By the Rt. Rev. Michael Hunn
Part of my job as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande, a diocese of the Episcopal Church consisting of the state of New Mexico and Far West Texas, is to spread the Good News of God in Christ to all. That means speaking the truth, and working for justice, peace, and unity — not just in the church but in the world.
I offer these thoughts in that spirit.
First, truth matters. The Bible commands us not to bear false witness, not to lie. This also means we can’t sit silently while someone is telling lies.
Think about the seatbelts in your car. It’s possible to have differences of opinion. Some folks love the additional feeling of connection and security that seatbelts provide, others may think they are restricting and uncomfortable. That’s a difference of opinion. But to say that “wearing a seatbelt is dangerous — I don’t wear one and you shouldn’t either!” — that’s bearing false witness.
To give those opinions a microphone is to bear false witness. To stay silent in the face of a lie is to bear false witness.
This election was NOT stolen. To pretend otherwise is an attack on democracy and a lie. In every village town and city, county and state, bipartisan groups of people who love this country administer our elections. The results are certified at every level. This is a fact. To say otherwise is to bear false witness.
Our republic is a government by, of, and for the people! Our elections ensure that our government is accountable to us. The solution to the division of this moment is not more demonization and division, but more democracy.
We keep our officials accountable by being involved, not by resorting to violence or destruction. To say that some sinister cabal has taken the rightful power from the hands of the people is a lie. And to propagate conspiracy is to bear false witness.
My final point is this: the lies we have been told have consequences, and truth will set us free.
There are many people in the United States who feel disenfranchised. They aren’t disenfranchised— the majority of them voted— their candidate just lost.
We must insist that losing an election is not being disenfranchised. The losing team in the Super Bowl loses, it doesn’t mean they weren’t on the field.
It’s a horrible thing to feel like you don’t count, to feel like no one is listening or fighting for you. We have seen that sentiment take to the streets in countless ways, at countless times over the past year in our country, and in our streets in El Paso, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe, and we saw it Wednesday in D.C.
The healing of communities, the reconciliation of neighbors will require repentance and amendment of life. It will require us to tell the truth, and not bear false witness.
We will come at the truth from different perspectives. We won’t always agree. But if we love one another as Jesus taught us, if we listen to one another, if we confess our sins and forgive one another, if we act with humility not arrogance, seeking to serve not to be served, seeking the truth not claiming ownership of it, if we’re willing to lose the argument as long as what’s best for the people happens, then we will find common ground on which to stand.
And we will stand there together in truth and love as one beloved community which is God’s will for us and not for us only but for the whole world.
The Rt. Rev. Michael Hunn serves as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande, made up of 49 Episcopal Churches accross New Mexico and Far West Texas.
Cover photo of the Rt. Rev. Michael Hunn courtesy of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande.