• Thoughts on our times
    July 10,2013

    Thoughts on our times

    As a child of the 1960s and 1970s I was caught up in the hub of the era of the various human rights movements: civil rights; women’s rights; gay rights; right to sexual freedom; ERA; reproductive rights (which followed closely on the coattails of our new sexual freedoms).

    Here are a few thoughts about those times:

    They all started out with somewhat of an altruistic purpose, that by them we would change the world to be a better place in which to live.

    There would be opposition to these changes, from without and within. Various methodologies would determine in which way we would go to secure these rights. Some would be very hard-earned.

    What we may not have considered back then, being in the middle of something so raw and undefined, this idealism of ours, is the consideration of the cost: of the personal sense of accountability and moral responsibility by which our words and actions would be held in our efforts to effect change. Given the hindsight of 50 years we can better assess these rights in lieu of their ramifications, of difficulties incurred, of personal and corporate costs, and of consequences, temporal and eternal.

    What of our culture today, armed with this same altruistic outlook? Does freedom now mean to us that we have the right to do basically what we think or feel without recourse or consequence of action? Do we realize that rights still have a flip-side to them?

    Is Edward Snowden, former NSA contractor, a prime example of persons who believe not in any moral accountability save to themselves? What have we been buying into as a culture? Practically speaking, when things go wrong, as they inevitably do, whom do we expect to pay for the damages? Human nature gone wrong, as in the Garden of Eden, tends to play the blame game, even though they were given very real consequences of their actions.

    Today our fallen nature is vastly overlooked by the words and actions of sages who may not have learned of the flip-side of the idealism of those who went before them, their personal, public and/or corporate hubris being their prime motivator.

    It’s time to stop and think not so much of the rights we should have, but the truth that is the bedrock behind those rights. We tend to ignore this, probably out of some fear we might find. If we can conquer this, we might find out that we should pay a little more serious attention to the one who truly gives us the opportunity to discover the meaning of His love and true human rights.

    Thomas Welsh


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