Our Constitutional Mandate to Protect Each Other
On the spiritual level, the domestic violence clause brings together what theologian Paul Tillich envisioned a realm ruled by both power and love. In so-called normal times, government can be a passive operation, ensuring only that certain basic rules-of-the-road are observed. Criminals get punished. Laws in the market place get enforced. Now comes a crisis under the domestic violence clause of Article IV, Section 4 of the U. S. Constitution which requires the federal government to “protect” the people.
“Protect” is a deeply spiritual word. In order to protect, one must know about the people and their susceptibilities. One has to anticipate dangers and take their side in the face of doubt and competing interests. People, all of us, must be treated with the compassion and respect due to all of God’s creations. Protection really means caring for and loving.
Christ’s message, in its brevity, can easily stand for all spiritual teachings in all denominations and shadings of belief. Our job in this world is to revere the divine and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
That message has always been “optional” with humans. There were no worldwide catastrophic consequences when we lapsed from the obligation to love one another protect one another. Not so any more. In the words of the Worldwatch Institute, “…we are the first [generation] to be faced with decisions that will determine whether the earth our children inherit will be inhabitable.” (1987)
So, we are out of time and excuses. Our disregard of each other’s welfare has brought us to a place where we must either love one another and protect one another, or we perish in the creation of a hell on Earth.
Gathering people together to study about and organize under the aegis of the domestic violence clause is activity meant to bring us to a realm ruled by both power and love. The need is so great, the number of people so victimized by environmental domestic violence so large, and the opposition so ill concealed behind an unraveling facade of untruths, that I believe a movement under Article IV, Section 4 is not only doable, it is probable.
Activities under the domestic violence clause are local, national, and international. The clause brings together people of all backgrounds, and unites their efforts. We have had a full measure of thoughtless materialism and selfish individuality. I believe that people want to come together in love.