Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Praying 2015 Is Less Political

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Praying 2015 Is Less Political

Article excerpt

At the close of the past century, British conservative historian Paul Johnson wrote "A History of the American People."

He posed, on the very first page, three probing "fundamental questions" about the United States.

First: "Can a nation rise above the injustices of its origins and, by its moral purpose and performance, atone for them?" Second: "In the process of nation-building, can ideals and altruism -- the desire to build the perfect community -- be mixed successfully with acquisitiveness and ambition, without which no dynamic society can be built at all?" Third: "... Americans originally aimed to build an other-worldly 'City on a Hill,' but found themselves designing a republic of the people, to be a model for the entire planet. Have they made good their audacious claims?"

Johnson's questions still stand.

Despite a stock market surging to record highs, a sense prevails that something is very wrong in America.

Big and troubling questions regarding issues of race and law enforcement stand before us.

Gallup shows a precipitous drop in the opinion of non-white Americans regarding the ethical standards of police. The latest polling shows 23 percent of non-whites rate the standards of honesty and ethics of police officers high or very high, down 22 points from 45 percent in 2013.

It is not a sign of national health that a large portion of our population feels disenfranchised and vulnerable to what they perceive as arbitrary and capricious behavior, sometimes deadly, by those whose job it is to protect and serve.

To what extent is this phenomenon a symptom of something bigger?

Today's black sense of vulnerability is different from what it was in the past. Vulnerability in the past was the result of inadequate legal protections. Blacks' historical struggle was about recognition of their essential humanity and equal rights and protections as citizens under the law of the land. …

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