“There are three kinds of patriots, two bad, one good. The bad ones are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover's quarrel with their country, a reflection of God's lover's quarrel with all the world.” - The Rev. William Sloane Coffin
The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. We have so much to celebrate about the United States of America. As a people, we have weathered many great storms and worked over time to improve our country. Nothing has been easy about our history and many people have made great sacrifices for the common good - including giving up their lives.
It is the common good that we still need to fight for today. The times that I'm critical of our nation or our leaders is not because of a lack of love for country but rather the "lover's quarrel" (Coffin's words) that I carry on with America about how we can be a better place. As a minister, I have a special responsibility to lift up the ideal of the Beloved Community not just for our nation but for the planet. No one should live a third world life in a first world country. We must take urgent action to protect our environment from human caused climate change. All people were created equal. Our nation must fulfill that by extending equality to all in the workplace with equal pay and by embracing marriage equality.
The Declaration of Independence ends with these important words:
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
It is this sense of pledging ourselves to one another that we have lost and must recover if we are to address the challenges of our times.
Happy 4th of July!