Let justice reign!
This is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6: 8
While many people in the Caribbean express deep concern about the new structures of justice introduced in the region, there is much more reason to be concerned about the erosion of justice. True, structures are needed to implement the concept of just dealings with our fellow-men. They are necessary to ensure that the noble ideal of justice prevails in the relationships between men and women and also between states. However, it is the very existence of the frail, beautiful flower of justice that is at stake.
The whole of Christian revelation is based on justice. Our God is a God of justice. Justice is one of the pillars of his throne. God deals justly with men and women. He calls them to be just in their relationship with one another. He accompanies people in the pursuit of justice. He is present when justice is administered. Eventually, he will judge men and women according to their love and practice of justice.
In democratic countries, where citizens and rulers are pledged to uphold the rule of law, there is often a lack of justice. The law is often manipulated to suit those who have political power. The ideal of justice becomes a political football. Indeed, political leaders have become very skillful at using the wheels of justice for their own selfish ends.
Throughout the world, and even in our own country, political leaders make bold, enchanting preachments about justice which are as empty as a barrel. They make every effort to evade the course of justice while imposing heavy demands on those who appear to disregard the law.
What is needed is not primarily more legal structures, more legislation and more agents to secure conformity with laws. What we need most of all is the spirit of justice. We need to develop a just nation. We often invoke the name of God in our land. We even have a National Day of Prayer. Political leaders enjoy making their presence at religious gatherings, thus enhancing their image. But we need to go much further than that.
Justice must be learnt. It must be exercised in our homes. It must be taught in our schools. It must inspire all our community relationships. It must be proclaimed in our religious congregations. Justice is not an optional entity in life. It must be considered to be of the very fabric of our social being. It must animate every aspect of human relationship, every facet of human endeavour.
In democratic countries, there is often the fear of opposing political leaders. There is the fear of incurring their wrath, which can have dire consequences. Of course, they are the high and mighty, and everyone must bow and cower before them. It is unbelievable how people who are very active in their various religious congregations can yet tolerate an over-ambitious leader, who exercises authority with a decisiveness and animosity not very different from that of the ruthless dictators in history.
Often there is a veritable Ministry of Fear in our democratic countries. People are afraid to differ from the leader. They refuse to think outside of the box. That is how educated men are silenced. That is how educated people can become in the process useless to the development of a country.
The smiles that we occasionally behold on the faces of some political leaders cannot conceal the venom which lies deep in their hearts. They pretend to work for God; they claim to respond to the will of God when they take certain actions and pursue certain policies. Let them know, however, that the best way to please God and obtain his just rewards is to pursue the course of justice.
One of the Rights of citizens, enshrined in our Constitution is Freedom of Speech. Why do political leaders try to muzzle their opponents when they speak the truth? How many can say, like the French philosopher, Rene Voltaire, " I do not agree with you, but I shall fight to death to preserve your right to say it"?
We all claim that we want peace in our land. From time to time, the voices for peace sound out very loudly. Ministers of religion bring the nation together to pray for peace. However, few accept the challenge to pray for justice. They do so because they fear the wrath of the political directorate. However, let us all remember that the only way to peace is the pathway of justice.