Secular Activism: The Burden Of The Message

Are you prepared to tell people who have no justice in this world that they will have no justice in the next world either? The summer after teacher’s college, I worked for Community Living taking developmentally and intellectually disabled people to a summer cottage retreat. One of the realest moments of my life was when a camper with Down Syndrome broke down crying because he believed he would never have a girlfriend.

Whoever sold us the fairy tale that life was fair? They couldn’t, so they sold us the fairy tale that the next life will be fair.

I saw the movie Champions today, which was a wonderful uplifting film about aspiring Special Olympics athletes and their quest for success. I highly recommend it! One thing I’ve learned as a teacher is that success means different things to different people. For a high powered attorney, success may mean arguing a difficult case effectively, whereas for someone with schizophrenia success may mean a successful trip to the grocery store. This is what teachers mean by emphasizing a student’s personal best. Nietzsche made a similar point that a successful lawyer could be a miserable alcoholic, just as a prisoner can make a fun game of dancing in her chains.

We are all benchmarks unto ourselves: The standards of the world be damned.