Headlines from the New York Times for Tuesday, May 9, 2017
John McCain: Why We Must Support Human Rights – SOME years ago, I heard Natan Sharansky, the human rights icon, recount how he and his fellow refuseniks in the Soviet Union took renewed courage from statements made on their behalf by President Ronald Reagan. Word had reached the gulag that the leader of the most powerful nation on earth had spoken in defense of their right to self-determination. America, personified by its president, gave them hope, and hope is a powerful defense against oppression.
As I listened to Mr. Sharansky, I was reminded how much it had meant to my fellow P.O.W.s and me when we heard from new additions to our ranks that Mr. Reagan, then the governor of California, had often defended our cause, demanded our humane treatment and encouraged Americans not to forget us.
In a recent address to State Department employees, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said conditioning our foreign policy too heavily on values creates obstacles to advance our national interests. With those words, Secretary Tillerson sent a message to oppressed people everywhere: Don’t look to the United States for hope. Our values make us sympathetic to your plight, and, when it’s convenient, we might officially express that sympathy. But we make policy to serve our interests, which are not related to our values. So, if you happen to be in the way of our forging relationships with your oppressors that could serve our security and economic interests, good luck to you. You’re on your own.
In the real world, as lived and experienced by real people, the demand for human rights and dignity, the longing for liberty and justice and opportunity, the hatred of oppression and corruption and cruelty is reality. By denying this experience, we deny the aspirations of billions of people, and invite their enduring resentment.
America didn’t invent human rights. Those rights are common to all people: nations, cultures and religions cannot choose to simply opt out of them.
Readings from Isaiah 53.4-5 for Tuesday, May 9, 2017
The power of God is not used to crush his enemies. When his Servant (Jesus) has been crushed, he gives back love, mercy and healing. As God’s people throughout history have imitated the Jesus-kind-of life, the power of this way of living is revealed by the good that takes place in the lives of people who encounter it.
Isaiah 53.4-5 – Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
Prayers for Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Dear God, thank you for your intense suffering, so that we could be made whole. May we learn to live the Jesus-kind-of-life.