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Cemetery flag incident an opportunity for growth

I am writing in response to last week’s letter to the editor from Michael Loudon regarding the treatment of the flag at Louden’s Chapel Cemetery and his call for all of us to challenge attitudes and actions that arise out of hate. Perhaps we as a community can take what happened and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow as individuals and as a community.

Corydon Presbyterian Church began this year by making a commitment to the Golden Rule 2020 Project. This organization was started by a group of Christian leaders but is open to people of all faiths who are concerned about the hostility and bitter divides separating people in our country, especially when it comes to our political discourse.

What was done to the flag at Louden’s Chapel Cemetery is a perfect example of what Golden Rule 2020 seeks to change. If we supported flying flags at half-staff for Sen. John McCain, then so should we support that being done for Rep. John Lewis, regardless of our political affiliation. Golden Rule 2020 seeks to put an end to the ever-growing tendency to demonize those with whom we disagree.

The goal of Golden Rule 2020 is not to gloss over differences of opinion or be dismissive of important issues that need to be addressed because they cause division, but rather to help all of us learn how to have important, difficult conversations in such a way that we treat each other with human dignity and are able to learn from each other.

Perhaps we can let what happened at Louden’s Chapel Cemetery be a reminder for us all of the importance of respecting the human worth and dignity of every person, regardless of their race, gender, class, sexual orientation, gender expression, religion or political affiliation.

As part of our participation in the Golden Rule 2020 Project, many of our members read and discussed the book “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone” by Brene Brown. In it, Brown says, if we want to begin to break down the barriers dividing our nation right now, “We’re going to need to intentionally be with people who are different from us. We’re going to have to sign up, join and take a seat at the table. We’re going to have to learn how to listen, have hard conversations, look for joy, share pain and be more curious than defensive, all while seeking moments of togetherness.”

May each of us seek to do this as we all strive to make our nation better.

The Rev. Cindy Cushman, Pastor, Corydon Presbyterian Church