Posted by: morgan1965 | February 19, 2018

Presidents’ Day & The Common Good

During this 2018 President’s holiday weekend, I want to invoke some words from former President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, as I ponder my world view. Lincoln in part said: “…It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth.” I do not want us to lose focus on the words, “government of the people …by the people… for the people.”

When it comes to my world view, it matters not whether I am a democrat or a republican. It does matter that Jesus was neither a democrat, nor a republican. Jesus was one who loved all of humankind so much that he sacrificed his life for all of us, with no exclusions or exceptions.

President Lincoln sought to pursue the common good during his presidency. He presided over a nation engaged in a divisive civil war. His political and moral leadership, however, sought to preserve the union. From his perspective, the right thing to do was to preserve the union for all the people. It was not a matter of republicans and democrats, confederates and yankees, northerners and southerners. It was a matter of a democracy for all the people.

Have we lost the common core that embraces the common good? Some elements of the common good are water systems, highway systems, sewer systems, public transportation, electric grids, telephone grids, air transportation, Medicare, social security, Medicaid, public safety, the judicial system, etc. These are the right things for government to provide for the people. I cannot imagine these major systems being in private hands that are driven by the profit margin. In reality, life transcends the individual and includes all the people, the community. For the common good, society needs to strive to be on moral ground, and embrace the values that are good for all the people.

As a matter of human decency, politicians should strive to do what is right. Christian teachings provide the moral foundation for my world view and values. First, Micah 6:8 gives excellent guidance in determining the common good. “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Second, Jesus directs us to love God, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. This is the great commandment. We are to care for one another when and where there is a need.

Third, John Wesley outlined our task in plain language in the following quote attributed to him:

“Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.”

These three dynamics inform my world view as a Christian. What about you?

As Christians, we help our neighbors through the church and a variety of nonprofit organizations. It is through the government, however, that we help huge segments of our population. It is our moral values that enable society to make right decisions on behalf of the common good.

Let’s take a brief look at the current example in the public eye, the Florida school shooting (17 persons murdered). What about the children? Does anybody care about our children? Will anyone do the right thing to protect our children, as well as all adults? My moral sense on behalf of the common good suggests that we should ban all assault rifles, ban all bump stocks, ban all assault rifle ammunition, and expand the background check protocol.

Let’s allow the conversation to begin by having all members of the House and Senate who have received campaign contributions from the NRA return those contributions. Also, the Congress can refuse to accept all such contributions in the future. These actions would benefit the common good.

Think About It!



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