Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dignity for all

Dignity of human life -- all human life -- is the cornerstone of Christian social justice philosophy. In other words, if God created people in his image then all people are deserving of some amount of respect.

I was reminded of this lesson today at Homeless Connect Operation Stand Down. Homeless folks from all over the city converged at the Municipal auditorium in hopes of finding what most of us take for granted. Vision tests, medical exams, haircuts and socks were all in high demand. I watched the guys getting their haircuts and each one smiled the instant they sat down in the chair and had someone pay a little attention to them.

Major Cherry Craddock of the Salvation Army told me a story to illustrate this idea of treating people with dignity. When she and her husband were stationed in Altus, Okla., an older gentleman would come regularly for a bag of groceries. With a smile, she would give it to him, always addressing him as "Mister." One day after getting his bag, he paused: "You know," he said "You're the only person that calls me mister."

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