Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.

He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
~ Micah 6:8

"I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristicks of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation."
~ His Excellency, George Washington
Circular to the States | Sunday, 8 June 1783

Some thoughts:

* Black Lives Matter. Period. No buts.

* The response "All Lives Matter" to the Black Lives Matter movement is the equivalent of the "Seamless Garment" response to the Pro-Life Movement. Standing alone, they are nice-sounding and even laudable sentiments. Juxtaposed against the justice movements to which they are a response, they have the effect -- and perhaps even the intention -- of undermining those justice movements.

* Both / And. It is entirely possible to criticize, protest, and call for the reform of shortcomings in society and in our criminal justice system that unduly and negatively impact the lives of African-Americans, while at the same time criticizing and calling for an immediate cessation of ongoing riots resulting in violence and destruction of personal property.

* Order precedes justice, and BOTH precede freedom. In a review of a biography of Founding Father and first Chief Justice John Jay a few years ago, The Imaginative Conservative noted: "a civ­i­lized so­ci­ety must have order, justice, and free­dom. The se­quence is es­sen­tial. With­out order, noth­ing can func­tion. Once order is es­tab­lished, jus­tice can come into being and once order and jus­tice pre­vail, freedom can arise and flour­ish." The rioting and violence needs to stop -- order needs to prevail. Only once order is established can we then move to the very necessary work of seeing that justice toward our African-American brothers and sisters can be achieved. There is much work to be done. Liberty and freedom follows from that. If only some of us are free, then none of us are free.

* Walk a mile in a man's shoes. If you don't fully understand what Black Lives Matter is all about, try to put yourself in the place of those who do. Not the violent rioters who hijacked the legitimate protests in order to push for revolution. No, I'm talking about putting yourself in the shoes of people for whom their skin color makes every traffic stop a "What if ...?" And even if you think that's BS (and it's not), at least have some empathy for the individuals who do feel that way. Ask yourself why they feel that way. And try to imagine that there might be some legitimacy to their concerns.

* Rioters and their apologists are not showing much mercy to anyone who gets in their way. Beatings and even deaths have occurred. Homes, businesses, livelihoods, life savings, neighborhoods have been destroyed. Most often, those hurt by the destruction are those for whom the protests are supposed to help. And the response of the rioters and their apologists? "F*ck 'em, they have insurance." No, not all of them do. And it's not even clear that insurance will cover riot damage. As others have pointed out, this elitist response is the "Let them eat cake" of this particular crisis (and with the previous crisis and the "Let them eat cake" response of the very same elites -- COVID, remember that? -- not even over yet).

* We need to stop seeing people as nothing more than the sum of their skin color and their political beliefs, and start loving them as individuals and fellow human beings. It's okay to disagree. It's not okay to hate. In fact, it's imperative to love.

* Needless to say, EVERYONE could use a good dose of humility right now, including yours truly. No one has all the answers. No one is right all the time. No one is wrong all the time. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that is going to work for everyone. There is no magic wand that can be waved to fix everything. There is no ideological solution that is going to bring about Heaven on earth. Contemplate that you might be wrong about something. Imagine that your ideological opponent might be right about something. Think about ways you can serve others humbly and without regard to whether they might think differently, look differently, smell differently, live differently than you do.

* Seek something higher than yourself. For many, that will be God. Seek HIS will in your life and in this world, not your own. "THY will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." That's not a call for Utopia; that's a call for you to be like Him, to seek Him, to reflect Him in living out your life. For a sadly increasing number, that "something higher" will not be God. For you, seek out what there is to love about humanity. Seek what it is that compels you to do good for all, not just most or some. Seek out what there is to love in EACH individual person, as a person, even when you dislike or disagree with them -- seek that individual's personal well-being, by seeing them as an individual, not as a statistic.

* Pray.


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