Tuesday, October 10, 2006

the heart of injustice

Like the battle against terrorism, I recognize that some tough choices have to be made when it comes to school shootings and safety. Locker checks and metal detectors are just some of those choices. But, like the war in the middle east, there are things that we could have done to prevent them, and things that we can still do to prevent them in the future.

America just suffered three more school shootings and one near miss over the past two weeks and, like the Columbine shootings, these new events have led many to wonder “how could this happen?” Personally I’m flabbergasted every time I hear somebody ask that question because all you have to do is ask somebody who has ever been bullied to find out the answer. If you’ve ever been bullied, you know what it’s like to lay in bed at night and wish for revenge. Maybe even pray for it. You might even know the feeling of wishing you could “kill that guy!” Yet every school and youth group has bullies, every school and youth group has those who are being bullied, and every school and youth group has adults that stand around and do nothing about it. Maybe the adults are intimidated themselves. Maybe they simply want to fit in. Or maybe the adults themselves are a part of the bullying. After all, bullying isn’t just physical abuse, it’s also emotional abuse and often simply comes in the form of teasing, put downs, or intimidation.

Two Sundays ago the Salvation Army was asked to focus on human trafficking, a huge problem across the world and one that the church could help to stop if it got half as involved as it has been on abortion. But justice starts at home and at the root of all injustice is bullying. Those who would enslave a human and then force them into labor camps or the sex industry are nothing more than bullies who have taken their craft beyond the school yard, or youth group, or even office space, and gone global. And yet, many of us who talk about human trafficking, and fair trade, and dictatorship, and watershed campaigns, and child pornography, and child abuse aren’t even prepared to stand up to the bullies on our own playgrounds, places of business, or churches. We do our best to look noble, talking and advertising for global issues, all while we allow and sometimes are even the cause of people being bruised and battered all around us.

Justice starts at home. Bullying is bullying. Stand up to the bullies in your own back yard and you’ll have the tools to stand up to them on a global scale.

Comments on "the heart of injustice"


Blogger Larry said ... (9:23 PM) : 


You are right. I am ashamed every time I think of the trafficking issue and the lack of response by the Church. I know in the States the Army is trying to have tougher legislation passed and trying to get the government to fund more interdiction of this sin.

I am reading Jim Wallis's revision of "The Call to Conversion." He says the only way we will ever identify with the poor and oppressed is to be in close proximity to the poor and oppressed.

I was reminded that even though I walk them during the day, I don't often walk down the tough streets of our City late at night. Shame on me. Shame on us for not caring enough to rub shoulders with and hold the hands of the oppressed.


Blogger Jason said ... (12:21 AM) : 

Just went and watched a movie being put out by Lionsgate next spring called, "Trade". It was being shown as a breakout session for the catalyst conference being held here in ATL last week. Gary Haugen, President of International Justice Mission talked before the movie. He said within the next two years this topic will be hot on the radar screens of the evangelical church even though most church people hadn't heard of the issue yet. I thought, wow, the army is actually out in front, on time on a relevant issue. If we would just push forward in this issue rather than back away we might find ourselves in a leadership role. I don't criticize the little bit that we have done so far as I think awareness comes first. But if we press forward I think it could be great.


Blogger My2BoysNMe said ... (10:32 PM) : 

I work at a school here in Oklahoma, and I overheard a counselor talking the other day about this subject. She had given the 5th graders an annonymous test/survey not too long ago. She said that 19 out of 21 students said that they had felt they had been bullied at some point in time. After they were done with the survey, she asked them to turn the paper over and write some ways that we might be able to stop kids from being bullies. "Raise your kids right" was one of the answers.


Blogger kevin said ... (8:11 PM) : 


Cheriann and I have just spent a week dealing with Arthur and his school over the issue of bullying. He had a very rough day last week with 3 incidents of bullying levelled at him. One an 8th grader pushed his head into a locker Fortunately, a teacher was present and saw the incident and dealt with it rapidly and appropriately. The second incident was during lunch where Arthur got slapped. The third was with two boys in one of his class who hit him during class and then followed him down the hall. Now, we had to be sure of Arthur's involvement in these matters. He is not always innocent. In this case, he was. We are grateful that when we called the school and the teacher, there was a quick and good response. However, these matters have shaken Arthur up. Every day since these incidents he has told us that he does not want to go to school, or he has claimed a fictitious illness. Now we deal with the fear. And this is the side-effect of bullying. Fear. So, now over the weekend I had to buy glasses for Arthur. What is going to happen today - will he be called names? Will he get pushed again, because now he has one more characteristic which makes him stand out. Our response - rapid. Arthur knows that we will not ignore bullying. At the same time we hurt for him.



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