“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from
land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gate3s shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!”
Withe silent lips.”
“”Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Over the centuries, this has been our vision, lived out, welcoming those who are driven from their homes by violence, by a lack of hope, and by the greed of a few taking from the many. People have arrived over the years, finding a land that did not necessarily welcome them, in fact many were told in no certain terms to go back – they were not wanted. But they held on, joined in the struggle to achieve freedom and to find a place to raise their families. It has never been easy to be accepted, and today, many still are not.
We present a vision of hope with the words above inscribed on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty. We hold as a beacon, the words “All men are created equal,” while at the same time, living the lie. We continue the struggle today, to make these words become real; to live them, not just say them. We struggle to become inclusive, recognizing that we depend on one another; we need each other and we are all created equal by a loving God. Men and women of all races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, come to create a new home and to share in the responsibility of giving flesh to our words.
Throughout history, we continue the struggle to live the expressed ideals that gave shape to this nation. We have a vision, but all too often fail in living up to our words: We have accepted and condoned slavery, racial segregation, the suppression of those Native Americans who lived on this continent, sexism, and religious and racial prejudice from the beginning until the present. And yet, we still engage in the struggle to form a “More perfect Union.” We realize that life itself has been struggling to grow for millions of years on our fragile planet. We also realize that we live in a very imperfect world, filled with wars, greed, ignorance, and death. We struggle to achieve life; to continue to grow and be a shining light to the world. We struggle to remember that all life, all humanity, is but a guest on this fragile planet. We share a common responsibility to make it livable for all and to nurture life in all it’s shapes and forms.
And God created them, male and female, in God’s image he created them and He told them to care for the world that they were given; to care for all living plants and animals, and for one another. Creation is the image of God; not destruction of places or peoples.