Culture of Exclusion
In the present situation of our world, we are becoming more acutely aware of our oneness, our connectedness. What happens in one part of the world in terms of war, use of Earth’s resources, etc. affects us all. However, too often folks are excluded instead of included when decisions or laws affecting them are made. Today we will pray for those who are unfairly excluded from the economic, political or cultural life of society, the rights and benefits of society. In the words of the U.S. bishops: The ultimate injustice is for a person or group to be treated actively or abandoned passively as if they were non-members of the human race. To treat people this way is effectively to say they simply do not count as human beings.” This is in sharp contrast to God’s love that unites us in one human family.
Mantra: In Your Spirit, Youtube.com, Monica Brown
In your Spirit gather us.
In your Spirit open our hearts.
In your Spirit, God, guide and direct our path.
Bishp Robert McEleroy of San Diego has spoken of the culture of exclusion that has grown so dramatically in our nation in recent years. He sees evidence of this in the rise of racial injustice and anti-Semitism—immigrants and refugees being portrayed as a cause for fear and suspicions and Muslims widely characterized as persons not be trusted. He describes the growth of the culture of exclusion not only in specific policy questions in national politics, but it also seeps into the important questions of life and dignity that our society faces.
Let us pray today for those who are being denied or excluded from the basic rights and benefits of society. I will name some, however, you may think of others to include in your prayer.
Refugees at our borders and in detention centers
Persons excluded from the right to vote in safety
Those who have no health insurance or adequate medical care
The homeless who cannot afford to provide shelter for themselves and/or their families
Veterans who survive war but live with the wounds of war
“God gave the earth to the whole human race for the sustenance of all its members, without excluding or favouring anyone.” St. John Paul II
Early on we learn to label others as “outsiders,” while seeking to make ourselves “insiders.” In a book on peace making Fr. John Dear lists those we exclude: women and children, those whose skin color is different from our own, lesbians and gays, the disabled, the elderly or people of different faith traditions, immigrants, prisoners, death row inmates, the unborn or the homeless. As we choose to exclude others and support a culture of exclusion we tear down the web of our common humanity.
Fr. John goes on to ask, “What would an all-inclusive culture look like, where God’s reign is more present here on earth? An inclusive society would value every human being, and create economic and political structures for everyone to realize the fullness of life, dignity and equality in freedom.