President Barack Obama has used the phrase, “better angels of our nature” from Abraham Lincoln’s First Inauguraral Address to describe his hope for all Americans. As my small contribution to this new moment in American history; in every speech, lecture, sermon I give this year, I will include these words of Lincoln spoken, March 4, 1861:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained our bonds of affection, the mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Whether in my talks about Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, my lectures during February’s Black History Month, or talks and discussions about the humanity and human rights of LGBT persons, I will remind myself and others of “The Better Angels of our Nature.”

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