Reflection for the week of February 17, 2014 “Happy, thrice happy shall they bepronounced hereafter, who have contributed any thing, who have performed the meanest office in erecting this stupendous fabrick of Freedom and Empire on the broad basis of Independency; who have assisted in protecting the rights of humane nature and establishing an Asylum for the poor and oppressed of all nations and religions.” – George Washington’s General Orders given on April 18, 1783. “Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.” – George Washington’s Farewell Address 1796 George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 and lived to age 67, December 14, 1799.
Reflection for the week of February 10, 2014 “We are a nation of many people and many views. In such a nation, the prime purpose of a legislator, from wherever he may come, is to accommodate the interests, desires, wants, and needs of all our citizens. To alienate some in order to satisfy others is not only a disservice to those we alienate, but a violation of the principles of our Republic. Lawmaking is the reconciliation of divergent views. In a democratic society like ours, the purpose of representative government is to soften tension – reduce strife – while enabling groups and individuals to more nearly obtain the kind of life they wish to live.” –William M. McCulloch, 1971 William M. McCulloch served as a Republican Congressman from Ohio’s 4th district from November 4, 1947 – January 3, 1973. Today is the 50th anniversary of the House passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman McCulloch introduced civil rights legislation and pushed for its passage. President Johnson commended Williams as an “important and powerful political force” in passing the 1964 civil rights law.
Reflection for the week of February 3, 2014 On the question of liberty, as a principle, we are not what we have been. When we were the political slaves of King George, and wanted to be free, we called the maxim that “all men are created equal” a self evident truth; but now when we have grown fat, and have lost all dread of being slaves ourselves, we have become so greedy to be masters that we call the same maxim a “self evident lie.” –Abraham Lincoln, August 15, 1855 Letter to George Robertson Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809.
“My creed is that public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation with full recognition that every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration, that constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought, that smears are not only to be expected but fought, that honor is to be earned but not bought.” – Margaret Chase Smith in The Declaration of Conscience. Margaret Chase Smith from Maine was the first woman elected to both the US House and US Senate. Fifty years ago on January 27, 1964, Smith announced her candidacy for President of the United States. In July 1964 at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco, she became the first woman whose name appeared as a presidential nominee at a major party’s convention.
Reflection for the week of August 6, 2013 Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny. –Mahatma Gandhi
Reflection for the week of July 30, 2013 We march today for jobs and freedom, but we have nothing to be proud of, for hundreds and thousands of our brothers are not here, for they are receiving starvation wages or no wages at all. While we stand here, there are sharecroppers in the Delta of Mississippi who are out in the fields working for less than three dollars per day, 12 hours a day. While we stand here, there are students in jail on trumped-up charges. Our brother James Farmer, along with many others, is also in jail.We come here today with a great sense of misgiving. It is true that we support the administration’s Civil Rights Bill. We support it with great reservation, however. Unless title three is put in this bill, there’s nothing to protect the young children and old women who must face police dogs and fire hoses in the South while they engage in peaceful demonstration.In its present form this bill will not protect the citizens of Danville, Virginia, who must live in constant fear of a police state. It will not protect the hundreds and thousands of people that have been arrested on trumped up … (more)
Reflection for the week of July 24, 2013 Remember, remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists. – Franklin D. Roosevelt The Faith & Politics Institute is hosting a congressional delegation on a Becoming America Pilgrimage to New York City this week, where we will be hearing and sharing immigrant stories of struggle, hope and accomplishment. Read more about the Becoming America Pilgrimage Here
Reflection for the week of July 2, 2013. Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather … (more)
Reflection for the week of June 25, 2013 Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” –Emma Lazarus’ famous poem “The New Colossus” was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1903.
Reflection for the week of June 17, 2013 Responding to a gap is not about starting everywhere but about starting somewhere. Wherever we find ourselves, there are gaps. The gap can be as small and near as people in our own family, town or congregation. The challenge is for each of us to be faithful to discern and respond to the gap God puts before us. Leaders see a gap. They become disturbed. They go out of their way to respond to the gap. This is the beginning of leadership in reconciliation. — Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice, from Reconciling All Things Emmanuel Katongole (Ph.D., Catholic University of Louvain) is associate research professor of theology and world Christianity at Duke Divinity School. He is the author and editor of several books, including A Future for Africa and African Theology Today. Chris Rice (M.Div., Duke Divinity School) spent many years living and working in Jackson, Mississippi, with Voice of Calvary Ministries. He is the author of Grace Matters and coauthor (with Spencer Perkins) of More Than Equals. Together Katongole and Rice are the founding codirectors of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School.