Kenneth Patton was one of my ministerial heroes. At the core of his theology lay the idea that all people share a common body of symbols and concepts. These shared icons, often articulated through art, unite us in purpose and community.
When people seek to divide us, they treat those symbols as inviolate. In reality, however, art is art and the symbols all represent the same human feelings and behaviors: Love each other; Do no harm; Respect the world; Honor the gifts each of us brings.
On this eve of leadership transition in the United States, the forces of disunity seem strong, almost insurmountable. Our President Elect seeks unity through fear, acceptance through intimidation, and equality through benevolent despotism. The challenge looms large. We are justifiably frightened for the future. The course of events leaves us bewildered – how did this happen?
Our new President happened because we allowed fear to cloud our reason. We failed to take a stand when oppressed neighbors suffered intimidation. We confused volume with truth and celebrity with competence.
And so, we march. Tomorrow, I join hundreds of thousands on a pilgrimage to our nation’s capital. We march to take back the symbols of universal humanity from those who would desecrate them for profit and sustained privilege. We march for love, for kindness, for respect, and to honor our inherent worth and dignity.
Patton asked the question, “What is equality?” He answered that nothing is equal since every creature is unique and unmatchable. At the same time, everything is equal because every creature is equally unique and unmatchable.
America is already great. Our wondrous diversity makes us strong. Our commitment to democracy, freedom, and equality leads the world. And our journey toward Beloved Community and a religion for one world offer everyone hope for tomorrow in spite of any setbacks.