Showing posts with label justice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label justice. Show all posts

Friday, October 13, 2017


From Diana Butler Bass on Facebook:
Dear Friends,

It is important that we remember the actions of these days and learn.

This is what it looks like when angry white people use a "democratic" process to wipe the memory and achievement of an honorable and successful black man from history. The drive to do away with him is so powerful that the "base" is willing to sacrifice their own to a life of no access to health care and potentially destroy the entire planet.

This is what it looks like when vengeance is the primary purpose of politics.

Do not forget these days. Because they are, for many, the opportunity to see what they never saw. The evil of the days can serve to awaken. Even after "he" is no longer president. Because until we deal with the depth of race and hierarchies and violence, this will continue.

Today, take a moment and be grateful for those who see clearly, who work with heart and passion for renewed practices of inclusion and true democracy in this, our national home.

I invite you to name some of those people here. Those who embody joy and justice in the midst of all of this.

Yours, Diana
Bass speaks truth with eloquence. The first names that come to mind are Desmond Tutu, Malala Yousafzai, Barack Obama, and Michelle Obama. The inclusion of "joy" makes it more difficult to think of others, but the word belongs. Gratitude is quite often difficult for me, but Bass is right to include the word "grateful" in her letter.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Shield of The Episcopal Church
Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 11:00 AM  

Seeking Christ in all People: A Service of Commitment to Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation
Christ Church Cathedral- 2919 St. Charles Ave, New Orleans
On Saturday January 18, our Diocese will hold an historical service at Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans. The Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev'd Katharine Jefferts Schori will preach and witness this gathering. The purpose of the service is to mark several years of conversation surrounding the issue of racism and explore how the Episcopal Church can more fully live into the calling of Christ. This special service, entitled 'Seeking Christ in All People: A Service of Commitment to Racial Healing, Justice and Reconciliation' is both a culmination of the Year of Reconciliation and a celebration of the life and ministry of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. All are welcome. Reception following the service.
The service was lovely and quite moving.  Below is a splendid account at The Lens, an online news service in New Orleans, of the service, along with a brief history of the Episcopal Church vis–à–vis slavery in Louisiana. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefforts Schori presided and preached. I'm grateful I was able to be present. "What next?" is the question.
Painting by Laurie Justus Pace

Fast forward to the Christ Church sanctuary two Saturday’s ago. More than a few of us were brought to tears by Tyrone Chambers, a young, classically trained tenor, long a fixture at Trinity Episcopal Church and the Opera Creole, now pursuing his career in New York. The hymn he sang, building on a passage from the Gospel of John, was both a comfort — and a warning: There’s no evading God’s wide love. You can’t go over or under or around it.

Our history and our liturgy beg a question: What next? If the spirit really moved the 500 people who attended the service of atonement and reconciliation, what will come of it? The church was filled mostly with Episcopalians, though I saw many Catholic brothers and sisters. I also saw several unbelievers, an Episcopal deacon who had condemned the very idea of a racial-reconciliation service, and a fellow reporter who is Jewish. She mentioned to a friend that this was the first Christian service she had ever attended.
Please read the entire article.

The text of the sermon by Bishop Katharine is here.

The website of artist, Laurie Justus Pace, is here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Excerpts from Martin Luther King, Jr's response to a letter from fellow clergy who opposed the civil rights protests, suggesting that the actions were "unwise and untimely".

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent-up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides–and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: "Get rid of your discontent." Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist.

There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators." But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests.

Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.


Martin Luther King, Jr's letter was written in response to a letter from eight fellow clergymen. The link to the letter from the clergy is on Standford University's site, from which I took the quotes from MLK's letter.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Thus far, I haven't said much about Bin Laden's death. At The Lead, I said, "May the Lord have mercy upon him." I add now that God is just, and God is merciful, and I'll leave it to God to sort out Bin Laden's fate.

With all due respect and sympathy to all those who have suffered or died due to Bin Laden's evil schemes, I cannot find it within myself to take joy in the death of another human being. I wanted Bin Laden stopped from doing harm, and now he's stopped. For that I feel relief.

Several posts by bloggers speak wise words about Bin Laden's end. Mark Harris, at Preludium, Penny's post titled A Note About the Death, and Rmj at Adventus. Rmj picked up commentary from around and about and added his own.

As a sign that I am entirely human and capable of taking the low road, I said the following at Penny's blog:
Still, I take a certain satisfaction in the timing. For all George Bush's bluster, Osama bin Laden was not killed on his watch but on the watch of a president who has been labeled a terrorist by certain citizens of this country. Not exactly a Christian sentiment on my part, eh?

What I did not add at Penny's blog is the rest of what I wanted to say: "Up yours, all you Americans who call our president a terrorist!"

Thursday, February 17, 2011


The statue of Archbishop Luwum is on the right above the West Entrance to Westminster Abbey, along with statues of Maximilian Kolke and Manche Masemola.

Archbishop Luwum served in office during the bloody rule of Idi Amin. He protested the murderous policies of the gorvenment and often interceded on behalf of those imprisoned for opposing Amin and his policies.

Posted below is an excerpt from the biographical information by James Kiefer at the Lectionary:

The Archbishop called on President Amin to deliver a note of protest, signed by nearly all the bishops of Uganda, against the policies of arbitrary killings and the unexplained disappearances of many persons. Amin accused the Archbishop of treason, produced a document supposedly by former President Obote attesting his guilt, and had the Archbishop and two Cabinet members (both committed Christians) arrested and held for military trial.

On 16 February, the Archbishop and six bishops were tried on a charge of smuggling arms. Archbishop Luwum was not allowed to reply, but shook his head in denial. The President concluded by asking the crowd: "What shall we do with these traitors?" The soldiers replied "Kill him now". The Archbishop was separated from his bishops. As he was taken away Archbishop Luwum turned to his brother bishops and said: "Do not be afraid. I see God's hand in this."

The three (the Archbishop and the two Cabinet members) met briefly with four other prisoners who were awaiting execution, and were permitted to pray with them briefly. Then the three were placed in a Land Rover and not seen alive again by their friends. The government story is that one of the prisoners tried to seize control of the vehicle and that it was wrecked and the passengers killed. The story believed by the Archbishop's supporters is that he refused to sign a confession, was beaten and otherwise abused, and finally shot. His body was placed in a sealed coffin and sent to his native village for burial there. However, the villagers opened the coffin and discovered the bullet holes.

What a courageous man in the cause of justice. What steadfastedness he showed in the face of persecution and death. He lived the Gospel of Jesus Christ without counting the cost, which was his very life.

Whose is the leading voice from the Christian community advocating for justice in Uganda today, where draconian legislation against LGTB persons is pending? Is it the voice of Anglican primate, Archbishop Henry Orombi?

From the Daily Monitor via Box Turtle Bulletin:
“We are saying homosexuality is not compatible with the word of God. We are saying that this culture of other people is against the traditional belief of marriage held by the Anglican Communion,” says the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi. Bishop Orombi says that the Anglican Church will never accept homosexuality because the scriptures too do not allow people of same sex to join in marriage.

“Homosexuality is evil, abnormal and unnatural as per the Bible. It is a culturally unacceptable practice. Although there is a lot of pressure, we cannot turn our hands to support it,” says Bishop Orombi.

I guess not.

But wait! From Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, retired Anglican bishop of West Buganda in his letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams:
Peace from God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I give thanks on behalf of the family and friends of David Kato for your love and prayers at this difficult time. All over the world, human beings are longing for liberation, love, respect and the dignity to have meaningful lives. This week alone, we witnessed it in Egypt .We also see this longing in the struggle for human rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people (LGBT) through the sacrificial life and death of David Kato. As human beings, we must respect our differences and be united in our call for listening and sharing with each other. To understand God, we are all called to understand the mystery of each other, including our sexualities. God has given us this gift and to defame, condemn, imprison and kill human beings because of their God-given nature, is a great human error. The church has a tragic history of condemning Jews, Moslems, scientists and LGBT people. Our teaching and theology has a causal effect and if we do not learn from our own historical mistakes, we will repeat the same sinful destruction of lives, families and communities.

Bishop Christopher has no standing within the Anglican Church of Uganda, because he has been excommunicated due to his advocacy for justice and equality for LGTB persons.

The Preface For the Feast of Archbishop Luwum
O God, whose Son the Good Shepherd laid down his life for the sheep: We give you thanks for your faithful shepherd, Janani Luwum, who after his Savior’s example gave up his life for the people of Uganda. Grant us to be so inspired by his witness that we make no peace with oppression, but live as those who are sealed with the cross of Christ, who died and rose again, and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

At St Laika's, MadPriest posted a lovely prayer service with music honoring Archbishop Luwum on the feast day.

Image at the head of the post from Wikipedia.