Today was a dismal day for American democracy.
Much like a tinpot dictatorship, America experienced what can only be described as an attempted coup. Egged on by Donald Trump‘s ugly, reckless rhetoric, today’s storming of the Capitol carried with it shades of the infamous Beerhall Putsch, which brought the Nazis to power.
What lessons can be derived from today?
There are many, but one is that what we say matters.
Words can and do cause lasting harm.
In that regard, Grace Episcopal Alexandria and its so-called leadership are every bit as culpable as Donald Trump. Specifically, the shameful lies and rhetoric from perjuring priest Bob Malm and Sugarland Chiow, with their claims that blogging is “domestic terrorism,” that Malm has been “stalked” and more, are unconscionable.
They are un-Christian.
They are wrong.
And just as Donald Trump’s words led to violence and death, so too has the rhetoric from Grace Episcopal Alexandria produced predictable results. It is language like this that led, for example, to a member of the parish urging me to commit suicide.
The same is true for the church’s actions. Does anyone believe that the church’s efforts to drag my mother, dying of COPD, into court doesn’t send a message to others? Or that the fabrications of Sugarland Chiow and Bob Malm don’t encourage others to act similarly?
As for those who have acted as enablers — including members of the vestry, other clergy, the staff at Mayo House, and members who provide financial support for this sort of conduct — they are just as responsible as those who directly acted improperly. That mirrors the situation in the White House, where staff, members of Congress, and the neo-con media made today possible.
One cannot turn a blind eye to misconduct, or give the money that makes it possible, without sharing in the culpability.
And for the record, blogging peacefully about an abusive church is not “domestic terrorism.”
Members of the church should be shamed and outraged at the church’s conduct.
It is time for Grace Episcopal to grow a backbone, act like adults, and publicly repudiate its ugly rhetoric.