Monday, January 10, 2011

What Values Does the US Celebrate?

In the wake of the assassination attempt of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the killing of six and the wounding of eight others, I ask, what are our country's (USA) values?

The sides come out trying to affix blame. Liberals point to Palin's encouragement of her followers to 'reload' in the face of the tea party candidate's defeat in the election. The right wing distances themselves from the shooting by finding ways to show the accused gunman is not one of them.

The reality? The gunman was an American. He's one of us all. A product of our country where a severely disturbed man cannot get the kind of treatment he needs in health care, but has no difficulty getting guns to shoot another human being. So what are our values?

Caduceus 9801 (Silver Spring, MD)

This is our country. We make the laws by voting for the people to legislate our beliefs. Even though we are polarized to the extremes and a great many people fall somewhere in the middle, we must all own responsibility in the blame for not taking care of our own. So what are our values?

In Christian Scriptures (I Corinthians 12), it speaks of being one body in Christ. Within that body full of extremely different parts it states "If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?" (King James Version used for copyright purposes, more contemporary link above.)

I submit we are one country. One nation under God (just because it doesn't say it anymore doesn't make it not true), indivisible, i.e. one body.

one nation under God indivisible

I stand accountable. I grieve for the loved ones of the six who lost their lives.

John Roll, 63 years old, who was a federal district court judge. Gabriel Zimmerman, 30 years old, who was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' director of community outreach.
Christina Green, 9 years old, who had just been elected to Student council at Mesa Verde Elementary. Dorwan Stoddard, 76 years old, a pastor at Mountain Ave. Church of Christ. Dorothy Morris, 76 years old and Phyllis Schneck, 79 years old. Their photos can be seen here at

I pray for the full and what will, no doubt, have to be a miraculous recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The question I pose to myself and others. What can you and I do to make a difference? How do we stop mentally ill people from running loose on the streets and gaining access to guns? What must be done to change the way the US manages its priorities?

US Flag

Or do we think that since it doesn't happen very often and only to a few, we don't have to change? Is one life worth it? A thousand? One hundred thousand?

As a Christian, my standing orders are: a good shepherd leaves the safe and secured 99 sheep and goes after the one in danger.

On all sides of the political scene, let's stop pointing the fingers and investigate what we can do to make a difference.

Stand up for the value of a single human life. Let it not matter whether from this country or across the world, whether following my beliefs or something else, whether sick or well, whether murdered by the drug cartels in Mexico or shot by the Taliban or a sick young man on the streets of the United States of America.

Let our value of each human life celebrate our decency and respect of God's creation. Let's make our values stand up and be counted.

Thanks to flickr friends who share their beautiful photos.

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