Greetings from East Jerusalem!
We landed in Tel Aviv on 9/11 at just about 8:45 am Jerusalem time, and the flight attendants decided to commemorate the date with the following announcement:
“As we are about to enter the land of freedom, let’s pause for a moment and remember those who died for our freedom.”
I am remembering the attack on the Twin Towers and those who died, especially Father Mychal Judge, the Franciscan friar who died while caring for the New York firemen he served. I want this world to be one of real freedom for all people. I think we honor those who died in the horrific attacks of 9/11 by living up to the standard this country has held high, a standard that supports self-determination and human rights and freedoms for every child of our race, whether Christian or Jewish or Moslem or any other creed, dark-skinned or light-skinned, citizen or not, Israeli or Palestinian. We are only free when all are free. No one really has human rights all alone, although our Declaration of Independence describes a self-evident truth that God has endowed us with them. They must be supported by community.
Freedom of speech. Freedom of self-determination. Freedom to pursue one’s happiness. Freedom of association. Freedom of movement. Freedom to protect oneself from evil, to live in safety. How we take them for granted, these freedoms. How we miss them when we find them infringed.
Freedoms must be protected by the restraint of evil, but nothing is gained by considering whole peoples as evil. Instead, when we do this, we lose hold of the thread that binds us, our common humanity.
“As we are about to enter the land of freedom…” NO human society really measures up to such a claim, but we must strive mightily that it might be so. Indeed, I feel a prayer welling up inside me. Dear God….Make it so, make it so at home and here. Make it so everywhere. Make it so that we do enter the land of freedom, really and truly, for each child of humanity.