Conceived in Liberty
“To every people the land is given on condition. Perceived or not, there is a covenant, beyond the constitution, beyond sovereign guarantee, beyond the nation's sweetest dreams of itself.”
Abraham Lincoln thought of America as “an almost chosen nation.” He believed that we had a providential role to play in the world that was almost as sacred as God's covenant with the Hebrew people. When he wrote the words of the Gettysburg Address, “...our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” he did so because he held us to a greater purpose, a higher calling.
Since its inception, we have believed this country to be “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” We have often fallen short of that mark—with our Native people, with our black and brown people, with our women—but we were still trusted around the world as a land where freedom rings. I feel very sad that, in the course of one week, we have allowed the destruction of the “sweetest dreams” of ourselves, and turned back two hundred years of progress. There is an older, deeper covenant to be honored here that is neither represented, nor respected, by the protectionism and cruelty of this new leadership.
Winona LaDuke, outspoken advocate for the preservation and protection of tribal lands, says this: “Whether you have feet, wings, fins, or roots, we are all in it together.” When a people do not honor the covenant between themselves and their creator, they lose the land they cherish. Consider for a moment the ancient text of the Old Testament and what happened to the Hebrew people whenever they went astray—they found themselves either in exile, in the wilderness, occupied by an enemy force, or worst of all, in captivity. All of us, whether footed, winged, finned or rooted, must do what we can to hold on to the promise of liberty and justice for all—or else, there may be liberty and justice for none.
In the Spirit,