In the last few years, we have seen variations of this phrase within concentrated movements: Black Lives Matter. Police Lives Matter. Unborn Lives Matter.
What unites all of these movements is the subject at hand — life.
All humans should see the value in other humans, but often that's what's missing from the conversation. This isn't to say we change the message to "all lives matter," as if to diminish the importance of oppression and marginalization experienced by some more than others. We must remain attentive to specific needs, and must not use these movements as a maneuver to maintain a political divide.
These divisions show that we still struggle with the overarching message that we must uphold the dignity of all our fellow humans. So how do we do it? With joyous hospitality. This means welcoming the stranger as we would our families, ending divisions within our communities and our politics, working toward justice for all, and respecting all life from conception to natural death.
In this issue, we share several examples of how the value of human dignity is upheld.
Next month, The Good Shepherd Gallery exhibits Henry Chaney's photographs depicting the positive moments amid the unrest in Ferguson. Peaceful protests, positive interactions between protesters and police, and portraits of black people "doing normal, everyday things," as Chaney said, are meant to give the viewer "a sense of the value of a person, just the value anybody has a human being."
On July 25, the Missouri Senate passed during a special session pro-life legislation that will protect the health and safety of women and unborn children and provide protections for pregnancy resource centers.
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson lauded the measure, which he said "will save the lives of unborn children, safeguard the health and safety of women, and protect the freedom of pregnancy resource centers to hire whom they choose. Ultimately, the worth of this special session will not be determined by the money spent, but by the number of lives saved, of which we may never have an exact accounting."
And thousands of miles away in LaPaz, Bolivia, priests of the Archdiocese of St. Louis are working hand-in-hand with religious and laity to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the Latin America Apostolate. A collection to be taken up in parishes Aug. 5-6 will take funding to the peripheries and continue the archdiocese's tradition of helping others in need.
Cause by cause, we must all move forward with the radical notions of hospitality, joy, unity and dignity for all.