Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thoughts on Justice This January

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

This January has had me thinking a lot about justice and what it looks like to me. January 11 was National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Then this week, on Monday we celebrated the second inauguration of our nation's first black president and Martin Luther King Day and yesterday some celebrated and some mourned the forty year anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. I'm going to take this point by point.

First of all- human trafficking. I am so glad awareness is being brought to this issue. Peyton and I are still learning about it ourselves, but it's one I think is vitally important. One thing I really like is that this is one issue that can and does seem to cross party lines. I'm so encouraged to see more and more people trying to educate themselves on it. When I say Peyton and I care deeply about "social justice" this is one of those areas. Social justice does not have be a concern- it should not be a concern- that only liberals lay claim to.

Secondly, the inauguration and MLK Day. I was a bit overcome by it round one (and the post doesn't do my emotions justice- I wrote differently four years ago and my blog served a different purpose). However, this time, I felt it more. I was a bit surprised by that. I watched the widow of one of Jackson's slain heroes, Medgar Evers, pray at the inauguration and it was powerful. Just knowing that part of a powerful legacy that rose up straight out of my town was now part of such a historic moment as well really struck me. Most of y'all know that I'm very, very proud of the South. I adore it. But there are parts of our heritage that horrify me- the dirty, humilating parts that this women represents defeating.

Only they're not defeated just yet. Not entirely, anyway. I challenge anyone to tell you we live in a "post racial" America because we have a black president. I challenge you to spend a little time here, in my city, and tell me that. I love so much about this place and I have such pride in my home, but like all things fallen, it's got a brutal, ugly side and being dismissive of that is not in my nature.

On the day of the inauguration, I heard someone refer to the president as a thug. I was blindsided, and truth be told, I let my emotions get the best of me. Racial language does that to me. Really, any kind of discriminatory language does- I really don't do "retarded" and "fag". They make my blood boil.

But it did more to me than I was prepared for. I think part of it is the increased sensitivity that comes with being a mother, part of it is that I've become more concerned with justice issues that I used to be, and part of it is personal reasons that I'm not totally ready to go into a lot of detail about (rest assured, I'm confident I will at some point).

The plethora of King quotes, however, on my Facebook and Twitter did my justice loving momma soul some good, though. 

Finally, Roe. I was sad yesterday and I read a lot of other people's thoughts on the matter (many of which I'll link y'all to next week). But today, I was startled to find this article about current perceptions surrounding the issue in the United Methodist Church. Really, I shouldn't say I was started. We saw it coming. But I was frustrated and disheartened, nonetheless. Basically, the article framed abortion in the context of a justice issue, when in fact, those perpetuating abortions are doing a grave injustice to whole generations of Americans. I was appalled and I posted a response to it . I'll share that in my link up next week, as well.

For now, let us heed the words of Dr. King and reject the temptation to passively accept evil without protest and the temptation to put our individualistic concerns above the broader ones of all humanity.

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."


Rawls said...

That is crazy you are so obsessed with taking a picture at a certain time you have to wake your children up.

Sarah Denley said...

I wouldn't do it if they weren't such great sleepers. They either don't even wake up or they go right back to sleep, so to me it's NBD!