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Notes and News

Notes from Fr. Greg Kimm, Pastor

Inauguration of the President, 20 January 2009

As all Americans are aware, the inauguration of our 44th president on January 20 is a moment of particular historic significance for our nation. While not wishing to take anything away from the pride and celebration of our African American sisters and brothers, I'd like to point out that Mr. Obama's election to the highest office in our land represents not only the progress of the African American community but also, in a wider sense, the wonderful diversity of these United States. Just look at the new president's background and family: his father was a member of the Luo tribe of Kenya; his mother, a white woman from Kansas, later married a man from Indonesia; his half-Indonesian sister is married to a Chinese Canadian now residing in Hawaii; his wife, a native of Chicago, is the great-great-granddaughter of a slave in South Carolina.

Tempted as we may be to think that we have come very far as a nation, it is important to remember that there is still much work to be done. Traditionally, we Americans have been very slow to insure that all people have access to the freedoms we cherish, much less embrace the diversity of our country. It was only decades ago that a Chinese person was not permitted to marry a Caucasian person in the state of California; that black people had to sit in the back of buses in Alabama; or that Protestants all over the United States were worried that a Catholic president would take his orders from the pope. Today, many Americans continue to feel the sting of discrimination, including women, people with disabilities, gay people, Native Americans, and recent immigrants. The ugliness of the November 4 election, with its vicious attacks over candidates and controversial issues, proved that we still have a lot to learn about showing respect for differences.

A different place of origin does not negate the origin that all people have in God. A different appearance does not negate the image of God in which all people are made. A different status does not negate all people's status as God's children. A different set of beliefs does not negate God's belief that all people are valuable. As Christians, we are called to love without regard to differences, to love even those people who are different from us.

Rev. Gregory Ng Kimm