“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” MLK, Letter from Birmingham Jail
But this begs the question: How do we fight injustice? Wars are fought to fight injustice. We have a system of courts to fight injustice. But do we use the right means?
Using the example of MLK, he was an advocate of non-violent direct action. He believed in the rule of law, but was willing to stand publically against an unjust law or system. But he respected the consequences when that law was enforced. He went to jail for his actions. He opposed the war in Vietnam. He advocated for the poor. In the end he was assassinated for the ideals and values he stood for and advocated.
Read Letter from Birmingham Jail for context but he stated “the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.” If we want a just society, then we must work for that society by acting justly. We can and must get in the way, when we see injustice. This spirit is embodied in the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams.
Do we fight injustice by fighting unjustly? Should we? I know my answer, but I leave that out, so that you may think and contemplate the ways you fight injustice. I want your conclusion to be your conclusion, not my absolutist answer. I want you to reflect on your means, without my means to be the club bashing you on the head.
I leave the detailed discussion of my means of fighting injustice to another day. I do pray that we can all provide an example to each other and our circles of influence. I pray that others will see us acting justly and be inspired to do the same.
Other MLK Day posts:
I include these links, not as endorsement of everything said on the respective sites, but as evidence that the memory of MLK is important.