Ten years ago, I completed and published my second novel, The Hamsa. The Hamsa is about human dignity, the fact that every child is born with human dignity, that it has NOTHING to do with race, religion or status in life, that NO ONE can take our human dignity from us. We can give it away, but NO ONE can take it from us unless we allow them to do it. The story spans nearly three decades from 1918 to 1944. It concludes in Auschwitz though throughout the manuscript, I chose to use the Polish name of the town, Oświęcim in lieu of Auschwitz.
Through two years of intense research, writing and contemplation, I learned many important truths while creating the manuscript.
The first truth:
There are no bad men. All people are born good and remain good – loved unconditionally by God – until they die.
The second truth:
Too many good people make too many bad choices.
The third truth:
A second bad choice will not neutralize the first bad choice and make it good.
The fourth truth:
The fact that one man makes a bad choice is no reason for 10,000 to make bad choices.
These truths became noticeably clear to me as I researched the Third Reich. Most recently, we have seen clear evidence of bad choices and the level of havoc that results from them across America. I find it important to acknowledge that good men making bad choices are not specific to America 2020 as some would like to have us believe. As I review history, I identify good men who have made bad choices in every country, in every age, by every race, by every religion, and by every political and sexual persuasion.
Understanding that deep human flaw, Jesus taught us his most valuable lesson when he interceded on behalf of the adulterous woman. “Let him without sin cast the first stone.” If the Shema and loving your neighbors are the two greatest commandments, this is the third.
Because one man or ten men make bad choices is no reason to characterize all men and the groups they are associated with as bad. One policeman or ten policemen who make bad choices are no reason to call policemen bad. One man or 1,000 men who choose to steal and loot do not make all men bad.
God’s gift to homo sapiens is the freedom of choice. It is time for each of us to examine her conscience. How am I exercising my freedom of choice?
Despite what you might have been taught by well-intentioned mentors in the 50s and 60s, we were not born with original sin. We were born with original goodness. It is in our DNA. We inherently know the difference between right and wrong. It may only require a deep breath to slow down and to clear our minds as we exercise that special gift, freedom of choice. It is easier than you might think to do the right thing.
Consistent with my assertion that every child is born with human dignity, I agree with Sacramento Kings NBA announcer Grant Napear: All lives matter. Mr. Napear lost his job this week for making that statement. The inherent goodness and dignity we are born with support his choice – a good choice – to verbalize that universal truth.