It is Christmas in California and the churches are closed. But faith can not be cancelled. Faith, faith in God, in each other, in better times, should burn like a candle in the dark.
It is Christmas of 2020 in California. We are in our ninth month of intermittent moving-target shutdown. It is eight months since Governor Newsom told us three weeks would flatten the curve.
Our businesses have been closed. Our parks have become havens for drug dealers. We've been threatened with arrest if we go to the beach. Our kids can't go to school because apparently it is too dangerous to keep the public schools open in the Bay Area. The Governor can afford private schools and so his kids got to go to school this year.
Hypocrisy has become normal. Newsom told us that having Thanksgiving dinner with our families would cause disease to spread, then he went out to a fancy restaurant with a dozen of his favorite lobbyists and their current spouses.
This is the new normal. The hypocrisy is astounding. The lies go on and on. Two months ago a local church was attacked by a howling cursing mob. The mob tore down a statue and danced in the street. There was no social distancing. The media mocked the church. They victim shamed the church. Apparently the church was asking for it by being there. By daring to have a statue of a saint in public view. The police were told to stand down. In October that became the new normal in Marin County.
Now it is December and we stand peacefully in front of a different church, candles in the dark, singing Christmas carols. But the church was told they had to disavow us. Make it clear this wasn't sanctioned.
So be it. The church doesn't need to sanction faith, or Christmas. And the Governor doesn't have the right to cancel Christmas. (Or cancel the Constitution --for the record, the First Amendment isn't just about freedom of the press, freedom of religion and freedom of association are both covered.)
In this dark year of 2020 more people have died of overdoses and despair in San Francisco than have died of Covid-19.
To save our neighbors, to save ourselves, we must light a candle of joy in the dark and lift up our voices in song.
This is Christmas in California. The church didn't sanction this. The faithful stand on the public sidewalk. We aren't even all Christian. This is Christmas. We light our candles in the dark. Because faith and goodwill can not be cancelled by hypocrites and hate.
This is Christmas. Light your candles and don't let your joy or faith be snuffed out.