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The Boston Globe


Burns Stanfield and Stephen Kendrick

As Mass. debates taxes, a lesson from John Winthrop

In 1630, John Winthrop crafted a sermon on board the Arbella for an early wave of Massachusetts Bay colonists from England. “We must be knit together . . . in brotherly affection,” and “make others’ conditions our own,” he preached. Invoking Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, he held high for the colony an image from the Sermon on the Mount: “We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.”

For almost four centuries, that vision has continued to animate American public discourse; and today, Winthrop’s words are pertinent to the renewed debate on raising new revenue in Massachusetts. We faith leaders in the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization congratulate Governor Patrick for initiating this debate, and we call upon our fellow citizens to be guided once again by our first governor’s vision of a Commonwealth grounded in justice, mercy, and provision for future generations.

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