|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Fully Alive”
Our Bible verse for today: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!” Psalm 133:1 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “The more we get along, the happier we will all be.”
Recently they published the annual list of “The Best U.S. Presidents”. It’s an annual survey of over 150 prominent historians who rate the greatness of our Presidents based upon their performance in a wide variety of categories. The top five are almost always the same every year – Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, FDR, Dwight Eisenhower, and Teddy Roosevelt.
Teddy has long been one of my favorites. He was an inspiring leader who accomplished significant things and who had a lasting long-term positive impact on the nation. Unfortunately, there’s a famous quote attributed to him which, although he did say it, is often misquoted and /or taken out of context. It’s this one: “There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism … There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American.”
Teddy made those remarks on Columbus Day 1915 while speaking to the Irish Catholic Knights of Columbus. Irish-Americans were notoriously clannish and had little to do with anyone who was not of Irish descent. Catholics believed theirs was the only legitimate expression of the Christian faith and all other professing Christians were actually going to hell. So, to be an Irish-American Catholic was to be part of an exclusive segregated cultural group who shunned virtually everyone else.
Teddy’s message was that they needed to get over themselves and learn to get along better with others. His meaning was not that its un-American to enjoy and celebrate our various cultural heritages, only that we should not be clannish and exclusive about it. We need to get along with, interact with, learn to live with, our fellow citizens, and focus on the things that unite us rather than on our differences.
This brings me back to yesterday’s devotional message. As Christians we need to be serving as peacemakers in our society to the greatest extent possible. We need to be helping our fellow citizens come together. That doesn’t mean that we set-aside our cultural differences or that we can’t celebrate our Italian or Hispanic or Asian heritages. It also doesn’t mean that we compromise values and principles that are important to us. But it does mean it’s in all of our best interests to get along rather than to fight so much.
The truth is that the more we make an effort to get along, the happier we will all be.
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