Evolving Justice

Scales-of-JusticeIf your childhood was like mine, you were taught to obey the law to the letter.  The rule of law was deemed a supreme value.

It is a mistake, however, to equate the rule of law with justice.  The concept of justice evolves as a society evolves.  Laws are enacted and revoked according to the current felt needs of a society or whim of the lawmaker. Sometimes that means fear and the need for self-preservation.  At other times that may mean greed and a desire to hold on to power and privilege.

As a person of faith I have a vision of a just society where each person has full human rights and is treated with dignity.  While I understand the need for the rule of law and I respect it, I will evaluate every law according to the vision of the promised land of my faith.

My ancestors could leave crushing poverty and military oppression by physically leaving the lands of their birth.  We do not often have that opportunity.  More often the promised land is not another place, but the future of the places where we live.  We must engage in the hard work of shaping our society into the more just society we see by faith.  That requires we set aside both fear and greed, we sacrifice our desires for power and privilege, and we move from the felt need for self-preservation to the self-sacrifice that love compels for the good of others.

Live according to the law of your land, but work to help make those laws just.

 

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