U.S. founders’ goal of equality for all still worth pursuing

Byram /
| 07 Dec 2023 | 08:52

    December brings us a special time of celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas. Wouldn’t now be a good time to take a look at and appreciate our Western Civilization that is bolstered by ethics born of these two connected religions: Judaism and Christianity?

    The Jewish belief of God choosing them and giving them a knowledge of his goodness helped move humans in that part of the world out of tribalism into being a people - a civilization where each person is valued as an individual.

    Then, in Christianity, when Jesus instructed us to address our creator as “Our Father,” it immediately put every person on an equal footing, whether slave or free, rich or poor.

    Over the following tumultuous and violent centuries and millennia, the Vandals, Goths, Visigoths, Angles, Saxons, Vikings and many other barbarian tribes slowly overwhelmed the Roman Empire. At the same time, they became enamored of the Greco-Roman’s arts, government structures and also the Christian teaching of “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    The realization that cooperation and respect for others could be a nicer way of life brought about another struggling period of kings and kingdoms getting increasingly interwoven and the absolute power of kings slowly being diminished.

    During the Middle Ages, both Christians and Jews not only saved the written word and ancient philosophies in the West but developed centers of study that became our universities and inspired the pursuit of scientific and philosophic knowledge, opening our eyes to our incredible world.

    Luckily, even through times of incredibly corrupt or ignorant leadership, these faiths were able to self-correct over and over, thanks to the faithful.

    The United States had founders steeped in these philosophies and faiths who attempted to create a system of fairness and equality on a scale never known in history. Here the least powerful, poorest person for the first time was to have as equal a vote and opportunity for advancement as the richest person.

    However imperfectly we citizens employ this system, it is still a shining star to reach toward.

    As we see tribalism rearing its ugly head again in Western countries, the U.S. is especially vulnerable, with its built-in generous welcome to all people. That diversity allows enemies so many ways to exploit our jealousies and differences, overshadowing the great equality that is the illusive but worthy goal of our country.

    In the end, whatever our belief system, let us all send up a little prayer or hope in this holy season for peace and understanding.

    May God bless us all.

    Luann Byrne