Updated: Jun 11, 2021
When I pose to you this question, Who is entitled to dignity?, it likely sets your mind toward answers like: someone who is worthy of respect, someone who has proven themselves to be of high moral standards, someone who has accomplished great things.
In this framework, dignity is near the top of the ladder of life. Something we attain after we have lived a while and proven ourselves worthy of the dignity of others.
Allow me to up-end this notion. Let us think for a moment that dignity is the stable foundation for life's ladder. That before we accomplish anything, we start with the grounding of dignity. As we step from rung to rung, we increasingly need for that stable foundation to remain stable. For dignity to remain.
If our foundation on dignity starts to shift, our ladder becomes unstable and the chance of falling is imminent. And once we fall, getting back onto the ladder can be a daunting task.
And if the stable ground of dignity is missing, it may be impossible.
The first principle of Unitarian Universalism is the inherent worth and dignity of every person. This is our stable ground. And something we share, whether we are still on the ladder, have fallen once, or many times.
Can we make it a priority in our lives to shore up the stable ground for all those we meet? To act in ways that affirm dignity? How can we extend this to those we may never meet? These are questions I want to spend my time, energy and resources on.