Letter: Don't buy hate-mongers' attacks on Farley-Bouvier
To the editor:
As clergy colleagues united in a quest for compassion and right relations in this community, we were dismayed to see yet another attack on state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier mailed to our neighbors under the banner of the ultra-conservative Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. Using quotes from a stealth hate group, the Federation of American Immigration Reform, we were encouraged to throw gasoline on the fire of fear among some white residents of Berkshire County and demonize hard-working sisters and brothers from foreign lands at a time when America needs healing.
Last Tuesday's election in Alabama, however, suggests that now is the time for people of good will to come together and strengthen the American dream for everyone. Yes, we are polarized. To be sure, there is anger in the air. But this election points to the staying power of America's best angels in our commitment to equal opportunity in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. There is new light shining into our darkness as Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and atheists work towards a common dream that will repair our cultural breach.
Rep. Farley-Bouvier stands in solidarity with all of Berkshire County — not a privileged few — and we pledge to have her back. Let us not forget during a climate when women are speaking out against injustices that have been committed against them, that we too as clergy must speak up for women supporting the rights of those who may not be able to speak for themselves or are marginalized. Rep. Farley-Bouvier must not be attacked for giving voice to the cries of the voiceless.
As clergy — black and white, male and female, Baptist and Congregational — this is the time to call out the hate-mongers who profit at another's suffering. It is the hour to say a bold "NO!" to those would exploit our anxieties. So we stand firmly with others in the Abrahamic faith tradition who worship the God who hears the cries of the oppressed and leads them into freedom. We honor the core of Christ's testimony shortly before he died on the Cross, too: "When did we see Thee, Lord and feed Thee or cloth Thee or shelter Thee? Whenever you did this unto one of the least of these, my sisters and brothers, you did so unto me." (St. Matthew 25).
We seek to solidify all that is good, true, noble and pure in our home. Let us not be confused by cynical political operatives with deep pockets outside of the Berkshires. Rather, let us stand united for the well-being of all who make the Berkshires their home.
The Rev. Shelia Sholes-Ross,
The Rev. Dr. James Lumsden,
The Rev. Shelia Sholes-Ross is pastor of the First Baptist Church and the Rev. Dr. James Lumsden is pastor, First Church of Christ, Congregational.
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