“To be human is to be personally responsible for a good measure of one’s life.”
On February 4, 1968 Rabbi Olan returned to a theme that he preached many times: the reciprocal relationship between freedom and responsibility. As Olan looked at American life in the late 1960s, it troubled him to find so many people wanting freedom and so few people willing to take responsibility for their own lives or for the needs of others. He repeated his thesis that “Freedom without responsibility is anarchy” several times in this sermon, as if trying to get through to someone (anyone) with a conscience who might be listening.
More than fifty years have passed since this sermon was originally broadcast, and it is time to consider how we are we doing on the freedom = responsibility equation today. As a society, are we investing ourselves in the hard work of creating a more just, equitable, and sustainable world? Or have we merely perfected the art of finding alibis, making excuses, and rationalizing abdication?
Where are you (and where am I) on the spectrum personally? Will the next generation of Americans inherit blessings or anarchy from us? The choice – and the responsibility – is ours.
*Written by Tim Binkley*