Bicentennial+42 years & the Philadelphia 11

For better or worse, Happy Birthday, USA.

The year I was born, you celebrated your 200th birthday. You’ve had a rather interesting life since then.

I love you, USA. Because I love you, I need to tell you what has been on my heart since November, 2016. You won’t want to hear it– but oftentimes it is those who love us most who must point out self-destructive and unsafe behavior.

In July , 1976, 11 brave women were ordained to the Episcopal Priesthood. In honor of these brave woman, I’d like to recite a portion of Psalm 145, which is one of the assigned texts for today’s RCL

The LORD is just in all his ways

merciful in all his works. 

The LORD is near to all who call upon him

to all who call upon him in truth. 

It is in the spirit of these brave Episcopal women, that I step out on faith, America.

I cannot imagine the fear that those brave women felt as they stood at an altar before a bishop. It was not ” legal” for women to be ordained ; yet these women drew their strength from God– a God who calls certain people regardless of gender to Holy Orders.

God is a God of justice and mercy. Our nation’s founders knew that–and they knowingly risked their lives by affixing their names to the Declaration of Independence. The people who founded this nation were not yes-men. Rather, the United States was founded by brave people willing to risk life and limb so that they and their descendants can have a better life.

I’d like to think that the principles on which this nation was built still stand true now.  In all honesty, I see signs of a deep-seeded hatred of the “other” that has been lurking just beyond our nation’s collective conscience .

Sadly, I see signs that freedom is being stripped away from people on a daily basis.  People-of-color, immigrants  with certain skin hues, GLBT persons, and all women face the reality of losing our freedom. Immigrants, if they subscribe to a certain faith, are not permitted to enter this country legally. After what was done to the First Nations tribes by white immigrants ; don’t you find this obsession with removing ” brown people” from our midst sadly ironic?

Is it really too much to ask to let freedom ring for ALL Americans?

America, you do not have a good history of white ” settlers” relating to people-of-color. The Cherokee Trail of Tears and the trans-Atlantic slave trade are but two of the worst examples of the white supremacy which has been cleverly hidden in my lifetime. Since 2016, I have awakened to the fact that racism, heterosexism,  and misogyny have always been a part of the sociopolitical landscape.

This both angers and saddens me. Yet you ARE my nation and I know that I enjoy certain freedoms that other places cannot fathom. America– I love you enough to want you to become the best version of yourself.

Please know that I write this letter in a spirit of love and shalom.



Sarah Beth

4 July 2018


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