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respecting the dignity of others

I have been watching and listening to the current political conversations in our country with growing dismay and concern.  Regardless of where one stands on the political spectrum, as Christians our call is the follow the way of Jesus, and as Episcopalians one of our baptismal vows is to respect the dignity of every human being.  What does it mean to “respect the dignity” of another?  At the very least it seems to me that it means to see the other as of inherent worth, to know that the other person is a child of God, worthy of respect simply for being a human. Which, I think, implies that to respect the dignity of others means we don’t engage in denigrating, labeling, and engaging in or inciting violence.  I am well aware that political campaigns have been “ugly” in the past, and probably will be again in the future, but if those of us who claim the name of Christian do not call ourselves to a higher way of life, who will?

Jesus called us to love one another.  Can we learn to embrace the love which is also respect?  Can we gain the courage to speak up in the face of violence and hatred toward others?  Will we refuse to be corrupted by the politics of division, and instead understand that truth that we are part of the one creation, all beloved of God, all of inherent and infinite worth?  And if we can’t and don’t, who will?


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