Category: Justice

Restorative discipline: a gracious alternative to zero tolerance

The problem of school violence, truancy and student drug abuse needs to be addressed. No one disputes that. But it’s becoming clear that the zero-tolerance approach isn’t working. Consider Texas, where in recent years some 60 percent of middle school students will eventually be suspended or expelled at least once. Many of these students risk dropping out and landing in jail instead. Fortunately, it seems…  [more]

The Confederate flag and Christian allegiance

Last week’s racially motivated massacre of nine African-Americans at a South Carolina church has renewed debate over the Confederate flag, which accused killer Dylann Storm Roof can be seen displaying in photos. While some point to this and the flag’s association with groups such as the Ku Klux Klan as evidence that it is an expression of hate, others have argued that it’s simply a symbol of their…  [more]

Dylann Storm Roof and the scandal of forgiveness

During his initial hearing this past Friday, accused murderer Dylann Storm Roof heard words of forgiveness from relatives of those who were killed last week at in Charleston, S.C. Some of the members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of the shooting, even encouraged him to repent, praying that God would have mercy on him. The reaction, as represented on Twitter, has been a mixture of awe,…  [more]

Why the Charleston church shooting demands more than your prayers

"How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” – Psalm 13:1 The scene was familiar and jarring. With a massive police presence as a backdrop, African-American men and women gathered in a small prayer circle near Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The historic Charleston, S.C., church had been the site of a massacre during its regular Wednesday night Bible…  [more]

What if your feet aren’t ready for their Toms close-up?

Last week marked the ninth birthday for Toms shoes. Since 2006, Blake Mycoskie’s “One for One” company has, for every first-world purchase of its shoes, given a pair to someone overseas in need. Now the company sells coffee for clean water, sunglasses for eye-care, tote bags for maternity kits. Given how much they talk about gift-giving, it’s no surprise Toms also has a One Day Without Shoes…  [more]

Nail salons and the moral price of beauty

What’s the moral price you are willing to pay for beauty? Does being a Christian have economic implications? Does God care about the practices surrounding manicures and pedicures? These are some of the questions that came to my mind after reading “The Price of Nails,” a recent series by Sarah Maslin Nir in the New York Times. In the first part of the series we are introduced to the consistently…  [more]

Baltimore and the prevailing of peace

Freddie Gray died the other day. He was not a victim of gang violence. He was not a victim of cancer. He was not a victim of a car accident. Freddie Gray died because of injuries he suffered in police custody. And when his family went to memorialize him on April 27, their funeral candles lit a forest fire. Riots and violence terrorized Baltimore afterward - “the language of the unheard” as Martin Luther…  [more]

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the death penalty

As a family member of a murder victim and long-time opponent of the death penalty, I'm watching with great interest the sentencing phase of Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trial, which will determine whether he receives the death penalty. One could argue that Tsarnaev's case is not like others. There is no question that he committed the crime, a horrible act of terrorism. The toll of the dead and…  [more]

The new technology of social justice

In his seminal book The Prophets, Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel suggested that the Old Testament prophets saw justice as the supreme manifestation of God's presence. Heschel, a rabbi whose work carved out a place in both Jewish and Christian thought, was the sole survivor of a family who was killed by Nazis during World War II. "God's concern for justice grows out of His compassion for man,”…  [more]

Uncomfortable baking a cake for a gay wedding? “Bake for them two”

In Jesus’ time, the nation of Israel was under Roman rule. The Israelites were allowed to live there and practice their faith for the most part, but they had to pay taxes to Caesar and obey the Roman laws. To the Israelites, the Romans were evil and ungodly. They had no place ruling over God’s chosen people in God’s chosen nation. That land had been promised to Moses and his descendants when God…  [more]

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