As I see it, these statements [A new birth and Words that stir something in us, Ken Trainor, Viewpoints, Dec. 5 and 12] all reflect a belief that prior to, beneath, or within a society’s corrupt features, shaped as they are by power, class exploitation, racism, or the oppression of women (even when, in Jefferson’s case, the writer doesn’t recognize his own racism), there is an enduring, eternal realm established by God that is slowly, progressively revealing and asserting the dignity and equality of each person.
Love activates this second realm’s — or Kingdom of Heaven’s — power in the world and makes freedom and democracy possible, even when their establishment might, in any particular context, be limited, and even when that love might draw scorn or hatred from those benefiting from the existing, flawed present.
I think each of the writers you quoted, in one way or another, believed in this deeper, enduring realm of God, even though how he or she would have articulated it would have varied.
Thanks for stimulating such an important discussion.
Chicago (former Oak Parker)