All citizens of the United States should have equal access to opportunity and justice. This idea is enshrined in a founding document of our country. The Declaration of Independence says:
“… all men are created equal… they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights… among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”[i]
Our society, however, is marked by significant inequality between African Americans and White Americans.
To give just a few examples, U.S. census data reveal dramatic differences with regard to income:
In 2016, the median income of White households was $99,313, while that of Black households was $16,539 (Table 1). In 2016, 22% of Blacks lived in poverty, while 11% percent of Whites lived in poverty (Table 3).[ii]
With regard to education, 34% of Whites had completed 4 years of college or more, while 23% of blacks had completed four years of college or more in 2016 (Table A-2).
These census figures demonstrate clearly that equality has not been achieved between White and Black Americans in their “right” to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.[iii]
According to the Bible, Proverbs 31: 9
“Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”
We have a moral responsibility to recognize (not ignore), express our concern publicly (“open thy mouth”), and work to address the basic needs of the poor.
There is never a wrong place or a wrong time to call for social justice and racial equality.
And this idea is enshrined in the Bill of Rights:
“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”[iv]
By the way, none of the founding documents of our country (The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States, or the Bill of Rights) makes reference to a “flag” or what a citizen’s duty is toward a “flag.”
The flag is an important symbol to many Americans, but the status of the flag is separate from our responsibility to advocate for those less fortunate and for equality of opportunity, and the status of the flag is irrelevant to our right to freedom of speech.