My Gold Star Family “Leap of Faith”: Kissed by a Dolphin

Kissed by a dolphin?  It started innocently enough.  First we were introduced, then we were holding hands/fins, next we were dancing… and then Tashi poked his head out of the water, looked right at me, and planted a big kiss right on my lips!

All this took place at Island Dolphin Center in Key Largo, FL as part of a Gold Star Family “Leap of Faith Program.”  That is where I met Tashi, a male Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin, who is part of a “family” of dolphins that love interacting with military families and with children and adults with special needs.

There is something therapeutic about being “up close and personal” with dolphins.  The experience strips away fears and anxieties and replaces those feelings with pure joy and excitement.  The dolphins know how to bring us out of our comfort zone by allowing us to become part of their world, as we in turn give them our full attention.

On a beautiful, sunny, winter day in Florida, my sister and I sat on a dock and dangled our toes in the water as Tashi and Fiji swam back and forth and gave us a little “foot massage.”  The trainer said it was good for them as it helped exfoliate their skin.  But for me, it was this gentle movement that made me want to reach out and touch them.  Their skin felt smooth, and it shimmered in the Florida sunlight.  Soon we were talking with the dolphins.  The trainers taught us some hand signals/commands, and before we knew it we were waving our arms and clicking our fingers and communicating with our new friends.  Then it was time to say goodbye to Tashi and Fiji, but not before feeding them some fish and then having them wave their tails at us in a fond farewell.

We moved on to the other side of the large pool where we would meet Bella.  She is a teenage beauty!  The trainer asked my sister and I if we would like to get in the water and play with Bella, and we jumped right in.  Bella was shaking her head at us as if she was asking us…”Are you ready?”  Before we knew it, the trainer asked Cathy and I to hold hands, and said that Bella would give us a push.  All of a sudden, Bella was giving me a foot push… and this sent my sister and I into a circling spiral motion as if we were on a water merry-go-round.  Everyone watching erupted in laughter as they had never seen anything like it before!  Even the trainer was surprised!!!

Swimming with Bella was such a thrill in so many ways.  This gentle water creature showed us how to play…how to have fun together…and how to heal.

Fifty years ago, our brother Jerry died while serving his county.  At that moment, our family was changed forever.  Looking back, I now realize that his death impacted each member of our family and influenced how we interacted with each other…how we dealt with pain, worked through differences, and spoke about our feelings or kept them buried.

Our encounters with the dolphins at Island Dolphin Care touched our wounds and helped heal them in the best way possible…by touching our hearts and our lives so gently and lovingly.

Sometimes a “Leap of Faith” might mean entering the water and swimming with dolphins.  Or it might mean doing a tandem jump with one of the US Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team.  Stay tuned for my next blog on this experience.

Spoiler alert: my sister and I did not do the jump, but we watched how others in our group were changed by the experience, and our lives were changed vicariously by being part of their “cheering section” as their parachutes opened and they floated down to earth.








My Gold Star Family “Leap of Faith”: Telling Our Stories

Today I begin a series of blogs about being a Gold Star Family member.  My story began on February 7, 1967.  On that day, I picked up the phone, and received the shocking news of my brother Jerry’s death.  My parents, through their tears, told me that  that the Navy had just notified them that their son died in a freak accident in Iowa.  It all seemed surreal.  We all knew that Jerry was there receiving advanced training in military intelligence in preparation for his next tour of duty in Vietnam where he would be in harm’s way.  But Iowa?  Wasn’t it safe there!?!

Events unfolded swiftly and yet it felt like we were all moving in slow motion.  Family members were notified and we all awaited news from the Navy about final arrangements for my brother’s funeral and burial.  In the meantime, my parents and twelve-year-old sister Cathy made plans to fly from Florida to Delaware so that they could travel with my husband and I to Washington, DC when the time came.  My older brother Jim was still living in our hometown of Chicago, Illinois, and he and his wife were awaiting the birth of their first child at any moment.  Our lives seemed “suspended” yet they moved forward.

In a matter of days, my parents learned of their son Jerry’s death on February 7th and then the news of their first grandson Jimmy’s birth on February 10th.  Just two days later, on February 12th, my brother Jim had to leave his wife and newborn son back in the hospital in Chicago in order to fly to Washington, DC to bury his brother.  How could so much be happening to our family all at once!?!

A great blizzard of snow came down all across the Midwest and moved swiftly to the East Coast, from Chicago, to Delaware and Washington, DC.  It seemed to me like the heavens opened up and what came down was a great white blanket of snow trying to cover our grief.

On President’s Day Weekend, my parents, sister, husband and I made our way to Washington via Amtrak where we were met by Navy personnel and escorted to the funeral home for my brother’s viewing.  It was difficult to leave behind my two little girls, Carin age 2 and Chris age 1, but it was even harder for my brother to leave his wife’s bedside after her difficult cesarean delivery.  Fortunately, my sister-in-law Jan’s parents could care for her while Jim was away, but what should have been a great time of joy was overshadowed by the sadness that held us all captive.

My sister Cathy later wrote a moving tribute about our brother Jerry’s funeral and burial on February 13th: “It was a cold, snowy day in Washington, DC during the record breaking snow spectacle of February, 1967.  The motorcade left St. Thomas’ Church in Arlington, VA just moments after [his funeral mass ended] at 11:30 am.  It proceeded at 15 mph in the direction of Arlington National Cemetery, led by police and military escorts, the hearse, and a government limousine bearing solemn looking relatives….  Before the onlookers at the gravesite, the priest gave the family his sympathy and began the ceremony…a three-gun salute was performed, and the American flag which was draped over the casket was presented to his mother, who graciously accepted it.”

All of this happened 50 years ago, but our memories of that time still seem at times fresh and raw.  And so it is fitting that we remember and honor our brother: Radioman Second Class Gerald Martin Soens, United States Navy (1943-1967).

My sister Cathy and I shared some of our family story last weekend at an event sponsored by Operation Support Our Troops America (  This was a “Leap of Faith” Seminar/Retreat for Gold Star families, described as a three-day, intensive grief seminar done in partnership with the US Army Golden Knights.  During this time, family members (widows, parents and siblings) were offered grief counseling, a chance to tell their family stories, and the opportunity to tandem sky dive with the Golden Knights parachute team at Homestead Air Force Base, Homestead, FL and also to have an up close and personal therapeutic dolphin experience at Island Dolphin Care in Key Largo, FL.

On each of the three days, Gold Star Family Members were lovingly cared for by supportive staff and one another.  Our losses may have been fifty years ago or less than one year or somewhere in between.  But we all shared one thing in common: our loved ones gave their lives for our country and their sacrifices will never be forgotten.

(During the rest of this series, I will describe our interactive, therapeutic program at Island Dolphin Care, our experience with the US Army’s Golden Knights parachute team, and ways that we can support Gold Star Families.)


Our First Town Hall Meeting, Won’t be Our Last!

On a warm and sunny Saturday morning, most Floridians, snowbirds and tourists were hitting the golf course, walking the beach, playing tennis, biking on nature trails, or watching their kids play outdoor sports.  My husband and I made a different choice.  We decided to attend our first political town hall meeting in New Port Richey with our US Representative Gus Bilirakis.

When we pulled up to the West Pasco Government Center, there were already crowds forming.  Various local activist groups were handing out information, signing up new members, and passing out signs to those who were interested.  There were also many individuals, like us, who came with hand made signs that we hoped would attract attention to our cause.  Health care was the topic of the town hall, and we wanted to make sure that our Representative knew that we did not want the ACA (Affordable Care Act/Obamacare) repealed unless there was an improved replacement plan that would be immediately available.  As seniors, we also wanted Gus Bilirakis to know that we expected him to protect and defend Medicare and Social Security…”no ifs, ands or buts.”

As we entered the room, we looked around and found a standing-room only crowd.  Then my husband noticed that they were wheeling in a few more chairs, and we grabbed the last two available seats.  The auditorium was then at capacity and they began turning away people at the door.

A half hour later, the meeting started with the briefest remarks by Rep. Bilirakis.  He emphasized that he was there to listen, and that his staff would take notes, and they would allow as many people to speak as time permitted.  He asked everyone to be respectful and for the most part we adhered to his plea.

For the next two hours, people spoke up!  The Chairs of both the Pasco County Democratic Party and the Republican Party were in the first group called up to the microphone.  They were met with various degrees of applause but the Republican chair was also greeted with boos when he started talking about “death panels.”  Then he made some nasty remarks that were caught on camera and later shown on national television (CNN, MSNBC, NBC and others who picked up their news feed).  He actually had the nerve to address us as “Children”!  I can assure you that he didn’t win any new followers among the Democrats, Republicans and Independents in the crowd, and he may have lost a few Republican voters in the process.

I would estimate that at least 50 people (about a fourth of the crowd) got to speak directly to Rep. Bilirakis in front of the crowd.  I would say that of those that were called to the mike, about 9 out of 10 spoke positively on behalf of keeping the ACA or improving it, and were against repeal without an improved replacement plan.

Many shared personal stories of how they or loved ones were affected positively by the ACA.  Three medical doctors talked about how it made a great improvement in their patients health care.  They said that before the ACA, many patients would avoid going to their doctor until they were extremely sick.  By the time they saw them, their diseases had progressed and treatment was more costly.  After the ACA, more of their patients had insurance and as a result they didn’t delay getting to see their doctor.  All three pleaded for affordable, early interventional health care for people of all ages.

Town hall speakers came from every walk of life, and the age range was from young adults in their early twenties to seniors in their 70’s and 80’s.  Many of the younger folks said that they had benefited by the ACA because they were able to stay on their parents insurance while in college and in graduate school.  Some shared that now they needed insurance made available to them through the ACA exchanges because their current employers offered no health care insurance.

There were small business owners who spoke on behalf of the ACA.  One woman said that she would be able to afford to hire another employee if she didn’t choose to provide health benefits in her company of less than ten people.  But she helped her employees pay for insurance offered through the exchanges provided by the ACA because it was the right thing for her to do and that also helped her keep highly qualified employees.

Here are my “take aways” from the town hall meeting:

  1. Our US Representative Gus Bilirakis really listened to his constituents and he and his team did a masterful job of crowd control.  He is obviously an experienced politician and not afraid to meet the voters in his district.  While he and I may differ on policies, I now have great respect for him and the way he conducts himself as our US Representative.
  2. Speakers who came prepared with facts, statistics and personal stories were the most effective.  Some were obviously nervous and said they were not used to speaking in public, but Rep. Bilirakis put them at ease and thanked them for coming.  He could not have been more welcoming.  The professional people (like doctors, teachers, managers, and business folk) spoke as much to the Congressman as to the crowd, and I think that was helpful.  His staff took notes and said they wanted to keep in touch.
  3. I believe attendance at town hall meetings is critical to having our voices heard.  Even though I signed up to speak, I was glad that I wasn’t called to the microphone because I did not have prepared remarks (only rambling thoughts).  I talked to one of his staff people and he assured me that he will help me set up a personal meeting with Rep. Bilirakis.  I am looking forward to that and know that I will go well prepared.

Even before we left the auditorium, I started to receive text messages that they were showing clips of our town hall meeting on national television.  My friend in St. Louis spotted us on CNN and MSNBC and sent me photos that she captured from live coverage.  By the time we got home and turned on our tv, we found that they kept repeating the loop from our town hall meeting on those stations throughout the afternoon, and so we were able to see ourselves on national television many times!

At first I was surprised that our meeting was covered by national news networks, but then I remembered that we live in a swing district in a swing part (I-4 Corridor) of our swing State of Florida.  Our voices matter!  And we have a Representative who is not afraid to listen to his constituents.  During the meeting he announced that he will be having more town halls in the future so that everyone can have their voices heard!

You better believe that my husband and I will be reading his online newsletter and following our local politician very closely.  This may have been our first town hall meeting, but it definitely won’t be our last.

I encourage you to attend town hall meetings in your districts and to make your voices heard.  You will see democracy at work!

(PS  I am holding up a pink sign in back of Rep. Bilirakis in the first picture.  In the second picture, my husband Ted is to the left of Rep. Bilirakis and I am to the right of him on the photo captured from CNN)



“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free…”

During the summer of 2001, my husband and I visited our daughter in New York City.  One day we took the ferry out to the State of Liberty and then on to Ellis Island.  I took this photo looking back at Lower Manhattan where the skyline was dominated by the Twin Towers.  No one knew that by the end of summer, on September 11, 2001, the towers would be brought down by terrorists.  That was the day that fear entered the American psyche.  Psychologically, our country has never be the same.

Our American optimism went down a slippery slope.  During the G. W. Bush years, we recklessly entered into two foreign wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and gave large banks and financial institutions the ability to bring down our economy to the point of near self-destruction.  This reached a crescendo in the fall of 2008 when the stock market crashed, homes were foreclosed, the job market tanked and many people lost their livelihoods.  That was a dark time in America.

Barack Obama ran for the presidency on the promise of Hope and Change.  His election brought back a degree of optimism.  Thanks to his leadership and a Democratic Congress, we got a floor under our crashing economy, gave life support to the automotive industry, and finally brought affordable health care to a large segment of our population who otherwise would have been unable to purchase health insurance.

In my opinion, the Ship of State seemed to be righting itself.  Progressive values seemed to be taking hold, especially with younger generations.  Everything wasn’t perfect, but the trajectory of our country seemed optimistic…especially for women, minorities, the LGTBQ communities, persons living with disabilities, environmental groups, and Native Americans.

Then came Trump’s shocking win in the 2016 presidential election.  Looking back, I can understand how a large segment of our country voted for him.  It was because they felt “left behind.” He certainly played on their fears.  He promised them jobs which they desperately needed in order to hang on to their version of the American dream.  Some of his followers felt that progressives had made too many gains and they wanted to roll back the clock.

His boldest promise was to stop illegal immigration and the flow of refugees to our country.  Both of these are serious issues and need to be addressed.  But rather than working with Congress (where both the House and Senate are controlled by Republicans), he decided to act unilaterally by issuing Execute Orders that would throw our country into chaos.  I have heard from several of his supporters that they are happy to see Trump acting in such a way and are applauding his ability to “get things done” apart from Congress or anyone else that might get in his way.  I just shake my head and wonder why people think this is a good idea.

The protests started immediately!  People are taking to the streets in opposition to his actions and executive orders.  Even National Park officials and Scientists have made their voices heard!

To me, Trump’s behavior these past two weeks seems “reckless” at best and “destructive” at its worst.

We must always remember that America is not yet a dictatorship.  It is a democracy with three branches of government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial.  The founders of our country set up this system of government in order to have checks and balances so that one branch would not hold power over another.

My prayer today is that our Government (all three branches) will work together to move our country forward.

I also pray for all  those yearning to come to our shores after being vetted and obtaining visas and green cards, whether they are on a path to citizenship or here to contribute to our society for a short time.  Even Donald Trump has asked, since his election, for our country to authorize visas to workers that he wants to bring to our country in order to work at his American properties (even thought there are plenty of Americans who would like those jobs, especially in South Florida).  For that reason alone, I call him a hypocrite.

He has tried to put a ban on people from particular countries or religions which is now being temporarily blocked in federal courts.  Many legal experts are looking at his executive actions and calling them not only unconstitutional but not in our best interest if we want to remain “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

In watching news reports these past days, I weep for those being turned away from our country who have valid reasons to come and live among us: international students, doctors and researchers, interpreters who have fought along side our military, children coming for life saving medical needs/surgery, and those traveling back and forth for personal reasons who are now trapped in our political chaos.

Time magazine’s latest cover showed a Statue of Liberty with her flame going out.  Let us keep her torch burning brightly for all the world to see.  Let us be optimistic once again!




“Alternative Facts”

This week Trump’s spokeswoman Kellyann Conway introduced us to a new term…”Alternative Facts.”  At first I was amused.  Even joked that “alternative facts” might be useful.

For instance, I posted on Facebook that when I woke up and looked in the mirror, I saw that I lost 50 pounds overnight!  Chuckle, Chuckle.

But as the week wore on, more and more “alternative facts” were put out there by Trump and his cronies that made my head spin and my blood boil.

Estimates of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration were greatly exaggerated by his administration, especially after the Park Service said he drew a smaller crowd than Obama.  In spite, Trump shut down the National Park Service website after they backed up their claims by posting photos of the two events “side by side” clearly showing that Obama drew a much bigger crowd.

The Women’s March the next day also drew greater crowds than Trump’s inauguration and that infuriated him even more.  In fact, the big March in Washington was only one of the many that day.  There were protest marches in every state and many countries around the globe.  That really got under his thin skin.

Trump sent out his dogs, Sean Spicer and Kellyann Conway, to present “alternate facts.”  But everyone with could see that what they were really doing was lying about the numbers.
And then the Wall…he announced that he was going to have American taxpayers pay to build a wall between our country and Mexico after stating throughout his campaign that he was going to have Mexico pay for it.  “Alternative Fact”…America would get the money back by imposing tariffs on Mexican goods, so in fact Mexico would pay for the wall.  But that would mean that Americans would pay higher costs for products so indeed we really would be paying for the damn wall.

So much happened this week but the crowning blow was waking up to the news yesterday that Trump, by executive order, had closed our borders to people from seven countries, mostly in the Middle East…”in order to keep us safe.”  This is the biggest “alternative fact” of all.  This self-imposed Muslim Ban will do just the opposite.  Besides going against our national values and international interests, this executive order will make our country less safe and it even threatens the heart of our  democracy.

“Alternative Facts” are lies!  They will only bring our country down.  We must resist by telling the truth!!!

William Sparrow gave this advice to his students at Virginia Theological Seminary over 150 years ago: “Seek the truth; come whence it may, cost what it will.”  I am glad to follow in that tradition in the days and months and years ahead, so help me God.

Photo was taken at graduation from Virginia Theological Seminary, May 1989.

L to R: The Revs. Anne West, Gayle Marsh, Pat Earle, Anne McRae, and Mary Anne Dorner


Signs of the Times

Yesterday was a day unlike any other in the life of our country.  Over One Million people took part in Women’s Marches in large cities and small towns throughout the United States.  Millions more joined in solidarity by participating in marches in all Seven Continents.  Most carried signs expressing their concerns and offering opinions on a diversity of issues.

This grass roots movement started the morning after Donald J. Trump was elected President.  While so many people were shocked by the election results, it was mainly women who reacted strongly and publicly on social media.  They had listened for months as Trump spewed vitriolic remarks about women, people of color, immigrants, those with disabilities, and members of the LGTBQ communities.  They feared that with Trump’s election, his bleak world view might become accepted and normalized.

Almost immediately, women took to social media and began organizing a Women’s March in Washington to express their concerns about a Trump administration.  At first, they wanted it to be held on inauguration day but they could not get a permit.  So they decided to organize a march for the day after the new president was sworn in.  The word spread, and soon women who couldn’t travel to Washington began organizing marches in their own home towns and cities.  The movement spread like wildfire and by yesterday women led marches in all 50 states!

From early morning, I started receiving texts and photos from family and friends as they traveled by bus, car, train and public transportation to events in Washington, DC, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Dallas.  I got personal reports that metro stations were jammed but people patiently waited in line as various cities added more cars to accommodate the larger than expected crowds.

I was captivated by the signs most women and some men were carrying.  With every sign, I felt more hopeful about our country!  

Thank you ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, young and old, straight and gay, black and white, Hispanic and Asian, for creating and then holding up your signs. 

With every one, my hopes began to rise higher and higher.  This felt like the beginning of something the likes of which our country has never seen…at least not in decades!

I am sharing photos of three of my favorite signs.  There were many more runner ups but these are priceless.  Drum roll please.

Number three: a mother and daughter in St. Louis with a sign: “My Body, My Choice, Her’s Too”

Number two: three friends in Dallas, one of which held up a sign: “Our Bodies, Our Minds, Our Power.”

Number one: a bishop marching in Cincinnati holding up an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe (by artist Yolanda Lopez) with the words “She is with us!  Fighting Oppression.”

As Donald Trump said: “I am starting a new movement the likes of which the world has never seen.”  You are right, Mr. Trump…you have started a movement and I have a feeling that it is only going to prosper and grow as women, and those who support them, take to the streets and social media.  We have only just begun creating “Signs of the Times.”








Why I choose to speak out….

Family and friends have asked me why I have chosen to speak out so publicly this past year about my religious and political views.  I’ve thought a lot about that question.  Why do I feel compelled to speak out so forcefully?

In one week, our president-elect will be sworn into office.  In my opinion, he has sown seeds of division in our country that have now ripened into full-fledged dissention. You can either agree with him or he will label you an enemy and start calling you names and tweeting about you.  Sadly, I’ve decided that he’s not going to change once he becomes president.

It seems that Trump loves to play with us.  He says things like we are going to build a wall and that Mexico will pay for it.  People either cheer this idea wildly or think it is the stupidest thing he has ever said.  Of course now that he may have to make good on his promise, he says that Americans should pay for the wall and he’ll get the money back eventually from the Mexicans…who said they will never pay for it!  It is like a game for him.  And we let him play us.

He does the same with Russia.  He praises the leadership of Russian President Putin, the former head of the KGB, who murders his own people who disagree with him.  Then he says that our president is weak.  He used to get a rise out of his followers by promoting the “birther movement.” He was so convincing that the majority of his followers still believe that Obama was not born in Hawaii and that he is a secret Muslim.  In fact, he used these lies to attract people to himself.  Those who opposed Obama bought it hook, line and sinker.

Back to Trump and Putin.  He seems to be stacking his cabinet with pro-Russian candidates, one of whom is a candidate for Secretary of State even though he was awarded Russia’s highest honor by Putin himself.  Seriously, you cannot make up stuff like this.  I really cannot believe why anyone thinks that Russia wants to be our friend.  They are out to destroy our world view and to challenge us as the world’s leading super-power.

And Trump’s ethics violations…too numerous to mention.  Eventually that is what I think will eventually topple him.  He believes that he is above the law…that he can literally do anything he wants and no one will challenge him.  Remember when he said that he could stand on 5th avenue and shoot someone and no one would care.  Are these words of a president?  Statements like that just boggle my mind but his followers don’t seem to care.  In fact that say: “That is just Trump being Trump.”

Have we forgotten that no one in our country is above the law.  No one!

He makes such outrageous statements.  Remember when he said that he was the only one who could save us?  Really.  That man sure has an inflated ego that will eventually pop when he is forced to face reality.  Its only a matter of time.  But we will have to suffer his presence until finally he collapses under the weight of his own ego.

But why does all this bother me so?  Its not just his talk that I find offensive.  I’ve seen other braggarts in my life and even worked for a few.  What gets to me is how his actions will affect the lives of vulnerable people that come into his line of fire.

Very soon, perhaps even in the next few weeks, he and his party will take away access to affordable health care for millions of people.  It was supposed to be repeal and replace…but evidently they haven’t come up with a plan so they will just repeal and let people suffer the consequences.  Personally I think we should take away the health care of members of our congress until they come up with a plan.

Trump and his cronies in Congress, who seem to be falling in line despite all the things they said about him during the election,  will also start attacking Medicare and Social Security… all this in order to give tax benefits to the wealthy who already appear to be doing just fine.

In the midst of all this, mother earth will also suffer.  Our environmental protections will be dismantled and our move to clean energy will be hampered.  Clean air and water will become negotiable.  And our national parks will be sold off to mining companies with little regard for the impact that decision will have on wildlife and natural resources.

The list of my concerns could go on and on, but these are some of the major ones.

But why am I speaking out now?  Because it hurts.  It really hurts.  Things that I hold dear seem to be on the chopping block… and I feel unable to stop the process.

I have been an advocate for women’s rights my whole life, and now I see that Trump wants to take away a women’s right to make her own health care decisions.  Some of his advisors and even his Vice President have said that perhaps women don’t belong in the military, especially not in combat.  This is after we have elected distinguished military women combat heroes to congress!

I am also speaking out now in order to try to protect the gains we have made in civil rights over the years.  Equal access to education and good jobs and housing has afforded many to have the opportunity to climb up the ladder from poverty to the middle class.  Trump and congress not only want to move the ladder, they want to dismantle it.  And there are people cheering them on!

I have seen the plight of immigrants today…those fleeing from political turmoil overseas…just as my grandparents did over a century ago.  I have also witnessed the lives of migrant workers who have been recruited from Mexico and Central America to come to our country (often illegally) to harvest our crops, construct our houses, mow our lawns, and work at low paid jobs with the hope of providing a better life for their children and grandchildren.  Now they are being demonized and threatened with deportation.

I fear that Trump and his cabinet and administration will move to set back the clock…to a time before women’s rights and civil rights and efforts to control pollution and protect our land.

It is for all these reasons I have chosen to speak out in public…on Facebook and on social media, and also in private conversations.  I have lost a few friends because of this.  I’m sorry for that but I just cannot be silent in the wake of everything that is happening in our country.

What undergirds my personal and political beliefs is the Baptismal Covenant that I entered into soon after my birth, and which I reaffirm every year at the Easter Vigil when I am asked this question: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?”  And I answer: “I will with God’s help.”  (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 294)

And so I will speak out…so help me God.