There is so much information in our world today, it's hard to know what is real information, what is misinformation and what is disinformation. To deal with the ever-increasing volume of data, we often look to other people or institutions to determine how to process the information. This is particularly true in politics and news, which have become more and more partisan. This allows us to process information quickly, with the underlying belief that we are right. This is heightened when politics crosses into other parts of our lives, such as religion, that hold great meaning for us.
Every so often, we realize that those on whom we rely might not be so reliable. We shift our perspective, gain new information and often attempt to think independently. If we allow ourselves to question our beliefs, or the institutions or people in whom we normally put our faith, then we have to spend enormous energy thinking. And let's face it -- thinking is hard.
Last week, Bible study leader Beth Moore, who has taught millions of women in various Bible studies, announced to Religion News Service that she was leaving the Southern Baptist Convention. "I am still a Baptist," she said, "but I can no longer identify with Southern Baptists." Moore has been struggling publicly with her place in the SBC during the past few years. She was disappointed that evangelicals did not express outrage over the transcripts of former President Donald Trump's "Access Hollywood" tapes. "The disorientation of this was staggering," she said. While she understood the importance and supported Trump's pro-life stance, she "felt like we had landed on Mars."
On our southern border, "more than 3,200 unaccompanied migrant children were in Customs and Border Protection custody, according to the documents dated Monday," wrote Priscilla Alvarez and Kaitlan Collins for CNN this week in an article titled "Record number of kids are in Border Patrol custody and shelter beds are scarce, documents show." The documents were from the Department of Homeland Security. The treatment of children at the border led to much criticism of Trump's border policy. How could he allow such a thing; wasn't it heartless and proof of his inability to be our president?
"Less than a week ago, there were around 1,700 children in Border Patrol custody," Alvarez and Collins wrote. The number has almost doubled in the past week. This is the highest number ever of children being held, according to DHS. This is a crisis that would have been front and center if Trump were still president.
This week, the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats, passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. Judi Ketteler, a writer and self-proclaimed Biden supporter, wrote "I backed Biden and the Democrats. But their pro-union bill could kill my career" for NBC this week. "Right now, my party is pushing a bill called the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or the PRO Act, in an ostensible bid to help gig workers exploited by employers who won't give them health care coverage and other benefits," wrote Ketteler. "The bill could end my ability to be my own boss, set my own hours and otherwise live the American worker's dream."
"The man I prayed would become president," she wrote, "could sign a piece of legislation that would kill my career as a freelance writer." Ketteler is working hard to kill the bill. She probably feels like she has landed on Mars.
My point is that neither party is perfect, nor is any person. If you are trying to find a perfect party or a perfect person, then you will be waiting forever, or deluding yourself. We have to move from "me good, you bad" or "my group good, your group bad" to finding something that we can work toward improving together.
We are all on Mars, or most of us feel that way. To get back to Earth, we have to do the hard work of thinking. Thinking shows us that simplistic answers are rarely the right answers. If we think, then we understand that we can be in a group and not agree with everything that the group does or says. If we go along with everything -- we are probably not thinking. We have to learn to grow up, not worry so much about what people think of us and reach out to those who are willing to do the hard work to improve the things we care the most about. No matter their religion or their political party.