"Then in a gentle clear voice, Mrs. Regina Spiegel told us how it had been for her family in the time of the Kristallnacht. she had been 13 years old when it all began. Before the Holocaust ended, her mother, father, three sisters, a nephew, and a brother had perished in the death camp Treblinka. She herself had done slave labor, imprisoned in both Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz. Of all she and her family endured, she said, 'The hardest thing was that our neighbors turned on us. If we had only had neighbors like you, whose churches exhort you to care and speak up for your neighbors, these terrible things could not have happened.' Her words remain with me, prompting a hope and a question. How I hope Mrs. Spiegel is right, but I wonder, would we choose to know? To act? To love our neighbors as ourselves? Are we choosing that now?"
James L. Griffith, Melissa Elliott Griffith, Encountering the Sacred In Psychotherapy, p. 12
As I watch what is going on in Arizona and other states I wonder too along with the Griffiths how we will act. What kind of a people us Unitarian Universalists will turn out to be. Will we really Stand On The Side Of Love or will we join the chauvinistic ranks who want to protect what they believe is theirs for themselves alone?
We live in difficult economic times when the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the middle class is significantly shrinking. We watch our Federal and State governments becoming corrupted with corporate money and interests which leaves the average citizen marginalized and impotent in influencing governmental decisions.
Is the Arizona law scapegoating Latinos America's Kristallnacht?
We as Unitarian Universalists pay lip service to our first principle of believing in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, but we live among millions of people who don't believe that and certainly don't behave in that way. We live in a world of dog eat dog where I need guns to protect what is mine and you will be excluded and alienated from my zone of safety so I can feel secure.
I believe that the Arizona phenomenon should be encapsulated and excised as one would a cancerous tumor in the body politic. If surgery is not possible, chemotherapy and radiation may have to be applied in hopes of shrinking the tumor. There already is a threat of metastases to other parts of the country as other states consider similar laws.
The cancerous cells comprising the tumor must be starved and we do that by boycott. The toxic cells need to be radiated by the light of spiritual soulforce which shines its attention on evil and confronts its destruction until in shrinks away in shame, defeated.
Does Unitarian Universalism have the soulforce to confront evil as Mrs. Spiegel expects? I see us wavering. I see us wanting to discuss the pros and cons. I see us wanting to justify oppression and subjugation as a means to purifying the quality of citizenry in Arizona. Some of God's children do not deserve to be here and they have crossed the line of privilege to our horror.
There is a cancer in our national soul. Unless we clearly diagnose and treat it, it will kill us.