This I believe…
I believe in the power of words; of declarations; of affirmations. I, like all of us, have been shaped by numerous oaths and prayers. These range from the Boy Scout Oath to The Apostle’s Creed to The Pledge of Allegiance. We need ideals. They make us trustworthy, righteous, and patriotic. Words tell us who we are, who we belong to. They make us social.
They also make us go to war. Loyalty implies separation. That country and that religion and that culture are less. And seeing anyone as less allows us to behave in ways that are harmful and demeaning. By narrowing the group to which we feel connected, we widen the group we feel justified in exploiting. And history is all about exploitation backfiring. But it is also about changing attitudes.
I believe that it is time for an oath that recognizes that we are all connected. Because we are. We are more than Americans or Christians or boy scouts. I am. We all are.
More effective than laws are the values we internalize. Attitudes towards other peoples and other species are molded during childhood. A successful model for instilling values, via a daily oath in schools, is America’s Pledge of Allegiance.
We, we everywhere, we in all countries and from all religions, need more words than that. I believe it is time for a World Pledge:
“I am part of a vital unity linking me with all humanity and humanity with all life,
and I resolve to act accordingly so that each may prosper and all may continue.”
I believe in the power of words…
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