President Trump held a bipartisan meeting with Republicans and Democrats this week to discuss the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) and other immigration policies. After a long session characterized by verbal and philosophical wrangling, the same sticking points that the lawmakers brought to the White House remained, so after they left.
The Republicans are known for voting together against whatever policies the Democrats favor with only slight variations on certain issues. And, the Democrats are vehemently opposed to letting the Republicans have their way, so they generally vote for whatever the Republicans are against and against whatever the Republicans are for. The two sides seems to be diametrically opposed to one another. Therefore, we have a legislative gridlock in Washington and the same is often true among our Georgia legislators. Why can’t we all just get along?
Monday is the day we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday by remembering his monumental efforts in advancing the Civil Rights movement. Did you know that Dr. King and Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee’s birthdays are only four days apart and there are some states that honor these two very different men on the same day?
You may consider that absurd or racist. You may even consider that completely inappropriate. However, the Civil War ended in 1865 and here we are 153 years later with what can sometimes seem like two different worlds. Even though tremendous strides have taken place it makes one wonder if we will ever reach racial harmony. Why can’t we all just get along?
The Israeli – Palestinian conflict is another example of a great divide. Israel is the world’s only Jewish state, but the Arab Muslim population that hails from the land Israel now controls refer to the territory as Palestine and want to establish a state by that name on all or part of the same land. Wars have been fought over this territory. The ongoing struggle has been called “the world’s most unsolved intractable conflict.” Why can’t they just get along?
In 1863 the Hatfields of West Virginia and the McCoys of Kentucky started a feud along the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River. History cannot even give a clear account of how the feud started, but the mere mention of the two family names stirs up visions of gun-toting vigilantes igniting bitter grudges and determined to defend their kinfolk with a vengeance. Why couldn’t they just get along?
In the 1980s some of you will remember the rivalry between Coca Cola and Pepsi. The market momentum was shifting in favor of Pepsi due to the favorable results of the “taste test” experiments the company conducted. Consumers were blindfolded in TV commercials, asked to sample Pepsi and Coke, and the majority of consumers agreed that Pepsi had the best flavor. Coke responded by tweaking its famous formula and introduced New Coke, a sweeter version of the classic beverage, which did so poorly that Pepsi sales skyrocketed. The competition has been fierce at time and I have wondered, “Why can’t they all just get along?”
I don’t mean to become frivolous, but another heralded conflict is the one between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Ninety-nine years ago Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, followed by an 86-year period when the Red Sox did not win a World Series. The World Series drought in Boston created such angst and hostility toward the Yankees that the competition between the two teams became the most pronounced rivalry in sports history. Why can’t the Yanks and the Sox just get along?
I suppose getting the Red Sox and Yankees to live together in harmony and peace would be like getting Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner to sign a peace treaty. It would be like getting Batman and the Joker to sit down at Camp David to work out their differences.
I suppose there is little chance of getting cats and dogs to agree to a cease and desist resolution and end their rivalry or calling a truce between the Alien and the Predator, or having Star Trek and Star Wars to combine their forces. Why can’t we all just get along?
Occasionally, church members get out of sorts with one another and establish rivalries. The same can even happen in an evangelical denomination as evidenced in the Conservative Resurgence that began in 1979. Let me be clear. No one should forfeit his/her biblical convictions for the sake of peace. Compromising with sin or false doctrine is never acceptable in God’s economy. Harmony at any cost is never an option.
I believe Georgia Baptists, for the most part, are on the same page theologically and in agreement on most moral and social issues, but I think we can always work on our unity and commitment to reaching our world for Christ. We have an enormous task and it is going to require all hands on deck. The Bible says that we are to “forbear one another in love” and “endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
I also know that the revival and 3,000 salvations at Pentecost did not come until all those in that upper room in Acts, chapter 2 “were all with one accord in one place.” Let’s win Georgia – together!