Pastoral Thought

 7-1-18

Independence Day 2018

            I am a patriot. I love my country because it is my country, my homeland, where my family, friends, and dear ones have their rights, dignity and freedom assured. I love my country because it is founded not on a race or a particular national bloodstream, but on the ideal of government by consent of the governed, with equal protection for the essential human rights of all…”with liberty and justice for all.”

            In this I give to Caesar, what is Caesar’s, though not to an individual King or dictator or elite ruling group. For I do not identify my country with the Kingdom of God. But I thank God that this is my country, and that my country stands for a human ideal:  that all human beings are equal in dignity and rights, and must have the freedom to govern themselves by the form of government that is best for them.

            If I ever question our country’s actions of systems or policies I do it because of what I believe our country should be, according to its founding premise.

            Last week I quoted someone’s list of what is wrong in our country. Here is one of my own. As a person of hope I mention areas where we presently need “a new birth of freedom”:

â–ª Family breakdown, especially among parents with limited education, strikingly the urban Black, but reaching all. In essence it means children growing up without a father.

â–ª Disparity of earnings:  a very small number of the wealthy, because of our system, increase their percent of the income each year, while the middle and lower class income declines; frequently both parents work just to subsist. Earnings are not distributed fairly.

â–ª Imprisonment: Something close to 2% of our population is in prison or on parole/probation. No other country comes remotely close.

â–ª Our military spending and military presence in 80 different countries dwarfs all the other nations put together. Who gave us this mission? Who are we fighting?

â–ª Our moral fiber is soft: drug use, fantastic spending on “fun”, loss of work ethic (yet hostility to immigrants who do the grunt work) and the unwillingness of many to marry or have children—just to name a few things.

 

Our country has lived with contradictions—none greater than slavery and racism. But we grow by resolving them. That is where the Kingdom of God prompts true patriotism.

Father John Hynes