Archive for the ‘injustice’ Tag

Unsettling   1 comment

My reading over the past several months has brought me to a question.  I read about the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit that legally defends those who have been sentenced to prison without the benefit of a just trial.  Most of them are minorities, many have disabilities, and some are children.  See more on their work here: https://eji.org, or read Just Mercy, written by the founder, Bryan Stephenson.

My reading has also included coverage of world news in The Economist.  Over time, the catalog of acts of injustice, of persecution of minority groups within countries, of country after country led by immoral strongmen adds up.

Then I picked up Generous Justice by Tim Keller.  It’s an exploration of what the Bible teaches and what the Christian church’s understanding should be about the relationship between mercy and justice.  In the course of the book, Keller explores the church’s lack of understanding of what situations individuals face in difficult environments.

For example, Keller describes a situation where a young woman who lived in a housing project was being harassed by a local gang to become a prostitute for suburban white men.  The believer who was meeting with her didn’t comprehend the full situation until she explained that her father was beaten in order to get her compliance.  When he asked why she didn’t involve the police, she responded that the police were those wealthy suburban white males.  She perceived that she was unlikely to get justice from that quarter.

These are just a few specific books I have read recently that have caused me to think new and uncomfortable ideas.

I’ve had a really good life.  I’m not saying nothing bad or unjust has ever happened to me–it has, because that is the nature of life in this world.  But I look at the sheer volume of despair out there that is endured by those who don’t have power, and I wonder.

What if some of the circumstances of my life that I have taken to be answered prayer are just class or race privilege?

Advertisements

Posted August 14, 2018 by swanatbagend in justice, reflections

Tagged with , ,

From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime   Leave a comment

From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime by Elizabeth Hinton is a book that’s hard to read, but one that you will want to read if you want to understand a big portion of the reasons why there are so many African Americans incarcerated in our country.  As you may know, the United States as more people incarcerated per capita than any other country on earth.

The basic concept is that due to the ways the war on poverty was implemented, government leaders thought it wasn’t working, and due to the unrest of the 60s and early 70s, they then leaned harder on trying to stop crime.  But due to their own biases they misunderstood the causes of crime and in trying to stop crime, ended up inflaming the problem.  The predictions that were then made of further crime waves drove prison construction, police department mobilization and a larger penal system.  And here we are today….It’s more complicated than that, as you can read, but in some ways as simple as the racial stereotypes held by the leaders who created the policies and made the choices that have led to where we are today.

As I said, the book is painful to read.  Nonetheless I recommend it to any student of where our culture is today and the racial divides we still face.  The author’s detailed scholarship is commendable and pretty difficult to refute, with the caveat that those who don’t want to believe the evidence may continue to place the blame for the violence of the 60s and 70s where it was placed at the time. But for many of us, perhaps the book will turn us to a different path, and enable us to see that we want to move forward to dismantle the vast prison that much of America has turned into.

Posted May 8, 2018 by swanatbagend in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,