Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Rap on Iowa

"If local provincial pride and jealousy arise, and you allow yourselves to speak with contempt of the courage, character, manners, or even language of particular places, you are doing a greater injury to the common cause, than you are aware of."--Rev. John Witherspoon, 17 May 1776

Witherspoon delivered the sermon "The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men," in Princeton, New Jersey in May 1776. In June, New Jersey sent him as a delegate to the Continental Congress. In August, with several other delegates, he signed the Declaration of Independence.

John Witherspoon, The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men... (Glasgow: The Booksellers in Town and Country, 1777), 31. The beginning of primary season in January 2012 invites the usual opportunity to comment on the demographic profiles of different states, regions and cities.

NBC Commentator Andrea Mitchell may come under somewhat undue criticism for suggesting that the State of Iowa differs demographically from the national average in its religious, racial and residential profile. In fact, most states probably different from the national average in some regard. Even her critics must sense Mitchell meant no harsh judgment on the people and culture(s) of Iowa.

Our diversity of faiths and nationalities is interesting and deserving of consideration. We should discuss our diversity, but we should take care not seem to discuss it "with contempt."
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