(Dr. Michael A. Evans, Sr., will lead a workshop titled "Let Justice Roll Down -- It's a Big Deal in Scripture & Today" during the CLC's Micah 6:8 Conference March 31-April 1 at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio. He is pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield.)
One of the most prolific martyrs of the civil rights era, namely Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded readers in his "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" of the prophetic words of the Old Testament prophet, Amos.
King wrote these words in the midst of a civil rights movement that had come to a stalemate, caught between pessimism among some of his early supporters, the political pressure from politicians starving for popularity and votes, and the deep-seated racial prejudice that had plagued our nation for hundreds of years.
Here was a man who in the early days of his ministry was blessed to enjoy the hard-fought victories for racial equality, the desegregation of public transportation, the famous March on Washington, and the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Yet there was still work to be done, and the troops were getting weary along the way.
Dr. King was utterly concerned about what he called "cheap victories in a climate of complacency" ("Let Justice Roll Down" essays, by King). He was inwardly struggling with that nagging feeling of disappointment that most people feel when it looks as if the "goalpost of progress" never stops advancing backwards, never quite hitting the mark, never enough to guarantee full rights to all people.
It is a sad commentary that today, 50 years later, the same level of utter disappointment and disdain permeates the urban centers of our great nation. The stench of bigotry and "race baiting" has found new life in our society and our political arena. The disease of popular disenfranchisement in the form of veiled attempts at public school re-segregation (school vouchers) and the deprivation of voters' rights has creeped back into the atmosphere.
Much like the once thought eradicated diseases of tuberculosis and polio, it is as if our great nation has lost her way and the inoculation against bigotry and hatred has worn off like the measles vaccines from the past.
Is there not a new passionate cry for justice and righteousness from a generation that has enjoyed the benefits of the civil rights movement? Who are the brave voices who will stand seemingly alone in the crowd of critics and call for equal treatment of all people?
How can the Christian community be silent as we hear the call to prohibit people of other religious faith groups from entering our country? How can the Christian community be silent or belligerent about children fleeing slavery and poverty in Central and South America? One can argue that the parents of these children thirst for the same freedoms Europeans, Asians, and other ethnic people groups sought for their children more than one, two, or three centuries ago.
Let justice roll down and not be thrown into the "sea of forgetfulness."
Let justice roll down for those who cannot speak for themselves, for those whose bodies are abused to please a perverted, dehumanizing consumer and flesh-peddling evil sadistic scum.
"Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream" (Amos 5:24) for those people who are abused and then discarded into the trash heaps of prostitution, drug addiction, and death.
Let justice roll down. . . .