Justice is Not a Spectator's Sport

Saturday, June 23, 2018

This week has been apocalyptic. And I mean "apocalyptic" in its truest biblical sense: an unveiling of truth or the uncovering of reality. If we didn't realize it before, we now know just how deep our country's anti-immigrant sentiments are. Our current events have drawn back the veil and exposed our culture's true values. I was shocked at the callousness, the excuses, and the idolatry. I was outraged at how frequently the statement, "But they broke the law!" was utilized to justify the incarceration of undocumented children.

The thing that shames me the most, though, is that I didn't start speaking up about the treatment of undocumented immigrants until the Bible was thrown into the mix as a tool to perpetuate the injustice.

I realize now in retrospect that, by misusing Scripture, Jeff Sessions was in some ways attacking me, a Christian who takes the Biblical witness seriously. Up until that point, the issue involved the "other." Suddenly, an allusion to Romans 13 had me all up in arms, ready to defend my faith and my God (as if he even needed defending at all). I deeply cared about how undocumented immigrants were being treated before a Bible verse came up, but I didn't say anything until I was indirectly involved in the argument.

It's easy to stand on the sidelines when my neighbor is being attacked. It's easy to disagree but then remain silent. In the name of peace, we might shy away from saying anything public. After all, we don't want to be accused of being too political or exceedingly controversial. We don't want to alienate ourselves from our friends, family members, or even parishioners. But here's the thing: justice is not a spectator's sport.

Keeping the peace does not lead to justice, but justice always leads to peace-making.

I repent of being a spectator instead of advocating for justice. I do not want to wait until my own values are attacked before I participate in speaking up and speaking out for others. Justice is not self-serving; it is all-serving.

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