There is a proverb which says: "perfect love cannot be without equality."
Equality is one of the ideals of democratic society and it refers to a state of being equal especially in status, rights, and opportunities. Some of the areas humankind is still fighting for equality are age, disability, gender, marriage and civil partnerships, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. Although some progress has been made globally in the general improvement of equality there is still a long way to go.
There are different kinds of equality including, racial equality, gender equality, political equality, social equality, economic equality, workplace equality, and equality of opportunity.
I am referring to equality in a general sense with reference to the BVI. We cannot with a clear conscience say we have full equality within the Territory. As I see it equality is a work in progress. We have come a long way from the days when the church would not baptize a child, born out of wedlock to unconfirmed members of the congregation, during the worship service on a Sunday. The parents would have to travel to Road Town during the week on an appointed day to have the child baptize.
During the 1950's and into the mid 1960's secondary education was very selective. Comprehensive Secondary education began in 1968. When the Legislative Council was restored in 1950 voters were male who satisfied a literary test and candidates for election had to meet the stipulated property qualification. Universal suffrage came in 1954.
Some B V. Islanders were treated as second class citizens or inferior, by those who exalted themselves, according to the village where they lived. I can go on listing examples of inequality in our history: but I have shared enough examples to illustrate that we have made some progress toward equality but have to address many attitudes and relationships which mitigate against equality.
Frances Wright's view on equality has some merit: "It will appesr evident upon attentive consideration that equality of intellectual and physical advantages is still the only sure foundation of liberty, and perhaps can only be obtained by a union of interests and cooperation in labor." We seem to be throwing equality in opportunity outside when we fail to select the best equipped and suited person for a position and install friends and kin. We do not have equality when we have"square pegs in round holes" and the "round pegs" are"kicked downstairs."
When this hsppens we stifle our freedom because "equality is the soul of liberty."
Barbara Gittings reminds us that"equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts anf minds of the community where it really counts." The advice of Ruth Bader Ginsburg hits home: "Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next genrtation."
When this happens there will be no need to go to court to secure child support. Calvin Coolidge in speaking to his people youched an issue which merits considerstion: "Our hovernment restd upon religion. It is from that dource thst we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberty, and for the tights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles they cannot believe in our government."
Let us remermber what Proverbs 22:2 says"?Rich and poor have this in common, the Lord is the maker of them all." and the spostle Paul's admonition to the Galations:"There is neither Jew not Greek, slave nor free, male noe female, for you are one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28)
- Dr. Charles H. Wheatley