Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What Rosa Parks Gave Us ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What Rosa Parks Gave Us ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Article excerpt

A little over 20 years ago, at the commencement ceremony at Washington University in St. Louis, even more exciting than getting my diploma was the fact that Rosa Parks was there to receive her honorary doctorate.

That day in 1984, because of the huge numbers of people wishing to congratulate her, I didn't get to meet "Mother Parks," as the Mayor of Detroit called her at her funeral on Wednesday. But I felt deeply privileged to have participated in some small way in honoring her.

Her recent passing brought extraordinary honors - lying in state in the US Capitol Rotunda, a massive funeral in Detroit, and the lowering of flags on all US government buildings to half-staff - showing that her legacy remains a unifying force.

Her simple but inspiringly brave refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a public bus in Montgomery, Ala., 50 years ago brought about one of the great steps forward in American history, the civil rights movement.

The liberation of humankind from prejudice, racism, hate, and resentment is an ongoing process. In the American civil rights movement, religious individuals have always had a leadership role. This is a natural outgrowth of one's spiritual development, I believe. What's helped me in my own spiritual growth is the desire to more fully realize the standard we read about in the Bible, when God looked on His creation, male and female, and pronounced it "very good" (Gen. 1:31).

A "very good" creation must involve one in which we all, as God's children, work together in an increasingly cooperative way, a way that is not marked with prejudice or resentment. To me, the basis for this brotherhood has to be found in the solidity of my faith in God.

As I have prayed from this basis, I've found ways to help my own children in their growing up, from avoiding the threat of racial profiling while on the highways and from healing cruel racist comments on the school bus. …

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