Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

suffragette

 

This used to be the way America looked at women voting. And to be honest, some of these jokes are still around. But for the vast majority of Americans, we accept that women have the right to vote. Even though it’s not in the original Constitution.

That’s an important ‘even though,’ since far too many of my colleagues of the right believe that only what is in the original Constitution — as interpreted by them — should be law. Same w/ Bible citers: if it’s not in the Bible, I hear, it’s not okay.

software

via pixabay

My point is that much of what we celebrate — what’s obviously the right thing to do by contemporary standards — wasn’t the ‘way’ in historical times. We used to own slaves. We used to practice eugenics (Indiana state law in 1907; more than 64,000 women involuntarily sterilised between 1907-1963). We also used to burn women at the stake, screaming ‘witchcraft!’ These are all illegal now, even though slavery and witchcraft are both in the Bible, and NOT in the Constitution.

We can — and should — change, as our understanding of the moral universe evolves. Our laws too should grow, reflecting the ways in which we revise our own beliefs. Nothing — certainly not faith — is static. Nor should it be. I have no desire to go back to a time when hands were cut off for theft, nor other barbarous legal sentences.

This is a gentle reminder: have you examined your belief system lately? Have you updated its compassion and social justice software? If not, it may be time. Even the best systems need renewal. Don’t we all?

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