mercredi, janvier 03, 2007

A President and The Great Commandment

"In his homily, Episcopal minister Robert G. Certain touched on the fractious debate in the church over homosexual relationships, and said Ford thought the issue should not be splitting Episcopalians. Certain was Ford's pastor at St. Margaret's Church in Palm Desert, Calif.
"He asked me if we would face schism after we discussed the various issues we would consider, particularly concerns about human sexuality and the leadership of women," Certain said. "He said that he did not think they should be divisive for anyone who lived by the great commandments and the great commission to love God and to love neighbor" The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 3, 2006
President Gerald Ford, who died last week, seems like an anachronism in our age of "take no prisoner politics." He was, according to those who knew him well, an unassuming, decent man with a deep desire to bring healing to a country that was mired in the legacy of a failed war and a conspiracy, Watergate, driven by paranoia and fear. A man of great courage, a Yale graduate and a football hero, Jerry Ford was a public servant in a way that seems old-fashioned in these years of destructive Congressional partisanship. Although it has now become obvious. for example, that he disapproved of President Bush's invasion of Iraq, he chose not to speak out while he was alive-but seems to have been aware of the need to set the historical record straight. His pardon of President Nixon is still controversial in a nation which reveres justice and the rule of law-but it is evident that the man who did it was impelled by a strong sense that he was called to model forgiveness to a nation that sorely needed to experience cleansing. It was wonderful to see President Carter give a eulogy in Michigan today before Gerald Ford was laid to rest near his Presidential Library. Carter and Ford remind us that finding common ground with those across the political aisle strengthens this country when it is rent by division. But, as Carter showed us this afternoon when he echoed the words above, they also show us something else-that it is possible to be a professing Christian and a politician without becoming an exhibitionist or a partisan. Ford's words about his denomination, the Episcopalians, might seem very naive to those who have taken sides on the left or the right of this ruinous campaign for victory in the great Anglican shell game. But, in the most basic sense, he and Carter are absolutely correct-if we loved each other, and God, with humility and trust, we would not be so divided. One of the saddest things about the ongoing friction in the Episcopal Church is that it would be extremely unlikely, under these conditions, to produce another Gerald Ford-the country's good servant, to paraphrase Sir Thomas More-but God's first.

3 commentaires:

Salin Low a dit…

Well said. Gerald Ford may have personified the Episcopal Church of 1976 as he personified the U.S. of that time -- both of which have been rent asunder by partisanship.

Offcenter a dit…

Hey there, Salin!

How awesome to hear from you. I suppose we are in some kind of historical crucible-I guess we are fortunate not to be burning one another at the stake. Doesn't feel fun, though, does it?


Catherine + a dit…

A truly excellent piece, Elizabeth+!

I do agree with many who have commented during this last week that this country does need a Gerald Ford once again...and since I believe in miracles, it could happen. I would not be surprised if some of the announced candidates for 2008 start acting or emulating him, though the likes of Mitt Romney will never stand up to the dignity and fairness of President Ford.