With liberty and justice for all: This short and ever-so-popular phrase is a reminder of a vision cast by our founding fathers as they strove to ensure life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for all the people of this nation.
America is deemed the land of the free and the home of the brave, and the Constitution promises citizens of this great country certain inalienable rights, yet, not all citizens have the privilege of exercising these constitutional rights equally. Whether we speak of corporate America, the sports arena or our armed forces, discrepancies have a tendency to creep in that can lead to blatant discrimination.
In corporate America, the ratio of males to females leading Fortune 500 companies is alarming, and it’s getting worse. While women were at the helm of 6.4 percent of the companies on 2017's list, that number dropped to 4.8 percent in 2018. In the sports arena, with the exception of tennis, women’s salaries cannot compete with that of men. Male NBA players boast of multi-million-dollar contracts, yet, the salary cap for the WNBA barely exceeds $100K.
Although the armed forces offer greater promotion opportunities for women than any other entity, a study from the RAND corporation found that the promotion rate at most levels for women was still lower than for men. (VeteranAid.org, “Is there a Gender Gap in the U.S. Military,” Jan 25, 2017).
In an article titled “Corporate America Has a Big Blind Spot on Institutional Racism,” Sophia Nelson suggests that “2016 seems to have ushered in a new era of racism, racial slurs and openly hostile behavior toward people of color, immigrants, and women. It is permeating our institutions, from the local coffee shops to the primetime shows.”
Is there such a thing as liberty and justice for all ?
Serving as a member of the Morning News’ Faith and Values Advisory Board affords me the opportunity to write about issues I believe warrant the attention of the faith community at large. As American citizens, our values would and perhaps should be influenced by the laws of the land, i.e., our Constitution. But what guides the values and morals of people of faith?
My hope is that we would be guided by a document given by our creator as the blueprint for living – a document that places value on all of God’s creation, teaches love and not hate, unity and not division and equality for all.
Although I am in no way surprised by the discrepancies that exist in the secular world (corporate America, the sports arena, armed forces, et al.), I am quite disturbed by the actions of those of us who belong to the church or what some would call “spiritual America.” You see, we have been “called” to do things differently. Our governance comes from on high.
We have been given the power and authority to be the salt and light of the world, and in doing so, while we must live IN this world, we must never allow our actions to be dictated BY this world. We must be a shining light in the ever-present darkness, which tries to muddy our waters and cloud our minds.
The faith community should never be found guilty of the discriminatory practices that raise their ugly heads in secular America. Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age or sex.
While secular America continuously discriminates, we must strive to exterminate every practice that violates the liberties and freedoms given to us, not as American citizens but as Kingdom citizens. You see, while we are citizens of these United States of America in the flesh, we have dual citizenship, as we are also citizens of the Kingdom of God in the Spirit.
I do not have enough space to address every issue that warrants our attention, but I do want to remind us of these scriptures found in 2 Corinthians 3:17 and Galatians 3:28: “Where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” and "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus came to provide liberty and justice for all of God’s creation, therefore, as Christians, we have a responsibility to follow His example. How do we ensure “liberty and justice for all?” Well, in America, our differences should never make a difference. In this country, I am told, all are equal, all are free and all have been granted “certain inalienable rights that were granted by the creator.”
So, what all this means is, in this country, we must strive to provoke a sense of equality among all people, despite their makeup. After all, the Bible, the original constitution, promotes unity and equality among the masses.
As we strive to exercise our God-given freedom, please do not fail to remember: In this country, “all” means everybody. God, in whom we say we trust, would have it no other way.