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We may think that we have our problems with Brexit and Britain finding its way back into happier relations with our European neighbours.
Across the Atlantic, President Donald Trump has his problems having failed to persuade his opponents to back his plans for the wall with Mexico. This is despite agreeing to secure temporary rights for the ‘Dreamers’, children who entered the country illegally with their parents. His opponents fear that his proposals go against all their nation stands for, including its history of welcoming incomers.
America’s history owes much to the founding fathers, whose vision was for religious freedom, a vision that was to be embraced by everyone. They valued democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity and equality.
Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the Declaration of Independence, asked a very good question: can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God?
Our national bard, Robert Burns, supported the cause of the American Revolution that led to the Declaration of Independence. He also championed internationalism and the brotherhood of men (and women). As many celebrate his birth this month they will hear familiar words:
‘For a that, and a’ that
‘It’s coming yet for a’ that,
‘That man to man, the world o’er,
‘Shall brithers be for a’ that’.
The values of tolerance, freedom, respect for others and a desire to welcome the stranger are just as important today.
Rev Dr Malcolm Kinnear,
Church of Scotland minister Kinlochleven and Nether Lochaber.