Invitation to Moral Leadership

He is who he said he was.

He does what he said he would.

Now. Who are you?  Traci Blackmon

I live in Charlotte, N.C. and on Monday the Charlotte City Council voted 6 to 5 to accept the invitation to host the 2020 Republican National Convention if an invitation is extended.   The Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler offered a public letter to the City Council on why he was against accepting such an invitation:

“It is a poor moral witness. It is both un-American and un-Christian to stop immigrants fleeing from violence in their nations of origin on our border, imprison them, deem them and their essential personage “illegal,” and then strip their children away from them (without any consideration given to how they will be reconciled!); to foster a taxation scheme that further centralizes wealth in the hands of the wealthiest Americans while offering little to no relief for the poor; to develop false moral equivalencies between non-violent protest for equality and violent white supremacist and anarchist demonstration (worse, to call those who hold these beliefs “good people”); to work to undermine access to healthcare of poor, working, and middle class citizens based only on partisan ideological reasoning and providing no viable alternatives; to sponsor voting legislation that makes it more difficult for people to gain access to the polls (this after so many have fought, bled, and been martyr securing this right.)”

There are disagreements in the Church about what constitutes Christian and un-Christian behavior.  There are disagreements in the United States about what constitutes moral and immoral behavior.

Nevertheless most people of every or no religion lift up something akin to The Golden Rule:  Treat others as you would like to be treated.

There is a hunger for moral leadership in these days.  Most of us want leaders who tell the truth and conduct themselves respectfully.  I personally crave leaders whom I can trust even if I disagree with them.

After Monday’s vote, Charlotte might be hosting a convention in 2020 that could become a moral test for us all.

  • How will we respond if White Supremacists march in Charlotte as they marched in Charlottesville in 2017?
  • How will we respond if violence breaks out for any reason?
  • How will we respond to the presence of someone who has mocked disabled people, assailed immigrants, and boasted about assaulting women – even/especially if he is President of the United States?
  • How will we protect the vulnerable – especially the homeless – who will be particularly impacted by this convention?
  • How will we seek to prevent a rise in human trafficking during the convention?
  • How will we preach/pray/teach our children about the democratic process in the throes of deep political division?

If Charlotte is indeed selected to host the RNC in 2020, we will have a unique opportunity to model moral leadership.  Who will we be as God’s people in Charlotte?  What type of moral leadership will we display?

Will we sit in front of our televisions and watch from the safety of our homes?  Will we leave town in hopes of missing the whole event?  We will show hospitality to our guests beyond renting hotel rooms and taking restaurant reservations?

What will we do if we witness injustice either in words spoken or actions made? To do nothing seems disobedient if we are serious about following Jesus.  (Remember those who betrayed and denied him and left him to suffer alone?)

Maybe Charlotte will be invited to host the 2020 RNC and maybe we won’t.  But just as politicians are discerning whether or not they will challenge the President for that party’s nomination, we must begin discerning how we will challenge policies and practices that dehumanize God’s children.

And if you don’t live in Charlotte, please know that you too will face moral quandaries in the coming months when you hear or see injustice.  What will you do?  Who will you be?

Images of a July 16, 2018 tweet by the Rev. Traci Blackmon and from the 2016 RNC in Cleveland. (Photo from Wired Magazine)


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