Monday, December 7, 2009
I have spent a lot of my life wanting everyone to be treated equally. In the early sixties I joined the NAACP and worked for equal housing opportunities for blacks. I went to the March on Washington where I felt part of something very big happening in our country. Integration and racial justice! A lot was achieved, but we are far from welcoming everyone to the American dream. Mexicans and Muslims seem to be the bad guys now.
I grew up in a Catholic Church that saw ourselves as God's chosen. We would be saved. Maybe some others, but they would be exceptions. I remember arguing with a professor in the seminary that it didn't seem fair. Even in this arena I wanted everybody to be treated equally, not just other Christians, but Buddhists and Hindus and certainly Jews. I don't remember thinking much about Muslims in those days. There was a growing conviction in me that God loved every human being the same as every other. I wasn't sure, though, that I should say that out loud.
It turned out that that conviction was growing also in a lot of other Catholics. Theologians came up with different ways to explain it, but there was a growing sense that God did not create 70% of the human race to send them to hell. It finally became official Catholic teaching when all the bishops of the world together told us that "the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every human being the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery." (Vatican II's Church in the Modern World 22)
"All flesh shall see the saving power of God." (Luke quoting Isaiah)