December 12

December twelfth, Christmas Day is Clara Barton’s Birthday (1821). Clara Barton, Universalist and founder of the American Red Cross, is a hero of our liberal religious faith. We remember her around the holidays season since she was born Christmas Day, 1821. But in the season when we recall the angels proclaiming "peace on earth" it seems right to recall one whose life and legacy have done much to realize the angels’ message and who was herself known as the "angel of the battlefield" because of her work on the front lines during the Civil War, providing and managing care for the wounded. After the Civil War most in Congress opposed involvement in foreign conflicts, so there seemed no real point in having a U.S. chapter of what is now the international Red Cross and Crescent Association. To overcome this argument, Barton persuaded the organization to expand its mission to include a commitment to provide relief assistance following natural disasters or domestic emergencies. Her plan worked—and Congress voted to establish the American Red Cross.