Friends of Padre Steve’s World,
Just a short thought today and it comes as a bunch of avowed, anti-government racists posing as militia “freedom fighters” are occupying a Federal office in Oregon allegedly to defend two men already convicted of crimes for which they will be going back to prison. Meanwhile there is an epidemic of African Americans, often unarmed, and committing no crime, being gunned down with no questions asked by law enforcement officials or civilians who get away with murder. One can bet if those who took over the administrative office in Oregon were black, or Muslim there would be little patience and the act would be met by force. Interestingly enough the two men plan on going back peaceably to prison and do not condone the actions of the Bundy Bunch, but I digress….
My thought comes from the late Charles Morgan Jr. Morgan was a young lawyer and rising star in Birmingham Alabama. Morgan was a well off young Southern gentleman, a lawyer, but he was also a man of conscience. He was a defender of the civil liberties of many people during his life, and most of his actions were incredibly unpopular when he made his stand.
The turning point for Morgan was the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama some 52 years ago which killed four little girls going to Sunday school, and injured many others. It was an act of terrorism, though many even today will not call it that, but too often we hide the truth.
But Morgan was one of the few people to speak the truth about responsibly and liberty following the said the bombing to the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama some 52 years ago which killed four little girls going to Sunday School.
In an age where people, including his peers, colleagues, friends, and neighbors washed their hands of the responsibility, Morgan spoke the truth in clear and uncompromising language:
“And who is really guilty? Each of us. Each citizen who has not consciously attempted to bring about peaceful compliance with the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, every citizen who has ever said “they ought to kill that nigger,” every citizen who votes for the candidate with the bloody flag, every citizen and every school board member and schoolteacher and principal and businessman and judge and lawyer who has corrupted the minds of our youth; every person in this community who has in any way contributed during the past several years to the popularity of hatred, is at least as guilty, or more so, than the demented fool who threw that bomb.”
Morgan made a comment that really stuck in my brain because it is so true. He said,
“It is not by great acts but by small failures that freedom dies. . . . Justice and liberty die quietly, because men first learn to ignore injustice and then no longer recognize it.”
The truth is that it those small failures; first to turn our backs on justice and to ignore it, and then finally, to fail to even recognize it when justice is being trampled. That is how freedom dies. Sadly, those who most often trample freedoms, usually in the name of God or religion are the last to recognize their complicity in that loss of freedom. Judge Learned Hand spoke these words; “If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: Thou shalt not ration justice.”
Sadly, there are too many who will do just that, all to often in the name of their God, or their religion. If we ration justice so that only a few; the rich, and the well off are able to afford it, then we will succeed in standing idly by as injustice becomes the norm. If we do that, we will be as guilty as those who set the stage for, and then whitewashed the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, and the deaths of those four precious little girls.