Although I may not effusively show evidence of this, I am patriotic at heart. With all of the violence and negativity going on in the world, our country included, here are ten things that make me hopeful to be an American:
1. The response of the church and religious organizations to the influx of child refugees from Central America. Some religious institutions are even choosing to transcend their theological differences and network with each other to support the youngest victims of the drug war that our country helped to start and continues to perpetuate.
2. There is a satanist group petitioning to put their statue next to the donated Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma. I love that we have these freedoms in America. Whether you agree or not does not matter, what matters is that we still have the fundamental right to disagree with our government and institutions.
3. Mega church pastors, like Mark Driscoll, can be taken down by the same public that elevated them to guru status. Americans can still use their brains and actions to discredit religious leaders without being burned at the stake.
4. Gun toting Texans can freely walk the streets with semi-automatics strapped to their backs and children on their hips. While there are many who do not like these actions, the point is that people have the right to demonstrate their beliefs whether others agree or not.
5. Education is free. In many countries around the world, education is not free and this is one of the reasons used for blocking education access for girls. If the family does not have the money, the boys will be sent to school, but not the girls. I have three daughters, I am very thankful to live in a country that values the education of girls and women.
7. Women have access to birth control. I am thankful that women have this option. That anyone would argue against safe contraception is something that I cannot fathom.
8. Companies can say, “no” if they don’t want you as a customer. I recently saw a post on fb, a restaurant put up a sign saying pretty much that they did not allow families with young children to dine in their establishment. While I am sure that this has produced outrage on both sides, as a mother and a restaurant customer, I think that this strategy is a win-win. You know up front as parents with young children where you are not wanted and you know up front as adults who wants to get away from young children where you can find that option.
9. We have free access to social media. This global network is the primary means of generating grass roots movements and political activism around the world, no wonder dictatorships spend huge amounts of time and resources trying to block access for the masses.
10. There is still a division between church and state. While this may be upsetting to some, we need look no further than countries like Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Iraq to recognize some of the obvious problems of merging church and state.