I trusted the voice of my father. He was a man of few words who never sang in church, but he could recognize the atonal notes of a lie like someone with perfect pitch and he had no time for the people who told them. He lived by the rules of his heart, while I watched. From him I learned that strength and honesty walk hand in hand, that humility and compassion are never signs of weakness and that a man is only as good as his word. Daddy could say both "I love you" and "I'm sorry" without losing an ounce of his pride. His voice was underscored by his integrity, it was consistent and unwavering and, consequently, I trusted it. I listen to that voice even now, though it's been ten years since I heard it outside of my dreams.
Despite the cacophony of sounding brass and tinkling cymbals aloft in the air today, the silence is deafening. So many voices have been sacrificed for political expediency and can never be trusted again. Men who once proudly stood beneath the red, white and blue banner of "family values" now clump together in a frayed knot of self-righteousness, weakly defending their new holy policy of justification and end result. But the curtain has been lifted. It is now apparent that the outrage they once spewed at the slightest perceived infraction was only a theatrical act. How long will it take them to realize that their voices have forever been muted by their own hypocrisy?
Many people of faith feel like they're living in exile because American Christianity is no longer known to champion the words of Christ. By aligning itself with the vile and indecent its voice has reduced to a whisper. By linking arms with the National Rifle Association (from whom we are told guns are our "god-given right"), it has muddied the truth with an ignoble cause. It has looked away while the murdered are ignored, the survivors slandered. We have listened for its outrage as the poor have been denigrated, both in speech and in policy, and heard nary a word. While the immigrant is demonized in direct contradiction to the call of Scripture, it has stood by in a silence seen as tacit approval by many. Kindness and compassion? Decency? Beauty? Love? All have been devalued by a misguided agenda that has far overshadowed the bright light of Truth. How long will it take those aboard this off-course ship to notice no one on shore hears their voice any longer?
These are the days we never expected, the days we thought gone for good. These are the days that can break a person, even a person of faith. I have watched those I once admired either goosestep their way down a path I find reprehensible or choose instead to prioritize their own contentment, riveting their eyes heavenward and refusing to stand in the way of the lies currently prostituting the very faith they profess to follow, the very country they profess to love.
We Americans have always been proud of our spunk. If we think we are right, we will go it alone if we have to, make no mistake. For generations we have stood as a beacon of hope and justice in a fractured world. With all of our faults, and we have them, we have generally been looked to as a people of compassion who have at least the desire for good. This reputation is now in peril. Yet there remain those amongst us who continue to shake their fists in the air, determined to defy the world if they must, not in defense of the good but in a defiant embrace of what they themselves would once have deemed downright ugly. Our pride is being used against us by a man devoid of the most basic of decent human qualities, a man more than willing to break us into a million pieces for his own gain.
How many lies does it take to lose a voice?
One? One thousand?
Two? Two thousand?
How long will it take us to realize we're rapidly losing our own?