PETALUMA, Calif., July 3, 2015 – Tony Kushner can write. In fact he writes so well, he has received a Pulitzer Prize, two Tony Awards and an Academy Award nomination for best adapted screenplay (“Lincoln”).
Tony Kushner also recognizes good writing.
During a radio interview to promote the West Coast premier of his latest play, “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures,” he made a point of praising the prose of someone whose work features prominently in the play’s title: Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science Church and author of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.”
“Mary Baker Eddy was a really wonderful writer,” said Kushner. “And she writes gorgeously. [“Science and Health” is] endlessly quotable. And I sorta fell in love with it. I didn’t become a Christian Scientist, but I found it tremendously moving.”
To commemorate this weekend’s celebration of our nation’s independence, here’s a timely sample from “Science and Health” that relates both to humanity’s continued quest for freedom and, as Eddy puts it, our “inalienable right” to less suffering and better health:
“The voice of God in behalf of the African slave was still echoing in our land, when the voice of the herald of this new crusade sounded the keynote of universal freedom, asking a fuller acknowledgment of the rights of man as a Son of God, demanding that the fetters of sin, sickness, and death be stricken from the human mind and that its freedom be won, not through human warfare, not with bayonet and blood, but through Christ’s divine Science.
“God has built a higher platform of human rights, and He has built it on diviner claims. These claims are not made through code or creed, but in demonstration of ‘on earth peace, good-will toward men.’ Human codes, scholastic theology, material medicine and hygiene, fetter faith and spiritual understanding. Divine Science rends asunder these fetters, and man’s birthright of sole allegiance to his Maker asserts itself.
“I saw before me the sick, wearing out years of servitude to an unreal master in the belief that the body governed them, rather than Mind.
“The lame, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the sick, the sensual, the sinner, I wished to save from the slavery of their own beliefs and from the educational systems of the Pharaohs, who to-day, as of yore, hold the children of Israel in bondage. I saw before me the awful conflict, the Red Sea and the wilderness; but I pressed on through faith in God, trusting Truth, the strong deliverer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged.
“I saw that the law of mortal belief included all error, and that, even as oppressive laws are disputed and mortals are taught their right to freedom, so the claims of the enslaving senses must be denied and superseded. The law of the divine Mind must end human bondage, or mortals will continue unaware of man’s inalienable rights and in subjection to hopeless slavery, because some public teachers permit an ignorance of divine power, — an ignorance that is the foundation of continued bondage and of human suffering.
“Discerning the rights of man, we cannot fail to foresee the doom of all oppression. Slavery is not the legitimate state of man. God made man free. Paul said, ‘I was free born.’ All men should be free. ‘Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.’ Love and Truth make free, but evil and error lead into captivity.
“Christian Science raises the standard of liberty and cries: ‘Follow me! Escape from the bondage of sickness, sin, and death!’ Jesus marked out the way. Citizens of the world, accept the ‘glorious liberty of the children of God,’ and be free! This is your divine right.”
Eric Nelson writes each week on the link between consciousness and health from his perspective as a practitioner of Christian Science. He also serves as the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Northern California. Read similar columns on his website and follow him on Twitter @norcalcs. This column was originally published in June 2014.