The Common Good

Prophets and Profits


Without a doubt, the collective American experience stands upon the foundational DNA of the initial major settlements of Jamestown and Plymouth Rock. In Jamestown, commerce, trade, markets, and profits landed upon the eastern shores seeking to enlarge the tent of economic opportunity and the coffers of England's economic powerhouses. Up north, the Puritans sought an opportunity for free exercise of faith via the conduits of conversions, worship, community, and service.

In essence, our nation began with and still reflects the mitochondrial strains of faith and markets, prophets and profits, cathedrals and banks. At times it seems Plymouth Rock and Jamestown stand juxtaposed, facing opposite directions, at odds, indifferent and empathic in defense of the status quo. The question arises: Can these two threads coalesce around the nexus of the common good? Absolutely!

The incorporation of a moral framework as it pertains to the economic markets of our nation, one which addresses poverty and inequality, serves the community, and seeks to enrich all Americans will at the end of day serve as a firewall against greed, uber-materialism and apathy. Imagine for a moment a collective community reinvestment act where justice and charity no longer exist as a public relations strategy derived from a corporate activities portfolio, but rather one where these services stand front and center as the primary metrics of efficacy and success.

Let this generation see firsthand the creation of a bridge between Jamestown and Plymouth Rock where both will reconcile around the commitment to "Love mercy, Do Justice and Walk humbly before God."

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr. is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, an organization of Hispanic evangelicals.

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