Friday, February 06, 2009

America's Best Leaders

Recently US News & World Report identified the 24 best leaders in America. It is an interesting list. The list includes business leader Jeff Bezos of Amazon, film maker Steven Spielberg, athlete Lance Armstrong, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and 20 others from the arenas of education, science, government, non-profits, music, health and military.

The interesting omission to me was the arena of religion. In their opinion there was no religious leader worthy of note. A by-line to the article was, “This year’s Best Leaders are the kind of people who can help lead us out of our doldrums.” Really?

First, I mean no disrespect to those honored and recognized on the list. Those names that are familiar to me I esteem for what they do and those names not familiar to me were impressive in their brief descriptions.

Second, I certainly see the necessity of national defense, health care, education and a strong economy. But friend, people are more than their physical and natural needs. We are spiritual. We are a soul within a physical body. The integration of self, loving connection with others and personal engagement with the Creator are not secondary issues.

I’m totally aware that there are divisive, arrogant, obnoxious and irritating religious leaders. There are those types in every arena of life. Without naming names I can point you to religious leaders that run organizations and inspire armies of volunteers to feed the hungry, provide housing, do job training, build a variety of bridges to dozens of ethnic groups, establish health clinics for the poor, and facilitate scores of compassion based efforts toward those in distressing circumstances.

If some anti-religion types had their way they would prefer that all types of religion be removed from society. I would suggest that one think that through to the logical conclusions. If Christianity were totally removed from this country, and from the world for that matter, I believe society as we know it would self-destruct.

Congratulations to the 24 Best Leaders. Thank God for the thousands of religious leaders who continue to add a rather invisible service and value to our lives.

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