The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson ACA repeal bill is the most radical and most disruptive plan to reorder one-sixth of the U.S. economy, in no small part due to the rush to pass something, anything that would fulfill the 7-year Republican promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare” ahead of a critical Sept. 30 deadline this Saturday. On Oct. 1 a new fiscal year starts for the U.S. government, forcing the GOP to start over with the complex budget maneuvering that allows them to pass a bill with only 50 votes in the Senate rather than the 60 that are generally required.
The remarkably human and loving response to imperiled neighbors in Houston stands in stark contrast against the hateful racial ugliness that paraded through the streets of Charlottesville earlier in the month as angry white supremacists — KKK, Neo Nazis, “alt-right” members — marched publicly and proudly without sheets shouting anti-black and anti-Semitic assaults, and ultimately led to the death of Heather Heyer. The lighted torches, fear, hate, and violence of Charlottesville was such a shameful juxtaposition to the self-sacrificial love and service across racial lines that the disasters caused by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey evoked from people.
Donald Trump’s fueling of racial fear and hate is being played out in our nation’s policies. Incredibly, Trump even justified the Arpaio pardon by saying it got high “ratings” from his constituency. He ran on a platform of anti-immigrant hostility — much like Arpaio — and his base is expecting him to deliver. And now 800,000 lives hang in the balance.
What now? Where do churches go from here? Here are five initial thoughts I would like to share, knowing the answer isn’t simple — it will take our collective discernment from the whole diversity of our churches to continue addressing our post-Charlottesville way forward.