Justice is what love demands

By Gerald V. Paul

Here’s the sad news, Eyesers: a mere one percent of the world’s population will own 50% of the world’s wealth.

By the way, the top one percent of Americans controls some 40% of that nation’s wealth. Go figure.

Increasing poverty and widening gaps in developed and developing countries between the “haves’ and the “have-nots” the “included” and the “excluded” and between the rich North and the poor South, is a crying shame. This is not just.

As I have witnessed in South Africa, rich people are unhappily living in fear behind gated communities – and a researcher there said rich people have a shorter lifespan.

This brings us to the church, especially the Black church, in part because some whites prefer to have their own church, carrying the Bible, heading down the road of perdition: Prosperity Theology … me, myself and I. Lord, have mercy! Where, O, where is the Agape love – God’s love?

Small wonder that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., whose life was impacted by the Father of India, Mahatma Gandhi, did not seek a Lexus and material possessions but poured his life and blood into the service of others.

The thing is, Eyesers, when Gandhiji (a revered address) died, humanity’s flag was lowered. Gandhi was what he always lived: a private citizen without wealth, property, title, official position, academic distinction or scientific achievement. Yet the chiefs of all governments, except of the Soviet government, and the heads of all religions paid homage to the thin – fine, in our Caribbean parlance – brown man of 78 in a loincloth.

Britain’s former prime minister Winston Churchill once called Gandhi, “A naked Indian fakir.” Eyesers, in the last laugh, as they say the rest is history and we know who got “fakired”. Right?

ROTFL. Gandhiji  said first they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you WIN!”

Fast forward: From Gandhi to America’s Dr. King Jr. and Harvard’s Divinity School professor and their Memorial Church and Dr. Jonathan Walton. Variation on a theme; justice is what love demands and the navigation of speaking truth to power in love.

“If you believe, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that we are all inextricably linked by a common fabric of humanity and garment of destiny, then you will declare that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” said Jonathan L. Walton, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Divinity School.

“And if you believe like the great American journalist Dorothy Thompson that peace is not the absence of conflict but the pursuit of justice, then you realize that we have to use our voices and our privilege to make a difference that will benefit those living on the margins of our society,” Walton said in his speech from the Ferguson protest in Harvard Yard.

Ah! Eyes can recall spending some glorious research time in the Harvard Divinity Library as a visitor. Talk about divine impartation!

Walton, who also serves as professor of religion and society and was named the Minister of Harvard University’s Memorial Church, posits: “The pursuit of justice is not neat. It is not clean. In fact, it is dirty work that will make you more enemies that friends among the rich and powerful.

“Yet I am one who believes that this is what God requires of us. Justice is what love demands.”

He concurs with King that “a true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.

“With righteous indignation, (missing in today’s Prosperity Theology) it will  look across the seas and all individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, ‘This is not just’.”

So let’s continue to speak truth to power in love, with righteous indignation declaring “This is not right!”

Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul