Words, Actions and Truth Matter

The killing of two black men in Baton Rouge and Minnesota by police followed by the killing of 5 Dallas police officers led to endless words on social media. The words of Mayor Rawlings and Dallas’ elected officials, Police Chief Brown, police officials and leaders of various protest groups were respectful and healing as they told stories about the officer’s lives and praised them for their dedication. Interfaith religious leaders spoke and prayed at the various prayer vigils in Dallas urging unity and peace. Governor Gregg Abbott attended a memorial in physical pain and his words were consoling and well received. President George Bush used his words to praise Dallas PD and urge unity. President Obama’s words during his visit here were eloquent, and tinged with sadness and a steely resolve.

Lt Governor, Dan Patrick used his words to call those who ran from the shooter “hypocrites”. Those of us attending the Rockwall prayer service to remember fallen officers and to show support for the police heard Senator Bob Hall pray to “return our country to Jesus Christ”. Hall stated that “America is a Christian county that lost its moral compass in the 1960’s.” To my knowledge, there were no inter-faith ministers present.

#Actions Matter
After the Dallas shooting, Dallas Police Chief David Brown invited people to take action. He asked people to get off the protest lines and join the police force to effect the change they wanted. Dallas PD has received a number of applications from those who acted on his invitation. President Obama established a nationwide conversation. Leaders and the public were invited to come together to listen to each other in order to take action on the issues of race and policing that are boiling over in America. These conversations are ongoing.

In other actions, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Senator Bob Hall are crafting a bill for the next Legislative session intended to repeal the civil rights of the LGBTQ community and harm the most vulnerable in that community; transgender children and adults. His bill has much of the same language and intent as North Carolina’s HB 2, known as the “potty bill” which is costing NC millions of dollars in lost convention revenue. The ordinance proposed by the Mayor of the City of Rockwall, Jim Pruitt had much of the same intent and language. Citizens of Rockwall and members of the City Council Council acted to defeat that ordinance. There are presently hundreds of businesses and LGBTQ allies coming together to take on the Texas Legislature in 2017.

Truth can be defined as a statement about the way the world actually is. Truth is congruent; it fits the facts. Truth is internally consistent; its parts fit together. Truth is coherent; it confirms established knowledge. Truth is useful; it organizes our thought and practice so we can handle reality and enables us to make good choices. As humankind evolves, human knowledge grows as a result of discoveries and developments in science, technology, ecology, psychology, sociology. New facts lead to new realities which invite us to make different choices.
Truth is also personal. I am a white, female raised in the south. I come from a very religious family. I have been a wife, and I am a mother and grandmother. I have a graduate education in theology and was an educator and a minister prior to retiring. I have also known loss and grief in my lifetime and have seen changes in our world that I could not image when I was a child. This is my worldview which gives me a set of lenses through which to see and relate to the world. As a Southern white woman, there are racial biases in my worldview. Knowing and acknowledging my biases allows me to own and name them so they do not control my actions when relating to others. People who are stuck in their worldview do not see and own their biases. Their words and actions are often racist and regressive, backward and reactionary.

Regarding recent killings in America: Black and Brown people are treated differently by some some bad actors on the police force. Police who protect us deserve respect. We can hold these both of these ideas at the same time because facts support them to be true.

Regarding the words and actions of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, State Representative Bob Hall and other Republican leaders and their proposed legislative action against the LGBTQ community. Their words and actions seem to indicate that they are are stuck in an idealized past that does not see the reality of America. America is multicultural. Diversity is celebrated not feared. America espouses a secular system of government respectful of the many world religions practiced by its citizens. Equality under the law is meant for everyone. Their legislation is based in ideology and not in fact. In other words, their words and actions do not reflect the truth.

This post was written by
County Chair
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