Treat others like we would like to be treated…?

These last few days I’ve seen a couple of stories that I think have important lessons.

The first ones are deeply disturbing to me…personally as well as a follower of Jesus (who told us to treat others as we would like to be treated!). A Christian homeless shelter in Alaska is suing for the right to deny shelter to a transgender woman. Really?? Yes, they had the right to turn her away under the rules for everyone when she turned up drunk once and after hours another time. But now they are saying that even if she obeys the rules, they would not allow her a safe place from the cold?

Then–as Congress tries to deal with another major stain from our past with the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act–these “followers” are demanding that protections for LGBTQ people be removed from the Act before passage. Really?? As if it isn’t bad enough that over 4,500 people (mostly African-American) were lynched between 1882 and 1968 (that recently!), now this group is saying that another group of minorities who face significant threats of physical danger shouldn’t also be legally protected?

Whatever happened to actually living out beliefs? To actually following the example of the one whose name is being claimed? the one who said that the two most important spiritual laws were to obey God with everything we have in us and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves? If I look at how some of those who say they follow Jesus treat their neighbors, I think they must not love themselves very much.

But then there’s this story. A homeless man–yes, a man who has had run-ins with the legal system–saw people getting stuck on their way to the Chiefs playoff game last weekend. While he and his fiancée are living in his car–a car whose windows were broken and did little to keep out the cold air–he saw people in need and helped them.

What he didn’t know was that one of those he helped pull out was a Chiefs player who was going to be in the game. He wasn’t expecting any response other than a “thank you”…but now, a Chiefs fan who has never been to a game is going to get to go to the Chiefs playoff game against Indianapolis and take his fiancée. And a company that works on car windows has replaced the three broken windows for him.

When he was interviewed about his helping out the Chiefs player as he was helping others, his response was this: “I just looked at him like a normal person. I would hope that he would do the same for me as I did for him.”

So…when Jesus told the story about the Good Samaritan (the man who treated a wounded man after two other religious leaders left the wounded man by the side of the road), he closed it by asking “Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?” To paraphrase it today–which of these stories shows someone being a true neighbor? And which one do each one of us truly relate to?

Don’t Patronize Me

Let me say up front that I am an independent voter who has tended to vote Democrat over the last several years, but this presidential election is going to be history-making no matter who wins.

I listened to Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech because I wanted to hear what she had to say–and how she would say it. And my reaction? Don’t patronize me!

I have no problem with understanding that vice presidential candidates tend to be the “attack dogs” of the party in an election campaign. And I also understand that both parties tend to stretch their interpretations of facts and decisions. I check out what both parties say at sites like FactCheck.org.

But I do not appreciate derision directed toward those who have tried to help individuals who have lost jobs through no fault of their own.

I do not like statements that focus on those things that divide us–that break open cultural divisions–rather than looking for those things that we have in common and ways in which we can work together.

I think it is false “advertising” to imply (for example) that she sold the executive jet on eBay (rather than acknowledging that it had to be sold through an airplane broker)…to imply that her decision was the reason the “bridge to nowhere” was cancelled and that Alaska received no monetary gain (when Congress had already pretty well finished cancelling it–and Alaska kept the millions of dollars)…to claim that the other party has done nothing of substance legislatively (when Obama has reached across the aisle to create some significant legislation–including some major ethics reform).

I am one of those “older white women” who tends to be independent in my voting that McCain would need to reach to win. But if he thinks he can get my vote by nominating Sarah Palin as vice-president…nope.

Would I like to have a woman in one of the highest offices in the land? You bet.

But do I think Sarah Palin is the best choice? Nope. And to claim that she has more experience than Obama…or that the whole experience issue now is a non-issue…that feels like the Republicans are saying that I’ll go ahead and vote for them just because they’ve got a woman on the ticket.

Well…sorry, folks. If you had someone on there who was principled, who could give me specifics, whom I felt I could trust…I might consider it. But as it is, I feel like you’re patronizing me–and all that accomplishes is to get my dander up.

McCain-Palin? Nope.