There’s a scene in Die Hard where terrorists have taken over the top floor of a LA high rise and are holding a bunch of people hostage. John McClane (Bruce Willis), has been in the thick of what has been going on and trying to get anyone else outside the building to notice.
A single police officer drives up way down below, takes a cursory look around and is about to drive off – completely ignorant of the crisis -- when McClane realizes he has to do something crazy to get his attention. So he takes the body of one of the terrorists he has killed, throws it out the window and it lands on the hood of the officer’s car. Instantly, the officer knows all is not well – especially when the terrorists open fire on the police car. (Check out the scene clip below, but, you know, trigger warning)
And McClane, in wonderful Bruce Willis fashion, yells down at him:
“Welcome to the party, pal!”
Welcome to the party, pal! That’s how I feel about the Episcopal House of Bishops' “Word to the Church” that came out yesterday.
It’s a great letter. (Click here to read it)
It names the crucifixion of Jesus as state terrorism.
It talks about how we are still “living under the shadow of the lynching tree” and about how we “seek to secure our own safety and security at the expense of others.”
I agree with pretty much everything in this word – except the tense our bishops use throughout.
They talk about a developing situation.
They talk about “violent forces being released by this season’s political rhetoric.”
That “Americans are turning against their neighbors, particularly those on the margins of society."
That “the current rhetoric is leading us to construct a modern false idol out of power and privilege.”
Like all this is somehow something new.
Like this somehow hasn’t happened yet, but we fear it might.
Like violent forces, people turning against their neighbors and us worshipping a false idol of power and privilege hasn’t been happening all along – just because some of us are only now beginning to notice. Just because it is only now happening at rallies for a major party’s frontrunner for president. Just because it is only now CNN Breaking News.
Welcome to the party, pal!
As pastor Traci Blackmon says, “Trump isn’t the tree, he’s the fruit.” And he and what is happening around him is just the latest fruit of a tree that has roots older than our Republic itself.
Our bishops have wonderfully said:
“We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others.”
Welcome to the party, pal!
We have a system of policing where, as Professor John A. Powell says, “the role of the police is to contain the black community, to keep white people safe from the black community.” (watch the video above)