I was ecstatic to see via social media several of my close friends and colleagues participate in the Ministers March for Justice in Washington, DC on August 28, 2017. I’ve marched for justice for 30 years; however, as result of a scheduling conflict, I was unable to be present. The agenda spearheaded by the Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network was clear: We’re marching for Voting Rights, Healthcare, Criminal Justice Reform and Economic Justice. It was both refreshing and inspiring to see thousands of people, both clergy and lay, refusing to accept and embrace the status quo, and marching for the rights of those who are victims of wage theft (e.g., working for more than 40 hours per week and not receiving overtime pay), juveniles who can benefit for alternative sentencing instead of being subject to abuse in jail or prison for non-violent drug offenses, individuals who need health insurance through Obamacare because they have preexisting conditions and people who have a Constructional right to vote even though they have encountered new legislation (i.e., voter identification laws which impede the process of voting for people of color) from states which are trying to eliminate that right. I and many others throughout our nation stood in solidarity with them as they worked to create a better day, indeed to establish the beloved community, during their lifetime.
I’ve come to accept the fact, albeit reluctantly, that many clergy and Christian lay refused to participate in this march or any other march that concerns social, political and economic justice. Unfortunately, they are constrained, in my opinion, to a narrow legalistic morality that only views Christian ethics in relation to the individual (e.g., lying, stealing and killing - see the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17). For those who claim to be Christian and choose to ignore the ethics associated which social issues, I invite you to consider Jesus’ words in Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” For those who admire the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and say “Now is not the time to march for justice,” I invite you to read his book titled Why We Can’t Wait.
If you are interested in joining the fight for justice as it concerns the aforementioned issues, I invite you to contact the Nation Action Network. I, like many of you, thank God for those who are continuing this fight.