I’ve been thinking a lot lately about faith. Not just spiritual faith or religious beliefs but faith in every area. Every once in awhile some of the nation’s larger blogs will write posts that say things like “21 reasons to restore your faith in humanity” or something of that nature. I find that interesting, although I admit I usually go and look at them that it is pretty much a part of popular culture that we do need our faith in humanity restored.
There are times, because I read entirely too much news, that it’s difficult to have faith because there are so many negative things I see, especially because my job is to watch politics (the state mainly.)
And this story pushed me into really thinking about faith and humanity. I don’t know why it triggered me, but it did.
The 34-year-old mayoral candidate was poised to Mississippi’s first openly-gay elected official. As a non-profit consultant, scholar and public servant, McMillian announced his mayoral bid last month and pushed forth his extensive dreams to help out his state and his native Clarksdale, Miss.
Sadly, Marco McMillian was found dead near a levee between Sherard and Rena Lara, Miss., according to the Coahama County coroner. His SUV collided with another vehicle on U.S. Highway 49 Tuesday morning, but McMillian wasn’t in the car when authorities arrived. Authorities didn’t find the body until they located his body more than a dozen miles from the accident.
His body was beaten, dragged and set afire in the brutal murder last week, said his family in a statement issued late Sunday.
“We feel this was not a random act of violence based on the condition of the body when it was found,” the McMillian family said. “Marco, nor anyone, should have their lives end in this manner.”
The incident is not being treated as a hate crime although the McMillian family wants it to be.
And so I turned everything off for awhile and started thinking about my ever evolving relationship with faith, my history in the church and how my mother used to tell us this poem when I was a child:
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”
I admit I’m not a huge poetry fiend. I never have been but that is one of those things that has just stuck with me my entire life. Whenever I hear about any kind of hate crime (once again going by the words of McMillian’s family) or when someone just deliberately tries to hurt another person for the hell of it, I’m reminded of these words. Are we not connected through our own humanity? I used to think so and that is where the question of faith comes in for me on a personal level. Hate crime or not, this story just reminded me of how we treat each other in this country at times.
I was taught about loving my neighbor, I was taught that a spiritual relationship with God was personal and to treat other people the way I wanted to be treated.
There has always been ugliness and entitlement in this world, it’s always existed. Yet it seems to me that there is such a bullying atmosphere right now that doesn’t have to be. We have legislators setting up laws that bully people. We have legislators setting up laws that discriminate against people that do not find worthy. We see gay children killing themselves. We see women being treated like second-class citizens after they are raped. We see bills being passed where hungry children should just remain hungry. For Pete’s sake, we actually had women, including two from Tennessee, vote against VAWA.
We see people losing their jobs, their very own livelihood due to political games. And there is no sense of urgency to start making changes anytime soon.
As Donne said, aren’t we all a part of mankind. I believe we are. Each and everyone one of us is connected.
Maybe Margaret Mead was right and that a few people can make a difference. I can only hope.