The 20th anniversary of the Million Man March has come and gone. I want to offer my thoughts on the theme “Justice or Else” to help fellow white folks overcome the fear of retribution that the words “or else” evoke, even though, if injustice was repeatedly and systematically waged on their lives, would they not rise up? And while there may be some violent people among the participants who just might resort to a baseball bat if their frustration boils over, most marchers are simply warning us all, of every color and ethnicity, of the critical necessity of Justice.
I have often said, “when you know someone loves you, they can say anything and you won’t take offense. But if ill will is suspected, even “hello” sounds like a threat”. So let’s put down the suspicion for a moment and accept that most folks are just alike and want the same things: peace, security, and well-being.
Baha’u’llah, prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, has written a statement often quoted by Baha’is: ‘The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.’ (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 286)
In this statement Baha’u’llah establishes a FORMULA in which UNITY is a PREREQUISITE to “well-being, peace, and security”. But in other related passages He provides additional formulaic elements, most notably: “The light of men is Justice. Quench it not with the contrary winds of oppression and tyranny. The purpose of justice is the appearance of unity among men.” (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 66)
So here we have another important prerequisite: JUSTICE. Justice, according to Baha’u’llah, has as its very purpose, the appearance of Unity among us. Justice is the mechanism that brings unity. Oppression and tyranny are contrary to Justice and therefore prevent unity, and consequently, prevent well-being, peace, and security.
So, we might summarize the equation as: “Justice brings the unity required for well-being, peace, and security”.
Or, put another way, “No Justice = No Peace”.
So when we hear “Justice or Else” we might recoil from the perceived threat of the “or else” part, OR, we might instead roll with it and acknowledge that the “or else” is: “or else there is no hope of unity, no path to peace, no guarantee of security and no true well-being for anyone”.
So to all the folks afraid of the negativity of “or else”, let me offer the positive form: “Justice Brings Peace”
Still the formula remains “Justice FIRST”