Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Arc of the Moral Universe Bends Toward Justice (MLK)

I have recently been adding this line at the end of my emails, a kind of signature tag:  “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Martin Luther King Jr. I found this on Mike Rivage-Seul's latest blog entry. I thing MLK was exactly right about this--but the road to justice is a long and winding road indeed, with lots of setbacks--the old idea of 2 steps forward and one step back (and sometimes many steps back and several off to the side!). The other important thing unstated in MLK's quote is the fact that the arc toward justice is not automatic. It is the hard work, sacrifice, and focused will of flawed human beings that lead to justice--it is not automatic. Another point that has just occurred to me is that I don't always know what constitutes justice. We all have our own blind spots, selfishness, perspective, and errors. Here is an example. I am pretty sure that the great human being that I co-wrote a biography on (Building the Beloved Community: Maurice McCrackin's Life for Peace and Civil Rights--co-authored with Judith Bechtel Blackburn) . . . that this man and his parents were probably ardent advocates of Prohibition. Now in retrospect, Prohibition was a gigantic mistake, even a form of cultural imperialism. But it came out of good intentions and even a Progressive perspective. Prohibition was a mistake, a doozy!

If social justice is one of our life's goals, we are going to make many mistakes along the way. But we must not give up the struggle. For many, it is our life's work, our vocation. As for a baby learning to walk--you don't give up even when you fall down a hundred times. Get back up and get walking!

Rev. Maurice McCrackin, in his old age

No comments: