The gospel according to Aretha Franklin says: "R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means to me."
Biblical wisdom teaches: "Give everyone what you owe him. If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor." (Romans 13:7 NIV)
Last week, a group of senators, many in the leadership of the majority Democratic Party, asked for a meeting with a small group of interfaith religious leaders. Their topic: climate change. The Senate now has a bill that will soon be up for a vote and the 10 senators wanted our feedback -- and also our support. I was asked to say a few words.
As an explorer, Columbus was not the first to reach the Western Hemisphere. Native Americans had been here for 10,000-20,000 years, and Vikings and Chinese are among those others who hold prior claims. Even after four attempts, Columbus never realized his goal of finding a western ocean route to Asia. As a “founding father type figure” he never set foot in what is now considered America but landed in the present day Bahamas, Cuba, and Haiti.
As a Christian example he enacted terrible cruelties to friendly natives: assuming unlawful rights of authority; robbing and subjugating whole nations of their freedom and entire capital; allowing his men to rape, murder and pillage at will; and deliberately leading the way for the genocide of millions, considered by many to be the worst demographic catastrophe in recorded history.
So why do Americans celebrate Columbus Day?
Well color me happy (as the saying goes): Wal-Mart just released a big claim to be greening up its act. But what does their claim really mean and how do we define what corporate green looks like anyway? Especially since lately, corporate green seems to grow everywhere, at times fertilized by a healthy dose of corporate greed.