red pink & blue

i walked to work today. a beautiful sunshine was weaving its way through technicolored trees as i wound my way through the typical neighbourhoods that led me to state street.

i could have been striding past houses in moose jaw, kingston or whitehorse. the walk up east dayton treated me to pleasant wafts of familiar sunday smells: coffee, baking, laundry. i was struck by the unusual number of homes that were painted lilac or pink.

john cougar was taught to fear jesus in a small town, and i thought of his wonder of these little pink houses that decorate the great midwest.

in today’s new york times,
roger cohen writes about ardent faith squaring off against earnest reflection in this election: two distinct approaches to spirituality represented by both presidential candidates. whereas kerry believes in questions as much as answers and differentiates between power and leadership, bush believes that questioning enables enemies and that leadership is the exercise of american power.

that voters seem equally compelled by both approaches is bizarre for someone like me, but then again, everything about this electorate is bizarre.

maybe i never saw the question of the
baby jesus as a particularly nuanced one – you’re either in or you’re out. but maybe faith comes in many shades of lilac – one little pink house is just as likely to be green inside as red or blue. the voters’ homes i passed today – those enclosed porches filled with wicker furniture, storage bins, bicycles, strollers – they each tell a unique story about faith… faith in god, good will, humanity, progress, faith in democracy, justice, peace. arrogant faith. modest faith.

but does an unwavering belief in a god imply a partiality for right-wing ideology? i never went to sunday school, but i thought jesus was a compassionate and peace-loving guy. compassion is nuanced too, i guess. the faith that compels people to advocate for the
dilution of civil liberties in the name of security is the same faith as that which compels others to fight for women’s equality and poverty eradication. faith can steer people like this as well as people like this. and occasionally, in a strange twist, they're the same people.

god help us.


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