“Kindness and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss. Truth will spring from the earth; justice will look down from heaven.” Psalm 85:10-11
A wise rabbi once said that the world is sustained by three things, by justice, by truth and by peace. When justice is done, truth is served and peace is achieved.
In Catholic social teaching, we understand that non-violence denotes peace with justice; that we should be peaceful, truthful and loving in our relationships, especially with those who don’t share our opinions.
Martin Luther King stood on these non-violent tenants as well. He understood that peace cannot be achieved by conflict, rioting, and unrest. It can only be achieved by a constant call for justice, stating of the truth, and softening the hearts with kindness. When we approach social justice with kindness and truth, justice and peace will follow.
Mahatma Gandhi said that, “Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.”
Sadly, that’s not what we see on the evening news today. In our country we see rioting, looting, and violence. We see young men losing their lives with excessive reactions, policemen killed while sitting in their patrol car, and people over-reacting with so called leaders fueling the fire of violence.
And across the world we see beheading, young school girls kidnapped, and men and women being martyred for their faith.
The wise rabbi would teach that this is not the way to peace. Catholic social teaching would argue that we should peacefully get people together to find a solution, one of the greatest leaders of social justice in the 20th century, Martin Luther King, would beg us to stop the violence, and Gandhi would tell us that “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” “At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
What has happened since the death of Doctor King to undo the work he gave his life for? Where are the leaders, especially religious leaders, who will continue the legacy of non-violent protest?
Our country needs leadership, not neat 30 second sound bites on the news. We need people who understand the process to initiate the conversation, do the hard work, usually behind the scenes, and move our country to a better understanding of the truth.
And, the world needs leadership, not the savagery that is disguised as faith.
What we don’t need are leaders with their own political agendas, lining their pockets while their followers are rioting in the streets and much of the world is unsafe.
Where is the next Gandhi, Mandela, Kennedy or King? Where are the leaders that can show us better way. Most of the worlds religions teach these same principle of kindness and truth, justice and peace. We need leadership that can get this done. I hope and pray that these leaders will emerge.
Until then, I’ll keep praying for peace.
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