Last night I watched the story of the leak of the Pentagon Papers and Daniel Ellsberg. We may recall the leak set a series of circumstances into motion that brought the Viet Nam war to an end and began the demise of the Nixon presidency. Even though I lived through those dark times, I didn't know the story from start to finish. It is both unnerving and inspiring. Whatever you think about what Ellsberg did, no one can doubt that he stood up for his principles and leaked the papers in an attempt to make our government accountable for its actions. In the PBS program, he said that even those who were against the war from the beginning, would not come forward to help expose the wrong doing. He was one person, but he was one who wanted to make things right.
Ellsberg risked everything for the truth as he saw it.
There are many great things about our Church, and we also have many people standing up for their principles. Sadly, however these principles, most notably about homosexuality, might divide our Church. It seems that some people see themselves on such high ground, on whatever side, that they cannot reach out to others.
Believe me, I am for principles. We cannot have law without them. But where is the place for grace and mercy in the midst of our imperfect human view of ourselves and others? I just keep coming back to what would Jesus do. Are we so sure of our knowledge that we are willing to destroy the faith of others?
As with most controversies, there are many sides. My prayer is for wisdom to temper justice with mercy and act upon our tightly held principles with grace.