Do you know why this world is as bad as it is?
It is because people think only about their own business,
and won’t trouble themselves to stand up for the oppressed,
nor bring the wrong-doers to light.
My doctrine is this:
that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop,
and do nothing,
we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.
~Anna Sewell from Black Beauty
As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.
In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged.
And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air
– however slight –
lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
~William O. Douglas
We must recognize that we as individuals are to blame
for every social injustice,
the downgrading of others
and the injury that man does to man,
whether personal or on a broader plane.…
God must intervene with his spirit and his justice and his truth.
The present misery, need, and decay must pass away
and the new day of the Son of Man must dawn.
This is the advent of God’s coming.
~Dwight Blough from the introduction to When the Time was Fulfilled (1965)
Be careful whom you choose to hate.
The small and the vulnerable own a protection great enough,
if you could but see it,
to melt you into jelly.
~Leif Enger from Peace Like a River
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question
the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.
On the one hand, we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside;
but that will be only an initial act.
One day the whole Jericho road must be transformed
so that men and women will not be beaten and robbed
as they make their journey through life.
True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar;
it understands that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring.
America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world,
can well lead the way in this revolution of values.
There is nothing, except a tragic death wish,
to prevent us from reordering our priorities…
~Martin Luther King, Jr. from a speech April 4, 1967
As we walk this life, this Jericho Road together,
we cannot pass by the brother, the sister, the child
who lies dying in the ditch.
We must stop and help.
By mere circumstances of our place of birth,
it could be you or me there bleeding, beaten, abandoned
until Someone, journeying along that road,
comes looking for us,
sent to take our place,
so we can get up, made whole again,
and walk Home.