Rev. Janet Parsons, Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church
The Reverends Printice and Valerie Roberts-Toler: United Methodist Church, retired
The Rev. Rona Tyndall, West Gloucester Trinitarian Church, United Church of Christ.
The Rev. Derek van Gulden, pastor, The First Congregational Church of Rockport, UCC
The Rev. Karin E. Wade, rector, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Rockport
The Rev. Luther Zeigler, interim pastor, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Gloucester
The Midweek Musings column rotates among Cape Ann clergy.