Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Liberty and justice ...for all

There are days when I think back on my experiences in grade school and reflect on the simple things like saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag every morning.

I wonder if we shouldn't start saying that pledge again.

We may want to...

if for no other reason than to imprint the words "With Liberty and Justice for all" on the hearts and minds of our country's future leaders.

Have you ever thought about those words? They're so simple and yet so very powerful
Lets break them down.

Do a quick google and you'll find that

Liberty means a lot of things but the ones that stand out to me the most are

* autonomy: immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority: political independence

* freedom of choice; "liberty of opinion"; "liberty of worship"; "liberty--perfect liberty--to think or feel or do just as one pleases"; "at liberty to choose whatever occupation one wishes"

* personal freedom from servitude or confinement or oppression

Wow, pretty powerful stuff...and we used to pledge every day that our country stood for Liberty.

Liberty and justice...

Not just one but both


Like Liberty...justice has a lot of flavors
one dictionary defines it thus : the quality of being righteous or fair. Many philosophers, theologians and others define justice as the proper ordering of people and things. Behind the concept of justice lies the notion of balance--that people get what is right, fair and appropriate. Justice also includes the notion of upholding the law, as in the work of police, judges and the court.

When I was a child some 40 years ago... we pledged every single day to stand in support of a flag that stood for Liberty and Justice
for all...not just one...ALL.
Then somewhere along the way someone...somewhere decided that a pledge that said we'd stand in support of liberty and justice was somehow stunting someones rights...so the pledge stopped being said.
and that makes me sad.

Right now we really need to stand and pledge our support for liberty and justice...for all
Before someone nips in and takes those basic rights from us.

Every person has the right to liberty...every person has the right to justice...and our constitution even grants every American the right to pursue happiness (not to have it given to you on a platter..but by golly you can sure pursue it and if you manage to chase it down and catch it...yay you!).


  1. In reading this I am reminded of Micah 6:8 that says - loosely paraphrased - what does God require of us, but to do justice, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.
    The words "do justice" imply that justice is not an abstract concept but rather an action to be done; not a place to go to in the high courts of law in a building, but an every day choice in living our lives. Activism is "doing jusice"...it is no accident that in this verse that "justice" is paired with mercy and humility, rather than with pride and arrogance. When the Soulforce Bus Riders took on Bob Jones University in 2007, some of them wore "Do justice" tattoos...

  2. It is interesting that this verse comes from the same tiny book in the minor prophets...Micah 4:3
    "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."