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No Peace without Justice based on Equality by Bernadette McGonigle

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

(Mini-Exegesis/Midrash: A Response to Intolerance and Victims of Violence)

Genesis 1:27: "God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

We are all created in the image of God and loved equally as sons and daughters; no matter what race, nationality, creed or colour we are. The magnitude of this is beyond our comprehension. However, the concept of equality is a rational concept and capable of being understood by us – if we choose. To note that these foundational truths found at the beginning of the Bible, and of creation itself, have been ignored or misconstrued over the years, centuries, millennia- and even now- should force anyone of good will to remind the world of their import. With deep shame and sadness, we must admit the role our religious leaders and institutions have played historically in embedding evils such as racism in our world. We must also acknowledge the heroic efforts made by some individuals and institutions in condemning and combatting such evils. The personal cost of standing up against injustice can be high, even martyrdom. Saint Oscar Romero is one of many such examples who showed that without justice, there is no real peace. He wrote:

Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is right and it is duty.

Our Jewish professors in our course referred us to Amos and the other Prophets beckoning the people towards a more just society. As a Christian, I look to Christ as the example par excellence in responding to injustice and violence. In responding to injustice and violence to my neighbour, I must rely on that part of the golden commandment that instructs us to love our neighbour as equal to ourselves.

When we left the Holocaust Museum in Israel as part of the Russell Berrie trip to Israel, we were left with a moral choice – to be counted among the Righteous or to stand by and be complicit in wrongdoings. Being good is not good enough. Each day we are called to choose between good or evil; justice or injustice; peace or violence; love or fear. Today, we are called to demand that all people, of whatever colour, are acknowledged and treated as equal and with equal dignity, as they are by our common Creator. It is our right and duty to do so.

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