Credo –

Here’s Martin Frost’s first Credo article that appeared in the Newark Advertiser last week.

Not Equality but Justice for all.

A lot of the news this week has been dedicated to commentary on the death of an innocent man, George Floyd, and the subsequent actions of people protesting about his death. This is not the first innocent black person to be killed at the hands of the police, either there or here, and unfortunately it may not be the last.

Two things, that I have seen, during this past week have struck me about this event.  The first was by a pastor, whose podcasts I receive. He was in conversation with another pastor and for him he felt the issue was not about race, it was about justice. For him it didn’t matter that, like him, the victim was black. If it had been a black officer and the victim was white, his outrage at the event would have been the same. This man was the victim of an unjust act, he was not given the same rights as others or what he deserved. His outrage was about the action not the colour of the victim.

The second thing was an image about colour blindness. It was reflecting on the idea from a while ago encouraging us to be colour blind and to see each other as the same. The image spoke against this and said that, rather than not seeing differences, we should celebrate them. We are unique and that uniqueness should be something we recognise and give thanks for and protect.

In Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, Ch 3, it speaks about all people being equal in Jesus and the all receiving the reward his death on the cross brought. All people have received the same justice and forgiveness from God. It is not just a matter of equality; it is a matter that all people receive the same justice and are treated the same under God’s mercy.

This week has made me think, and I didn’t think that I hold prejudices, whether there are groups of people in our society that I do not see the same as me, whether I pre-judge them and not offer them the same justice as I expect. Going further, do I celebrate their difference?

It’s almost easier to think of the death of George Floyd as a race issue because as a white person it doesn’t directly affect me in Newark. But when we think of justice and all groups as deserving equal justice, then it becomes more challenging. If I am meant to celebrate differences, because I don’t understand what it is to be black or Asian or a woman or traveller, I probably have to accept that I may harbour some thoughts that do not offer equal justice and I have to repent.

And finally, why should I challenge myself to try harder to seek justice for others, to celebrate and defend their differences? I am reminded of the saying by Pastor Niemöller who warned us that if we are not prepared to speak out against the injustices faced by others, we may reach a point where there is no one to speak out on our behalf.

Martin Frost, London Road Congregational Church

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