Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Give me Liberty? What says Arizona?!

Today my wife and I made the trip to Philadelphia in order to get an expedited renewal of our passports (another story and blog).  With a bit of time to kill, we made a visit to see the Liberty Bell.  It has been 20 years since I was there and found it good to be reminded of the story of this famous bell and all that it has represented.  For its inscription, taken from Leviticus 25:10 reads:

Proclaim Liberty thro' all the Land to all the Inhabitants thereof.

The bell became the symbol of freedom during the Abolitionist Movement whereby on January 1, 1863 Abraham Lincoln issued his final Emancipation Proclamation ringing in the beginning to an end of the inhumane tolerance of slavery in this country.  Yet, even a century later discrimination lives on.

By the turn of the 20th century it was women who fought for an equal right to vote - finally granted with the 19th Amendment in 1920.  Yet in 2014 there still exists a gender gap inequality in pay between men and women.

And just when you think (or pray) that perhaps society has matured to the point where we will begin to cease discriminating against other people who happen to be not like us - the State of Arizona takes it to a whole new level.

Five days ago Arizona's Legislature passed a controversial bill that would allow business owners, as long as they assert their religious beliefs, to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.  The bill now sits on the desk of the governor as the country waits to see if she will, once again, veto the bill.  Meanwhile…other states are considering similar bills.

How can such a bill even be passed in these United States....where we live with a foundation rooted in 'Liberty throughout all the Land to ALL the inhabitants..."  not just those who we like...or those we agree with....or those who are like us.  Our history is tarnished with discrimination against American Indians, African Americans, Irish, Italian, Polish, women....as well as those who have a sexual orientation different from others.

I know many will argue for their First Amendment rights...but this country...our faith...says that we need to be open to all.  This past weekend we heard the Gospel remind us that God "causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."  And Pope Francis reminded us, "Who am I to judge?"

That is good enough for me. 

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