Reflection On Justice
Throughout history, people have written scores of books and given innumerable speeches on virtually every topic under the sun. And seemingly in every culture in every era, there have been prophetic thought leaders that have been able to put their finger on both the good and the bad of each society. One of the topics most illustrated is the topic of Justice. And while books and speeches vary in length, what is often remembered are a few ‘soundbites’ from the full body of work. The danger with that is that over time mere quotes can be misattributed, misunderstood, or worse, taken out of context. I always recommend reading or listening to the full body of work. However, quotes can be useful in reflection when given space to consider why that thought mattered then, and what bearing it has on us now.
As we’ve been reflecting on justice the last few weeks, here are some of the more profound quotes we’ve come across. Take them in and let them go to work. Shalom.
Charity is no substitute for justice withheld. — Often attributed to Augustine (354-430)
We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)
Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just. — Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)
Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy. — Wendell Berry (1934 – present)
It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. — James Baldwin (1924-1987)