I was told, “This is America, love it or leave it.”

I was 20. It was 1970.

I had to chose between the draft or voluntary service or leaving. But I am a person of privilege. I am male, white, my parents stayed married, I went to college, and my draft number was 342. I could avoid the choice.

But in May 1970 I took to the street to protest the war in Vietnam. On the corner of every block I was told to go home.

I stayed. I got married. I got a job. I raised two children. I paid taxes to the government. I wanted to be better.

I believe in a patriotism that says this government is humane. In its humanity it is flawed as each human is flawed. I believe government can be improved. But my government must believe in liberty and justice for all not just the privileged.

This is the point where my faith life and my public life intersect. We are all brothers and sisters in faith by no choice of our own but because of grace. We are not the chosen people to separate ourselves from the unchosen people.

We are God's hands to create a world of justice in and by grace.

Larry Kiewel

St. Peter

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