Saturday, January 19, 2019

A Couple of Great Quotes

     This last week was the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.  In honor of his life, I'd like to share a quote from him:
Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion.  The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody.  Not a few men who cherish lofty and noble ideas hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different.
     And since Martin Luther King, Jr. modeled much of his philosophy on those of Mahatma Gandhi, I'll share one from Gandhi as well:
Those who believe religion and politics aren't connected don't understand either.
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, January 12, 2019

An Old Motto for New Times? Part 2

     Class is back in session, and I've been seeing your hands wave all week.  Have a seat and let's continue our discussion.

     Last week I was promoting the idea of adopting "E Pluribus Unum" as a motto for everyone because I think that the next step in our earthly evolution is learning to recognize that we are all one.  Each contributes to the whole.  Each deserves respect.  Each has unique gifts and viewpoints which makes the whole stronger.

     But, you ask, what about the other motto, "In God We Trust"?  Are you throwing out God in this equation?

     Not at all.  I believe in God and talk to Her every day.  But when we say, "In God We Trust," some may argue:  "Whose God?" or "Which religious tradition?"  Is it the God with white skin and a long, white beard?  Or the one that exists inside every cloud and under every rock?  Is it the God whose Name cannot be named?  Or is it the one that lives within our ancestors?  Religions often promote a tribalism which has not proved beneficial through our history.

     My second issue with "In God We Trust" is that it can be disempowering.  It can make one feel as if we are handing God all our problems and saying, "Here.  Fix it."  That is, in my opinion, a form of magical thinking.

     The motto "E Pluribus Unum" recognizes, I believe, the contribution we each can make toward fixing our world problems.  And there are many.

     A sub-motto to "E Pluribus Unum" might be:  "Get to work."

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, January 5, 2019

An Old Motto for New Times?

     Sit right down, class, for today's history lesson.  Make yourself comfortable.

     Many years ago, when my country was young, the founders created a Great Seal and adopted the motto "E Pluribus Unum" in 1782. What does that phrase mean?  It means, in Latin, "out of the many, one."  They recognized, even then, that honoring our diversity and respecting everyone's contribution to our nation made us stronger.

     Then what happened?  Let me tell you.

     Back in the 1950s, during the Red scare and the start of the Cold War, our country decided to set ourselves apart from communism and its atheism and adopted an official motto, "In God We Trust."  By order of President Eisenhower in 1956, this new motto replaced "E Pluribus Unum," which had never been made the official motto by law.

     I think that, during these difficult times, we need to go back to "E Pluribus Unum."  And we need to make it the motto for every person everywhere.  Why?  Because if we recognize and honor the contribution of every person and every tradition and every ethnicity, we become stronger.  The opposite -- to push away others who are different -- creates ill-will on both sides, and this creates instability and chaos.  We need to open our hearts and minds and honor the best of what everyone has to offer.

     I honor you.  We honor each other.  From many, we can be one.

(image courtesy of pixabay.com)