To all my USA family and friends happy Fourth of July!

We can indeed celebrate. The Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. It initiated a revolutionary political change, which had global implications. Representatives from the 13 American colonies, a coalition of transformation, rejected the authoritarianism of King George III and British control over the colonies.

George was a model authoritarian ruler. (The only thing he lacked was a Twitter account.) When he assumed his nation’s highest office, he had no previous governmental experience. He was born wealthy. Never worked for anyone. Although he became his nation’s commander in chief, he had never served in the military.

For his every move, he relied on a secretive, eccentric advisor bent on reshaping the nation’s political order. Demanding absolute loyalty, the new authoritarian ruler did not trust anyone more popular than he was, and he detested all opposition. He took advantage of severe insomnia to grab his pen quill —day and night — and write often bizarre, negative notes about people with whom he had big and small complaints: cabinet ministers, generals, and citizens. Nothing was too great or too trivial for his authoritarian critical pen.

George gathered around himself a group of loyal authoritarian followers: a coalition of restoration to make his monarchy great again.

The challenging question in 1776 was transformation or restoration. The thirteen American colonies decided to become a coalition of transformation: creating a new, democratic government independent from England. They chose not to build a coalition of authoritarian followers, that would enable King George III to manage and manipulate them according to his own self-centered authoritarianism.

Authoritarianism is something leaders and their followers generate when they create a coalition of restoration — longing for the imagined good old days — to maintain control. It often occurs in times of socio-cultural change, when too many people close their eyes, stop thinking, and allow fear to replace faith.

We live in a time of tremendous socio-cultural change. A heyday for authoritarians, with their closed systems of power and authority.

The collapse of a critical social consciousness begins when authoritarian followers unquestioningly submit to their leaders. Loyalty is demanded and rewarded. Cheap slogans become truth statements. Fiction becomes reality. Gradually authoritarian “leaders” are allowed to do whatever they want, which is often undemocratic, amoral, tyrannical, and inhumanely brutal.

In today’s world, we have ample examples of people surrendering to mind-distorting authoritarianism, which spreads like a cancerous growth. We see it politics, but it is out there in church as well.

Humanity, human rights, human dignity, compassion, and collaboration. These are the values that healthy leaders promote. Whether civil or religious, leaders and institutions must be challenged to promote people not denigrate them. When they begin to deny the human dignity of every man, woman, and child, institutional structures and leaders must be changed. We need to build coalitions of transformation.

This week, for example I am delighted to read that half a million Catholic women in Germany demand access to ordained ministry (priesthood). Germany’s largest Catholic women’s organization has for the first time called for the ordination of women to the priesthood, passing a unanimous resolution to this effect in a Federal Assembly in Mainz. Now that is what we mean by a coalition of transformation. Change can happen.

People thinking and collaborating to construct new frameworks, with new language, new images, and new inspirations.

Happy Fourth of July!

Another Voice is back……..

15 thoughts on “The Fourth of July : An Historic Coalition of Transformation

  1. As always, a thoughtful and astute reflection, Jack. A happy 4th to you and yours. And in the spirit of your optimism about change, God Bless the Resistance!

  2. Happy Independence Day to you too, Jack! Thank you for this inspirational writing. God bless the women of Germany. May their movement spread worldwide. I’m “in”!

  3. Yes, and I have grown to appreciate that this administration in its hurry to “deconstruct the administrative state,” omits any spiritual values–even true patriotism to a real country, but more important, compassion, justice, and equality–spiritual values that George also did not know in any sense of the word. It is like part of their human DNA is missing–while women in our day and age in a general kind of way are trying to restore them–in politics, in religion and in sexuality.

      1. Welcome back from vacation, Jack. Keep us informed on the women in Germany. Celebrate Independence Day in Louvain..

  4. Welcome back, Jack, and a Happy Fourth of July to you as well. Ironic, isn’t it that “Independence Day” is for so many just another day of being held back and/or minimized. Let’s hope those who struggle for liberty for all both in civil and church arenas will be able to point to a day when true liberation occurred and our descendants will be able to celebrate that real moment. As usual, you inspire!

  5. Thanks, Jack! A great reminder, a star to fix our gaze on, democracy, as the president would turn us into an authoritarian state, tanks and all! Blessed are those who fight for truth and compassion.

  6. Thanks a lot Dick for your astute analysis of the “ample examples of people surrendering to mind-distorting authoritarianism” while also highlight the encouraging fact that “change can happen”!

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