09 February 2007

Dignity, Justice, Peacemaking

Over at the God’s Politics blog, Diana Butler Bass writes an interesting post: Paying Respects to Anna Nicole Smith.

The following text really caught my attention:
Christian tradition connects justice and peace with the practice of respecting the dignity of every person. The idea that every creature is dignified, related to God, formed in love, and connected to the whole of the universe forms the center point of Christian theology and ethics. Respect for each person in the web of creation supports the work of justice and peacemaking. Without a profound spirituality of human dignity, practices of justice and peacemaking may slide into the realm of power politics. The baptism liturgy strongly implies that without respect for human dignity, there exists no motive to strive for God’s justice and peace.
I agree with Bass that the dignity of every human person is somehow central to Christian theology. I am aware that some will think that this sort of idea risks going down the slippery slope to secular liberalism, but I think there is a good Christian case for the essential dignity of every person and Bass makes that point well.


Michael Westmoreland-White said...

I can see (sort of) how this applies to Ms. Smith whose money and fame were often envied, but was never respected. I still wonder at the state of our media that she was "news," though.

PamBG said...

I think that in this particular case I was actually more focussed on the ideas behind what Diana Butler Bass was saying than I was focussed on the context.

That said - as you point out - there are numerous other theological reflections one could do about why Anna Nicole Smith was a focus of media attention.

What society thinks is worthwhile and also issues of envy and rivalry. I'm no great fan of the press but, at the end of the day, this stuff sells papers, so it's grabbing the attention of of the readers.

Kievas said...

Here's another blog by Tony Woodlief that addresses the issue well (in my opinion).

Deb said...

What is it about humanity that we give press to the saddest, sex objects among us and not to the noblest, most joyous ones...

And the press does seem to go after the worst of human experiences, which is sometimes a good thing (think AIDS, Darfur, etc.) but many times is simply an exploitation to sell papers.

And THAT annoys me..

Shawna Renee said...

I loved this post by Diane as well. I liked how she showed it was the church's job to respect the dignity of everyone. May be Anna Nicole's life would have been different if someone had shown her that respect.

My thought on this post are here.