Justice, Holiness, Racism, History and the Supreme Court

Justice and holiness go together. How could it be otherwise, since Justice is a well-recognized name for God or Divinity. 

Part of compassion is the ability to be sympathetic and empathetic and give a helping hand. Photo by U3190523. Wikimedia Commons.

“God is as it were Justice itself” and “God and justice are completely one” declares Meister Eckhart. Furthermore, “compassion means justice,” and compassion is the secret name for God according to the Jewish and Biblical tradition. Jesus: “Be you compassionate as your Creator is heaven is compassionate.”

The prophets of Israel made clear that compassion, love, and justice are interchangeable. Latin American theologian Jose Miranda says that the biggest mistake in Christianity has been to attempt to separate justice from love. That opens the door to sentimentalism which invariably becomes a front for violence. Including institutional violence. 

Harvard students ‘devastated’ after Supreme Court affirmative action ruling. MSNBC

“Compassion is where peace and justice kiss,” declares Meister Eckhart. The teaching that “God is Justice” is found in Thomas Aquinas and Julian of Norwich. Says Eckhart, “For the just person as such to act justly is to live; indeed, justice is her life, her being alive, her being insofar as she is just.” 

When we speak of justice, we are speaking of eco-justice, which lies at the very heart of whether our species and millions of other species far older than ours—elephants for example—will survive. And whether Earth as we know her, so beautiful and amazing, will survive.

We are speaking of gender justice. The rights of women are under attack today, by blind forces that think it is their right to control women’s bodies.

We are speaking of economic and social and racial justice, which so often come wrapped together in the United States. Here, from 1619 onwards, our country welcomed slave ship after slave ship after slave ship to its lands, to bolster its economic prosperity. What’s there not to like about free labor? (Unless one believes that all people are born equal and all are equally beloved and beautiful and worthy in the eyes of the Creator.)

Folk art model of a slave ship, made by an unknown artist. On display at the National Museum of African American History & Culture. Wikimedia Commons.

The constitution counted black people as 3/5 of a human being. A civil war was fought to break that burden. Three constitutional amendments followed but they were thwarted through 150 years of Jim Crow, KKK, etc. It took a mass civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s, and the death of many spiritual warriors, to rectify such advances.

And now, new Supreme Court decisions based on the spurious notion of “color-blindness.” Would it were true. History says otherwise.  To be continued.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God, p. 50. 

See also Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic…and Beyond, p. 103.

And Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 109-112.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE

Banner Image: An unknown artist’s impression the Lady Justice statue on London’s Old Bailey. Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

What does it mean in the practical realm to say that “God is Justice” and “God and Justice are completely one”? How translate that to courts and education and to the law and to politics and those who make laws?

Recommended Reading

Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God …Including the Unnameable God

Too often, notions of God have been used as a means to control and to promote a narrow worldview. In Naming the Unnameable, renowned theologian and author Matthew Fox ignites our imaginations by offering a colorful range of Divine Names gathered from scientists and poets and mystics past and present, inviting us to always begin where true spirituality begins: from experience.
“This book is timely, important and admirably brief; it is also open ended—there are always more names to come, and none can exhaust God’s nature.” -Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, author of Science Set Free and The Presence of the Past

Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond

Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.”  –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.

The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times

A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book!  Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

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6 thoughts on “Justice, Holiness, Racism, History and the Supreme Court”

  1. Avatar

    What is the redemptive path? Does history show that people or a people faced exile or foreign domination on the path to our own redemption? How did justice come about, how many years did it take and how was justice served in those circumstances?

    Are we inwardly prepared for the justice we demand?

    If not prepared, are we willing to accept the ‘instant karma’ or negative consequences that might come about by our actions? Collective justice or injustice does not just come about, but is rather ‘a long road’ that has been travelled with either overt acceptance or silent acquiescence without too much protest. Does history not tell us again that we must work within the confines and reliance upon the redemptive power and forces of God? Can we not see that others will not adopt our culture and behaviour on the basis that we tell them that their ways are abhorrent? Will we look for acceptance without unity or do we want a ‘coming together’ that leads to and enduring unity of brotherhood and sisterhood?

    Love is enduring and comes to those that endure. Justice is a fruit of endurance and is not an ‘instant’ occurrence that comes about from protest alone. In all of history, we who live now appear to be very assure of ourselves but is our assurance in-line with God’s redemptive path for us. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    It’s very obvious that in the US and around the world our human souls and societies are still evolving within our hearts/souls and with one another in society to God’s Divine Eternal PRESENCE of evolving Loving Diverse ONENESS on our spiritual journeys here on beautiful Sacred Mother Earth and within our Sacred multidimensional-multiverse evolving Loving Cosmos….

  3. Avatar

    In Justice Jackson’s dissent, she considers two North Carolina applicants–John (White) from a family of 7 generations of UNC graduates, James (Black) who’d be the first. In her well-considered dissent, Jackson tells the whole history of the country’s laws that gave PREFERENCE to John’s race in scores of ways. By giving preference to White people and in many cases EXCLUDING Black people, John’s family members received the benefits of AFFIRMATIVE ACTION. There’s no other way to look at it, and Jackson gives historical support for why and how John’s family benefited from affirmative action. James’ family did not receive the benefit of these carefully crafted affirmative actions. It’s worth downloading the entire decision (which includes Jackson’s dissent) or having a friend do it from NYTimes, Wapo, or another source so you can read it. What we have here is the legacy of Leonard Leo’s court.

  4. Avatar

    While I support affirmative action as better than not having it. It is far from ideal. One question that is not asked by affirmative action advocates I feel is what is the level of poor students at college which includes whites. We need universal affirmative action programs that seek to alleviate poverty. Poverty is the greatest threat which you won’t hear about on MSNBC. They seem to mostly talk about civil rights over economic justice.

  5. Avatar
    MacCanon Brown

    My response to the newest daily meditation since this one was to unsubscribe with sorrow. Some of what I read showed up for me as parroting partisan agendas. It is deeply troubling to me if the main purpose of these meditations and their Community Building is political.

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