It might be the Christmas season, but the ugliness of our national discourse has cast a shadow on the occasion.

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove wisely wrote recently:

… many Christian sisters and brothers who worry about losing their identity in a pluralistic society call us to “Put the Christ back into Christmas.” But we cannot forget the material reality of Christ’s life among us here on earth. Jesus was a brown-skinned baby, born in occupied territory, threatened by the mass-murder of a puppet-King who felt his power threatened. Those who want to hear the glad tidings of “peace on earth, good will to all people” this year should challenge our political leaders to put the refugee Jesus back into Christmas.

Instead, we are turning on the “least of these” in ways too numerous.

Muslim refugees fleeing Syria have become political fodder as the presidential primaries near. Islamic Americans have also come under attack — with their values and patriotism questioned. Those that call this way of hatred to account themselves become targets. Just ask The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, who wrote a bold and truthful column in which he said: “Let’s not mince words: Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist.” The reaction was Trump supporters was swift:

“[Trump] may well be a bigot and a racist,” one Michael Banfield wrote me via email. “But one thing is certain: The only thing missing from your photo is a [vulgar word for penis] in your mouth, gay bastard.”

Various Trump defenders derided Muslims as “Muzzies” and “Mo-slimes.” One reader informed me that “Muslims worship a man who f—– a 9-year-old.” They spoke of the “sociopath Hussein” — President Obama — and his “Islamic butt buddies.” But mostly they zeroed in on my Judaism, which they discovered from Internet searches. “You are a kike communist,” one informed me. Another called my girlfriend, who has a common Jewish surname, a “Gross Jewess.” Still another sent me a Nazi-style cartoon of a big-nosed Jewish man with a skull cap and bad teeth.

We soon celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace who when asked what the greatest commandment was replied:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

In good news fit for the times, world leaders meeting in Paris have adopted a plan to combat climate change. Pope Francis and other world religious leaders have endorsed the plan and called on nations to follow it. We cannot claim to love our neighbors if we do not take care of God’s creation. Still, many Congressional leaders and presidential candidates have said they will work to undermine the Paris accord. In doing so, they fail the test of love that Jesus set forth as the most important article of faith. These leaders are, for the most part, self-professing Christians who have made their faith part of their politics. So it is fair to call them on their failures.

Jesus was born into dark times. The news of his birth, however, brought new evidence that light could overcome the darkness. Jesus gathered disciples and preached a message of justice and compassion. That message, while sometimes twisted by those who would use faith for evil purposes, has been a beacon of hope for two thousand years.

In his inaugural sermon, quoting from the Prophet Isaiah, Jesus said:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Christmas in this dark season demands that Christians take our faith out of churches as modern disciples and into the streets with those fighting for tolerance over fear, accountability over unchecked racism, protection of the environment over the exploitation of creation for blind profit, safety from gun violence over the NRA, and for opportunity for those living in poverty created by unjust economic policies. This is not a political agenda but a moral agenda.

The Christian faith is not a building and does not begin and end on Christmas. Our faith must be a movement to change the circumstances of our world to better the lives of all God’s children, regardless of faith or nationality.

[Source:-the huffington post]

By Adam