Judging Leaders at the Airports

Over and over again, people had to disobey lawful authority to follow the voice of their conscience. This obedience to God and disobedience to the State has, over and over again, happened throughout history. It is time again to cry out against our ‘leaders,’ to question (since it is not for us to say that they are evil) whether or not they are sane.

Dorothy Day, April 1954

Over and over again leaders face the judgment of citizens. Today thousands of citizens showed up at international airports to protest an order to block Muslims from entering the U.S.

The Bible, philosophers, Quakers, Henry Thoreau, all have plenty to say about when and how to confront authority.

If you see the extortion of the poor, or the perversion of justice and fairness in the government, do not be astonished by the matter. For the high official is watched by a higher official, and there are higher ones over them!                                  Ecclesiastes 5:8    (NET Bible)

Yet many are indeed astonished by the degree of perversion of justice in this ban.

The International Association for Refugees lists 46  Biblical instances of people forced from their homelands. [iafr.org]

The plight of refugees is one of the underlying themes in the Abrahamic traditions, yet still our leaders don’t get it. The treatment of strangers in our land is a test of our national conscience. And how we confront our leaders on this defines the values of citizens.

In this rather prophetic sentence, Day reminds us not to judge our leaders as evil, just whether or not they are sane. Wisdom from 1954 Catholic Worker.

 

And now the good news: According to Mother Jones: “A Federal Judge Just Issued A Stay Against Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’ Judge Ann M. Donnelly’s ruling halted deportations, but refugees abroad remain in limbo.”     JAN. 28, 2017 8:50 PM  [click on name for link]

 

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Rev William Barber channels Dorothy Day, etc., etc.

The list of people Rev. Barber was channeling at the Dems’ convention is very, very long….back to New Testament and further.

 

Rev. Barber mentioned Dorothy Day in his speech. Small wonder.

This  is the introduction to the first Dorothy Day’s newspaper, Catholic Worker 1933:

“For those who are sitting on benches in the warm spring sunlight.

For those who are huddling in shelters trying to escape the rain.

For those who are walking the streets in the all but futile search for work.For those who think that

there is no hope for the future, no recognition of their plight, THE CATHOLIC WORKER is being

edited….”*

It burns me up what the right, Protestant and Catholic, deem Christianity all about sex and give hate-filled sermons. Churches, synagogs, mosques, are grassroots organizing places, not right-wing Hotspots.

 

 

 

*http://www.catholicworker.org/dorothyday/articles/913.html

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer, Justice, and the Scales of Justice

“So long as we talk and argue and busy ourselves on the plane of this world, evil seems the stronger. ….The thing is to enter on another plane, to find that fourth dimension which represents the kingdom of the Spirit…. – Henri de Lubac, quoted by Dorothy Day, Catholic Worker, 1978

Injustice is easy to see. When black men are targeted, when rape is dismissed as a prank, when gays are murdered, when families struggle for food and shelter, we see injustice in the flesh.

lady_justice_w_scalesBut what is justice? Is it simply the absence of injustice? Revenge is a kind of justice; it is the desire to rebalance the scales. The image of Justice is a woman with a blindfold holding a scale.  When one man murders another, the world is thrown out of balance. By killing the murderer, some think, the world regains its balance. The forces have been equalized again. The family of the victim, the community can be satisfied. The value of the death penalty is not as a deterrent to murder; it is the restoring of balance from chaos.

Then along comes Jesus. “You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil.”

We’re being told to keep the scale unbalanced. We are being told not to attempt to purge evil by killing. He’s talking about another kind of justice.

What does this justice look like? smell like? feel like? An abstraction like justice or hope or love, stays uselessly abstract until we give it form.

“The legal battle against segregation is won, but the community battle continues.” Dorothy Day The Catholic Worker, November 1956

On December 12, 2014, friends and neighbors stood in the cold in Greenfield to declare the obvious truth that black lives matter.

Afterwards, thirty people came together in the Upper Room at church to celebrate Our Lady Of Guadalupe, or Tonantzin, the Mother. The 12th is her “birthday.”

In December 1531 at the hill of Tepeyac, Mexico, Mama Lupe appeared to the First Nation peoples. She spoke to the peasant, Cuauhtlatoatzin, (Juan Diego), in his original language, Nahuatl. She demanded that the Spanish conquerors build a church on the place where people had come for centuries to honor her as Tonantzin, the Mother. Cuauhtaltoatzin, a devout Catholic, repeatedly brought her demand to the Spanish authorities until, after she miraculously spread roses at their feet, they relented.

And so a Presence of Love and Protection appeared on the hill, in a country where people lived under the oppression of an occupying army.

In celebration, we placed images of Mama Lupe on a table with roses and candles. We lit candles to bring together all who call for justice: for parents of slain young men, for black children, for racism’s end. We prayed, sang, listened. We called down justice to live among us.

Praying gives justice voice. When evil seems overwhelming, sounds and images springing from the creation of ceremony can crystalize peace and freedom, allowing us to hear and touch it, and each other. And give sustenance to action.