Equality as a societal goal has been a major component of the post-Enlightenment world. From the assertion of the Declaration of Independence that all men are equally endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—or the French Revolution's cry for Égalité! that cast down the monarchy (and the civic order), the notion that a just society ought to fight for the equality of its members is written into our collective consciousness.
Equality in the eyes of God has been a Christian notion from the beginning, rooted in the Hebrew understanding of the human person. This Judaeo-Christian view of equality admits of diversity in the way in which life is lived, however, and recognizes that equal dignity is manifest in different ways. The Christian is called to strive always for the earthly coming of the kingdom of God by reflecting and respecting the divine dignity present in each human person.
Despite the shared recognition of the importance of “equality” between post-Enlightenment societies and Christianity, however, important distinctions arise. There is a difference, for instance, between “equal justice under the law” as striven for by the American ideal, and the Reign of Terror’s method of enforcing equality among those who disagreed with just how equality was to be accomplished during the French Revolution.
When nuanced distinctions arise around seemingly agreed-upon terms, how are we to proceed? It is difficult as a Christian to fight against a thing named “equality,” and yet this is what some are now deciding to do in order to preserve their ability to operate according to a vision of the human person not shared by all. In a pluralistic society, how can competing visions of the world operate (or cooperate) when concepts as fundamental as equality, sex, personhood, and liberty are radically disagreed upon? Such is the question we must grapple with today - and that's unlikely to change any time soon.
What is the vaccine for the deeper pandemic of discouragement?
Yet another institution grapples with youth sex abuse and coverups.
New second-century scrolls from the Old Testament books of Zechariah and Nahum (along with other treasures) were uncovered in the caves of the Holy Land.
The First Draught
To receive the Weekly Update in your inbox every week, along with our weekly Lectio Brevis providing insights into upcoming Mass readings, subscribe to The First Draught.
The Grittiness of Catholicism
In the second chapter of "Letters to a Young Catholic," Weigel explores the grittiness and historicity of Christianity, focusing on the bones of St. Peter in the Vatican excavations ('Scavi').