Part 25 of a Series
Our time, and this year of 2014, have much in common with Palestine at the time of the birth of Yeshua ben Joseph, whom we have come to call Jesus Christ. In those days a brutal Roman Empire dominated a diverse cultural mix of peoples in the Holy Land, a crossroads of many cultures sharing critical trade routes from east to west and from north to south. increasingly in our time of this 21st Century since the celebrated birth of humble circumstances, those who impose order in our society are accused of brutal, sometimes fatal, aggression.
In Roman days it was commonly accepted that criminals would be put to death rather swiftly by dominant blade-wielding soldier-police.
Weapons have changed in the centuries since a dying Herod ruled in Palestine, yet results are too often the same: judgments are too swift and fatal for those suspected of crimes.
In Ferguson, Missouri the Wilson-Brown case became instantly famous around the globe. This followed other infamous cases of perversions of justice, and was in turn followed by new circumstances in which those who are armed and empowered to enforce laws for the good of all of us are suspected of abusing power and perverting justice.
The brutality of Roman police and its nearly complete lack of accountability forms a model for present-day squadrons of battle-ready police taking to the streets in Ferguson and other cities in the United States, or other nations in this world.
In Roman Provinces at the time of Christ’s birth soldiers were employed primarily to protect assets of privileged wealthy families.
That should seem familiar. The same is true today, with corporate assets taking precedence over protections given to poor and disadvantaged folk.
For decades this imbalance has become increasingly obvious. Injustice in our society grows with each passing year. It has become impossible to ignore. A din rises on streets of our cities on occasions such as those prompted by officer-involved killings in Ferguson and New York City, but for a majority of cases outrage is silent.
We have come to a point of accepting injustice throughout our society, at every level, as easily as we have welcomed a nearly complete transition to a secular society. This is because secularism and injustice are intricately intertwined.
A couple of years ago in my blog ReGeneration (http://thomasanagy. blogspot.com) I wrote on this transition to an amoral society, and its dangers.
As followers of this series know, Cynthia Turner has been pursuing an elusive Justice for the murder of her son, Jason R. Turner-Shenker, in 2005. In fact, Cynthia seeks a moral outcome in an amoral world through entirely secular means. Her quest intersects with the essence of the birth of Christ at the time and place in which that occurred.
The Gospels are simply “good news.” Those that relate our Christ-Mass story tell us that in the midst of an amoral, brutal Roman Empire was born One who was without sin, One who was pure of heart and incorruptible, and One who was destined to teach human beings a new way of life. Here was to be a light in the midst of unfathomable darkness.
People of the Roman Empire were actually more religious than people of this generation. Worship of their pantheon of gods, too many to name, included brutality and death as a matter of routine. Even pious, religious Judeans executed law violators immediately, commonly by stoning a person to death by the hands of a mob. This is depicted in the gospel describing the attempt to stone to death a woman accused of adultery. “Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone” to carry out that sentence. Romans, Greeks and Judeans practiced their faith more assiduously than we do today, in much higher percentages of respective populations, yet the behavioral result was comparable to our secular society today.
Justice cannot occur as a derivative of an amoral secular society.
Justice cannot occur when there is hatred or a sense of revenge. It is not a “thin line” between justice and revenge, but rather a broad “demilitarized zone” between the two.
Anyone who foments hatred in his or her heart cannot also reasonably seek justice. That person inevitably seeks revenge, not justice. It is like starting on a fifty-yard line in a football game; one goal represents justice while the opposite end represents vengeance.
Yeshua was born into this world because humankind had lost its perspective in too many ways; among those perspectives, that Justice is an aspect of God, not mankind. Justice is a perfect balance between judgment and mercy, thus it requires a perfect and merciful Judge. No human is perfect.
Cynthia Turner hopes that justice, for her son’s murder, will be meted out by imperfect human beings who have taken power within the State of Nevada, Clark County or federal jurisdictions. To seek justice is certainly a moral quest, one that we should all pursue in our own pathways, our allotted time and space.
However, for Turner to attain justice will first require a “new birth” for all those named thus far in this series, or those who retain power in pertinent venues. It would require that Clark County Coroner Michael Murphy would be reborn to possess a pure heart dedicated to seeking justice as God intends it to be. The same applies to his successor. The same is true of District Attorney Steve Wolfson; he would have to be reborn to possess a pure heart devoted to a fair and equitable administration of justice. He would have to seek the Wisdom of Solomon, however elusive that may be to attain. For each man, they would have to pray for Divine Wisdom to penetrate their heart and minds so that true justice might be administrated in Clark County.
That would make their respective oaths of office sincere oaths.
The same concept applies to all others named previously in this series. Those administrators at Temple Sinai and the Shenker Academy would need to experience a rebirth comparable to “entering this world anew” without becoming a fortress designed and purposed to preserve privilege or exclusivity, and more concerned with being a school of morality and wisdom. Lieutenant Steiber and Detective Gillis and various other officers of the court, lawyers and judges tasked with
meting out justice but rarely do, all these would have to be reborn to the spirit of their oaths, and to perceive this world and their respective roles in it “in a new light.” Each must be guided by that new light of wisdom and hope represented by the Star of Bethlehem.
Perhaps the lesson of that Gospel Star is that simple: those who follow its light become wise along their journey toward it; being wise is not a prerequisite to seek its light.
Justice is the Wisdom of God. It cannot be attained without acknowledging and seeking God’s Wisdom.
To understand the meaning of Christmas we need to understand that the old and present ways of this world are inadequate to attain justice.
Christ was born into a world darkened by injustice that had become institutionalized in both secular Roman administration and religious hard-heartedness. In our present the same hard-heartedness exists everywhere that secularism and amorality dominate.
We must never give up though. To be resigned is to allow hatred and selfishness to increase as cancers in society, as negativity feeding on negativity. This is not what God has wanted for humanity, although this is what we have accepted too readily by demanding an amoral, secular society.
Cynthia Turner strives to attain justice for the murder of her son Jason in this unyielding, amoral and self-serving society. That she has not yet attained this noble goal is testament to a problem that we all face, in Las Vegas, in Ferguson, Missouri, in New York City, and in a thousand other cities and villages around this globe. We demand no moral fortitude in those we empower to dominate our lives. We expect an amoral judge to provide a moral outcome, which is justice.
We elect officials who tell us that a moral standard is irrelevant to their oaths of office and administration of their duties. We overlook the obvious incongruities of these suppositions until a member of our family, or a neighbor, or someone who matters to us personally is killed, and we then seek justice that can only come through a moral and equitable process.
The story of Christmas is many things, rich in symbolism and deep meaning. It is the story of love, of a mother for her newborn son, and the same woman who understood the meaning of sacrifice. Mary knew that being obedient to the Will of God meant that her sacrifice would inevitably be great, but that this world would be enlightened by the Gift of her Son, the Prince of Peace. That Son was destined to die young, as was Jason Turner. To bring light into the darkness of this world requires great sacrifice and obedience to the Will of God.
Justice cannot be attained any other way.
Miracles do happen. This is one of the meanings of Christmas.
Hard-heartedness can be softened by love, especially in that all love is divine, emanating from God. For this reason I ask that everyone pray who prays for Cynthia Turner and her quest for justice and Light in this darkened world. Prayer is, after all things, the greatest gift one can give after Love.
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Thomas A. Nagy is the author of Cannabis Consumer Handbook available at Amazon.com, and the blog ReGeneration at blogspot.com. Email direct at: firstname.lastname@example.org.