The Soul of America

Liebmann: The soul of America

We face a spiritual battle for the soul of America. And yet, rather than address our real mutual enemy, we bicker amongst ourselves about the color of our uniforms. We the people, of all faiths and beliefs — religious and spiritual people, caring and thinking people — have allowed the enemy to define this battle. We have allowed the enemy to keep us separated by pitting us against false threats. We have allowed the enemy to label us — Catholic and Protestant, rich and poor; Muslim and Jew, conservative and liberal; agnostic and atheist, black and white; believer and nonbeliever, gay and straight. And by accepting these labels, we divide our forces and allow a united enemy to undermine our common core values. Who is the real enemy?

  • Obamacare is not the enemy. The enemy is our indifference toward the plight of the uninsured.
  • Abortion is not the enemy. The enemy is our failure to embrace God’s gift of sexuality and to treat that gift responsibly through education, medical treatment and birth control. 
  • Unions are not the enemy. The enemy is our runaway greed and the misguided and dangerous notion that a corporation possesses the same inalienable rights as a human being. 
  • Women are not the enemy. The enemy is our culture of machismo that sanctions abuse, domestic violence and rape, blaming the victim rather than the men who commit these cowardly acts.
  • Gay people are not the enemy. The enemy is our fundamentalist arrogance that presumes to know all truth about human nature, and to punish anyone who does not share our personal vision of cosmic design. 
  • Guns are not the enemy. The enemy is our ignorant belief that by refusing to regulate the sale of guns, we protect democracy and are not directly responsible for thousands of innocent deaths each year.
  • Terrorists and immigrants are not the enemy. The enemy is our complacency in accepting undeserved privilege and failing to correct the imbalance in our society and our world.
  • The poor are not the enemy. The enemy is our failure to apply capitalist theory correctly and our amnesia regarding our responsibility to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. 
  • And lastly, religion is not the enemy. The enemy is our dogmatic assertion that any one religion possesses unique ownership of truth, or is the sole recipient of divine providence.
Until we come together — Christian, Muslim, Jew, agnostic, atheist and people of all faiths and beliefs — we will never get past this current civil war. Until we come together, our enemy will win the battle for the soul of this country. Until we come together, indifference and irresponsibility, greed and cowardice, arrogance and ignorance, complacency and amnesia and dogmatic pride will control our lives.

This enemy will stoop to all manner of evil to keep us enslaved — enslaved in the cycle of poverty, racism, homophobia, misogyny and religious intolerance. But we have the power to disarm our enemy of these weapons. We have the ultimate weapon – a weapon our enemy cannot use.

And that weapon is love. Until we love each other unconditionally, indifference and irresponsibility will undermine our society. Until the privileged love the poor and oppressed, greed and cowardice will rule our governments. Until Christians love non-Christians, arrogance and ignorance will stifle common purpose and action. Until we love everyone regardless of their gender identity, skin color, social class, ethnicity or personal theology, then complacency and amnesia will doom our people to violence and hopelessness. Until we reject the labels our enemy pins on us and unite as Americans, dogmatic pride will define us as a nation.