Opinion: Pray for peace, seek end to divisions


The statement, “my friend Jesus,” was on my mind when I woke up from a dream the other morning. For as long as I can remember I have viewed Jesus as my friend, but this was the first time I ever came out of a deep sleep to be so clearly reminded of that relationship.

Regardless if you believe Jesus was the Son of God, a great prophet, or a good person, his teachings, such as the Beatitudes, are profound. With his mother, Mary, a mother to all, their lives echoed humility, forgiveness, love, compassion and peace. As we approach the celebration of Jesus’ birth we can ask ourselves: Do our lives and the lives of civic leaders reflect his teachings?

The people of the world are on the brink of another world war, with many so-called world leaders playing with our futures. Trump, Putin and Assad are the Herods of our time, using their positions to increase conflict and their wealth. In Syria, Assad continues to slaughter families, leaving children traumatized, maimed and starving.

In America there is a list of actions taken by the Trump administration that are bringing our democracy closer to its demise. The latest tactic is to rush through a tax bill that will increase the wealth of the wealthy while hurting the most vulnerable: the elderly, children, disabled and low-income families. The driving forces behind these actions are not the teachings of Jesus. These actions are instead motivated by greed and corruption as well as Trump’s collusion with Putin, a person who would love to see America crumble.

The support of this destructive agenda by people who claim to be Christian saddens me. I felt that prior to the 2016 presidential election when visiting the East Coast. Lawns with Trump signs next to pro-life signs were everywhere. In the recent election in Alabama, almost two- thirds of white women supported an accused sexual predator of minors, who spewed racist beliefs in the name of God. One reason for their vote was the issue of abortion. It felt like a disregard for the welfare of life outside of the womb.

I suggest that if individuals want to eliminate abortion in our country to not blindly focus on its legality. Ensure the overall welfare of women and children and address the contributions men have in life’s production.

It is important to take action to value all life as Jesus did. He valued the lives of everyone, including immigrants, prisoners, the homeless, the poor, abused, neglected and the mentally ill.

We can advocate for laws that get to the heart of the matter. Let’s end sexual abuse and domestic violence, create responsible gun control, support public education and protect the most vulnerable, including our earth. Let’s be a country where there is equal pay for equal work, a livable minimum wage, preservation of land, control of climate change, and the end of racism and discrimination.

In my dream the other night I saw myself in the bleachers of a football game. When the national anthem played, I got down on one knee. A woman looked at me with disgust. I remained on my knee.

Colin Kaepernick made people angry when he began his protest to bring attention to the injustice and oppression taking place in our country. I have to admit, the first time I saw him on his knee I was bothered. His action went against our social norm. But then I thought about it. I genuflect before the cross in church as a sign of adoration. Also, when my husband proposed to me he was on one knee. I began to understand that kneeling during the national anthem was a respectful act of peaceful resistance.

Trump fueled the anger for taking a knee. He can actually take any topic and use it to further divide the people in our country, becoming a leader of division and chaos, rather than unity and peace. Unfortunately, the Republicans in Congress are supporting the lunacy and don’t give us much hope.

The star above the stable in Bethlehem guided the Magi and was a sign of hope for many. While on this earth, Jesus became a beacon of social justice. He put the welfare of others before his own, seeing everyone as children of God.

As Christmas approaches, let’s all pray for peace and remember, regardless of one’s religious and spiritual beliefs, Jesus is a friend to all.

Dianne Vona, LCSW lives in Ranchos de Taos.