Civic traditions of fireworks and celebratory music before national landmarks remind us to celebrate the birth of these United States every July 4. This year’s celebrations were muted with a strange sobriety. Social distancing obviates any opportunity for large gatherings. But even beyond the inability to celebrate physically lurks a deeper divide in this nation. Recent events have revealed the sad and insidious fact that racism still haunts these lands.
In the eyes of God, all persons are created equal with infinitesimal worth. Yet, too often, individuals spur this truth to aggrandize their own egos, degrading entire populations to subhuman categories. The response to this evil has been varied. While some peacefully confront these social problems in order to effect positive change, others have used this as an opportunity to indiscriminately destroy landmarks and even images of Christ and the saints. The bizarre iconoclasm toward images of Christ reveals a different division, one which cuts just as deeply.
The crisis at the heart of America is one of values. It is a question of truth. Do we still believe in the categories of good and evil, or have we deconstructed them to orchestrate personal and political ends? Are all persons worthy of respect, or only those who fit into a particular race, citizenry, or ideological base? St. Paul reminds us that all are one in Christ Jesus. In order to truly combat racism, we must fight this evil with the only thing that can defeat it: the True and the Good.