“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Our country’s founders made it sound so simple.
Unfortunately, today, we repeatedly see evidence of our failure to reach that definition of equality; human beings are deprived of life and liberty, most especially our brothers and sisters of color. When we see such disparity, how, then, can we celebrate freedom?
I’ve struggled with this, especially, this past week. Seeing that such pain and hurt still exists for our friends and family members who are of color has spurred many to action. I think that is how we can celebrate freedom. That, after all, is one of the facets of freedom: the ability to see injustice in our society and take positive action for change.
Further, our faith calls us to action by Christ’s words “to love thy neighbor as thyself.”
The Church encourages and teaches that we have a responsibility to love those who are marginalized, listen to them, empathize with them, and do what we can to help them.
Of course, we know true freedom comes not from governments or laws but from God himself, and by seeking God’s will and living out Christ’s call to love and mercy in our everyday lives more fully, we allow God to work through us so that our end is more achievable.
But we have to do our part.
We must no longer remain silent. We must put aside our party differences, physical/social/religious/cultural differences, and embrace our commonalities: our shared humanity. We must speak openly, listen more than we talk, and look for Christ in each other. If we do this, we can do more, be more, and make genuine progress.
I have hope that, one day, the mention of freedom in this country will no longer be a reminder of a unjust system, our flag will no longer be a symbol of a broken struggle for equality, but something we will all be able to celebrate with joy and pride as we look back on the hard work and progress we made when we came together.