I had the privilege to read Ann Garrido’s latest book Let’s Talk About Truth last month and her message of examining, articulating, and challenging truth in our world has been swimming in my mind for the past few weeks. She challenges Christians to speak out in defense of truth and recognize that there is such a thing as objective truth. She posits that we should all be trying to align ourselves with the truth. In other words, our reality should try to align with objective reality.
Then I heard President Trump address Coronavirus concerns in February. “Additional cases in the United States are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover. … So, healthy people, if you’re healthy, you will probably go through a process and you’ll be fine,” he said. The implication is that if you’re not healthy, you’re not important. And I’ve heard this repeated over and over—that our students aren’t in danger and we shouldn’t be so concerned.
Yet we are concerned about our students serving as vectors (meaning that our students are going to spread), not as much as victims. Here is a great article about whether closing schools helps contain pandemics. We need to be concerned about all members of our community and closing our schools can help to flatten the curve and protect all our citizens.
My concern is that we are allowing people to become dehumanized. We can now include the elderly and sick with immigrants, non-Americans, and the disabled. We cannot allow this to continue. Every person has dignity and worth. This is our truth and we need to work to align our current political reality with this truth.
Why are we not speaking out? I think the reason can be found not in Garrido’s book but in a NCR interview with Bishop John Michael Botean of the Romanian Catholic Eparchy of St. George’s. Bishop Botean alludes to the fact that to have any “leverage with the administration,” they need to support the president. Too many Catholics, including our bishops, have become enamored with the results of the current administration and fail to question the false statements and outrageous and un-Christian comments. The ends don’t justify the means.
Garrido’s book provides a framework for understanding truth and calling one to action. Jesus spoke out for the marginalized, he didn’t further marginalize the neglected. And then I ran into a LinkedIn post by Lizanne Pando, the current President of St. Hubert School for Girls. Lizanne was celebrating her daughter’s acceptance to college. Jenna, who has Down Syndrome, was accepted to a college program. The joy on her face (pictured with her father) is a testament to the gifts and beauty of every person, not just the healthy normative types celebrated by so many in our current political climate.