New Thought Editorials > Enlarging a Blessed Territory

 

Summer 2000

Enlarging a Blessed Territory

Around Independence Day, it may occur to us to remember the phrase eternal vigilance, uttered in a 1790 speech by John Philpot Curran: "It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." In other words, we are punished by our sins, not for them; in this case, the sin of neglecting the freedoms guaranteed to us by the Constitution of the United States of America. Critical thinking, the basic skill of evaluating ideas both positively and negatively, is an essential part of our job as good citizens. The ideas of a minority may be closer to the principles of the Constitution than the ideas of the majority at a particular point in history. Those minority ideas must therefore be free to emerge.

Democracy, as I noted in my very first editorial, can get noisy and messy at times. This is how we look out for the interests of minorities along with our majority rule. It may be neater and sweeter to sweep dissension under the rug and, like a firm parent with a small child, decree what we think is best; but that does not ensure that everybody’s interests are fairly represented.

The New Thought movement is noteworthy in that it does not require the swearing of allegiance to any creed, and the International New Thought Alliance is a democratic organization. These two facts, coupled, leave INTA members free to hold whatever beliefs they wish. However, there is a set of generally agreed-upon parameters for New Thought, a sort of middle position; and with amazing conciseness and harmonious agreement, they have been set down in our Declaration of Principles. Individuals are free to disagree with any or all of them, which safeguards the rights of minority beliefs or minority philosophies.

Similarly, in a democracy, no person and no group is preferred over any other. Pantheists are not preferred over panentheists, liberals are not preferred over conservatives, degreed people are not preferred over non-degreed people, and clergy are not preferred over laity. We are all interconnected mingling minds, as Quimby put it, mutually correcting in our continued search for truth.

INTA is not a club, nor is it a speaker’s bureau; it is a clearinghouse for all New Thought ideas and viewpoints. No one person can claim to speak for all, nor, like some benevolent despot, know what is best for others. We can, however, recognize and honor outstanding ability. Henry Ford once remarked that the man chosen to sing tenor in the quartet should be the man who is able to sing tenor!

This issue contains much outstanding ability: another Treasure from the Archives, a response by scholar Robert Winterhalter to the last Treasure, a report on the recent Parliament of World Religions by Marietje Venter, and articles by well-known New Thought authors Stuart Grayson and Margaret Stevens, along with an appreciation of Catherine Ponder, and our usual columns. Enjoy!