Affirmative action and the court of Spirit

A Christian Science perspective.

Affirmative action has always been a sensitive topic, with passionate arguments on both sides of the debate. And the issue is coming to the fore this year, as the US Supreme Court considers the affirmative-action case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.

According to Abigail Fisher, the plaintiff, she did not get into the University of Texas, when she applied in 2008, because she was white. She argues that the university’s affirmative-action policy favored others. “Depending on how the high court rules,” The Christian Science Monitor reported during oral arguments last October, “it could lead to public colleges and universities across the country dropping the consideration of race in admissions decisions.”

As the mother of two young African-American children, I didn’t find this news encouraging. I feared for what might happen when they apply to college. It seemed so unfair that their chances of attending college might be thwarted at a time when more and more African-American students are becoming college-bound.

But as I struggled to get a clearer view of the situation, I realized I could resort to a higher power – even higher than the Supreme Court – to see that there would be justice and equality for all. I could resort to God, the divine Principle of the universe, who governs and protects all. The affirmative action I needed was to affirm that the supreme action of divine Principle was in charge, placing all His children exactly where they needed to be. No one could take their place or push them out of their right place, nor could they take anyone else’s place. God’s children are never separated from His care or provision.

I reminded myself that God, divine Love, never plays favorites. Each of His children is valued and precious in His sight. Each has a God-ordained mission to fulfill. And our Mother-Father God supplies each of us with all the resources we need to complete our mission, including a good education. There can be no need to compete for a limited amount of good. Furthermore, God doesn’t give His children special talents and not give them the resources or the opportunities to grow and develop them – God takes us all the way and gives each of us the ability to reach our full potential. That means that neither politics, prejudice, nor limited resources can interfere with God’s plan. His law is in operation; nothing can overturn, block, or check it. It also means that we can expect to see legal decisions that are a blessing to everyone. As Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, wrote, “Let Truth uncover and destroy error in God’s own way, and let human justice pattern the divine” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 542).

Mrs. Eddy wrote elsewhere in Science and Health, “Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul” (p. 60). Soul’s infinite resources are indeed blessing all God’s children. Their future is safe and secure in His care. This is the supreme affirmative action that never fails. 

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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