Wednesday Word: Ideals
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- Declaration of Independence, second paragraph
Yesterday was the 4th of July and the annual celebration of those thirteen colonies that declared (among other things) themselves “to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved . . .” That celebration probably included some form of fireworks, too much food, music of varying tastes, and, hopefully, a recognition that in this country all men are created equal.
But if we are honest with ourselves, we must also recognize that those self-evident truths spoken of so eloquently 241 years ago are still far from being realized. We still have far to go when, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, the death penalty was sought in 38.7 percent of cases in which the defendant was black and the victim was white, with that percentage dropping to 0.0 percent when the defendant was white and the victim was black (https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/chattahoochee-judicial-district-buckle-death-belt-death-penalty-microcosm). We still have far to go when a local HOA states in its bylaws that a house may not be sold to a person of color. We still have far to go when the Texas Supreme Court voted 9-0 that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality is not all-encompassing and still up for evaluation (http://fusion.kinja.com/texas-all-republican-supreme-court-delivers-a-big-blow-1796552886). We still have far to go when access to healthcare is based on income rather than need. We still have far to go when women consistently draw lower salaries than men.
It's not often that the secular and sacred intertwine, but when we look at the lofty ideals stated in the Declaration of Independence in conjunction with our Baptismal Covenant, they do.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .”
When you see the evil of discrimination rising to prominence, whether that be based on gender, race, sexual orientation, or nationality, will you persevere in resisting that evil?
When you witness the condemnation of others, will you proclaim the Good News of God in Christ?
When you see acts of hatred being perpetrated in the name of whatever cause calls for violence, will you love your neighbor as yourself?
When you witness the ostracizing of others due to any difference or lack of perceived purity, will you strive for justice and respect the dignity of every human being?
It just may be that when the Church can live into the ideals of the Baptismal Covenant, our nation might finally live into the ideals of the Declaration of Independence.