Nothing New Under The Sun

3 thoughts on “Nothing New Under The Sun”

  1. Any system devised by man could be systemically evil since that is the nature of man.
    To say that it is just “systemic racism” ignores that the system also discriminates against other demographics such as the poor, less educated and less connected.
    The concept of justice will always be unsatisfying to the side negatively effected.
    We have to be careful in condemning ourselves for trying to assist civility.
    Man cannot create good, as only God is good but we can try to stem evil through our imperfect institutions.
    We have to be mindful of our wishes to be “satisfied”!
    If in the case of Brennan Taylor, if people get their wish for the three officers to be charged with murder during the unplanned out come of caring out their instructed duties, we will find that we no longer have people responding to the call of “help” or even trying to stem the plots of evil doers!
    The likely chance of having ones life and families life ruined with years of litigation for doing the legislated duties of policing, will insure that very few people will step into this precarious and martyred vocation!
    Yes there are “ bad apples “ that get into all institutions!
    The best way to root them out is the assurance that they will be found and rightful prosecuted. It is here we may find a systemic problem in our thin “Blue Line”of policing!
    To say it is just systemic racism…..for me…. is a stretch!

    Jim Dell

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    1. Jim, thank you for your comments. It is comments like yours that actually prompted me to write this post in the first place because I think Christians can do better. I wanted to take the time and try to briefly respond to as many aspects of your comment as possible

      First, to speak about systemic racism is not at all to ignore systemic injustice against the poor, the less educated, or the less connected.
      But it is to recognize that the game is rigged in favour of those who have wealth, education, and connections. It is to see that, historically speaking, it is Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of colour who have been disadvantaged by decades of discrimination and a system that was built to advance a select few (again, historically speaking, white people). To respond to systemic racism with “but what about these other people who are suffering” distracts from and minimizes the experience of people of colour. When people respond to cries of “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” they are discounting the issues of justice experienced by Black people. If we believe that all lives matter, then we believe that Black lives matter and we need address specific issues of injustice affecting Black lives in order to affect change.

      In terms of the concept of justice being unsatisfying, I would return to Qohelet and say that it will absolutely be unsatisfyinfg until God, the righteous judge, brings judgment upon everything in the end. But if as you say, the concept will always be unsatisfying to the oppressed, then it will always be unimportant to those unaffected by oppression.

      I am not sure I understand what you mean by saying, “We have to be careful in condemning ourselves for trying to assist civility.” I’m not looking for us to condemn ourselves. But I would like us to evaluate our practice of “trying to assist civility.” I think our priority should be to proclaim good news to the poor, comfort the grieving, and declare freedom for the oppressed, and not to push aside messy issues for the sake of keeping things “civil.”

      When looking at the case of Breonna Taylor, people are looking for justice. As I said in the post, if it is accurate that they should not be indicted for murder because they were following their instructed duties, then we need to take a look at their instructed duties. We need to look to reform policy and procedure so that something like this does not happen again. If the offers did nothing wrong in following orders, then again it shows that the whole system is wrong. I think bringing reforms can only help police in their duties and would make a difficult profession more safe and more appealing.

      The case about Breonna Taylor is about systemic issues, and not just a one-off case. When people bring up the age old “Bad Apples” argument, they are ignoring the systemic issues at work, choosing to see each incident as a separate, unrelated case. People from communities that have experienced case after case after case for decades do not have the privilege of seeing them as individual, disconnected issues. They see the pattern of racism and injustice that binds them together.

      Again, these are complicated issues, far more complicated than can be addressed in such limited space, but I believe that to deny the existence of systemic racism in our laws, law enforcement, and other institutions is to to deny the experience of black people, indigenous people, and people of colour. And that is not right.

      Grace & Peace,
      James M. MacKnight

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