What does it mean to insure domestic tranquility?

By Rev. Jon Powers - Guest Columnist

We began this week with the national holiday to remember and honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, we end this week with the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. These bookends of this week’s events are both iconic and ironic.

Both men are symbols of radical change. One has profoundly accomplished that; the other’s capacity to do so remains uncertain.

One certainty, though, is that when Donald Trump places his hand on the Holy Bible and promises to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,” he will be committing himself and his administration to, among many other things, the Preamble of the Constitution, which includes a core principle of our democracy: “To insure domestic tranquility.”

Given the harsh uncertainties of our young nation, the phrase “insure domestic tranquility” was our founders’ commitment to preserve civil peace so that everyone could live their lives without fear of social strife. Yet domestic tranquility literally means “peace at home” – not just in our streets, but in our homes.

Domestic tranquility is, indeed, the core fabric of family values. Domestic tranquility is the core of the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” governs the top eight world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism).

For those of us who are Christians, we are bound to domestic tranquility in all our actions: “I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-31 ESV).

We have yet to see how these commitments to domestic tranquility will play out over the next four years, and there may be little we can do to impact that at the national level. Domestic tranquility in Delaware, however, is something we can address. Here is a powerful example of what we can do:

Delaware Sheriff Russell Martin is a community leader whom I deeply admire. His public integrity and personal faith are lived out in every bone of his being.

Sheriff Martin has taken a bold stand on domestic tranquility in Delaware: “Domestic issues and domestic violence,” he says, “continue to be among the most common incident types that we respond to throughout Delaware County… second only to thefts.

“This community has some wonderful programs and partnerships for victims of domestic violence, but a safe shelter is a key component, not only for victim safety, but to get these victims on the road to recovery and independence, to give them help and hope. With a community that continues to grow at such a rapid pace, we are overdue for a safe haven for victims of domestic violence.”

Sheriff Martin, with a host of other caring community leaders, is doing something significant to confront this challenge. They are seeking to create a Turning Point Domestic Shelter here in Delaware.

“By definition,” these leaders write, “domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another… Our job is to heal. But, sadly, our job is in high demand.

Studies indicate Delaware County is in desperate need of a safe haven for victims of domestic violence. Each year, a current or former partner physically assaults 980 Delaware County women between the ages of 18 and 64. In addition, civil protection orders requested by individuals in Delaware County increased 60 percent from 2007 through 2012.”

A Turning Point Shelter to help insure domestic tranquility in Delaware is a cause to which I commit myself with my whole heart. I invite you to join us to make Turning Point Delaware a reality in 2017.

By Rev. Jon Powers

Guest Columnist