Justice Delayed

The Magna Carta of 1215 has a clause that reads, “We will not sell, or deny, or delay right or justice to anyone.”1

In 1617, when Francis Bacon was installed as Lord Chancellor, he said, “Swift justice is the sweetest.”2

In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

Ahmaud Arbery was shot dead–lynched–February 23. On May 7 the two men were arrested and charged. The day before Ahmaud Arbery’s birthday.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful. But it took far too long. Seventy-five days too long.

I received a stirring email this morning from a dear brother and community leader, a Black man who has his own experiences with racially-charged hatred and atrocities. He wrote:

“Lawlessness at the top, malicious abuse of power. Once again lady justice has continued to be the trollop she has constantly been exposed to be, pimped by politicians and people in power. Lady Justice is no longer blind. She has been caught peeping through her blindfold on voluminous occasions. Her blind fold has been replaced with chrome faced sunglasses, adorned with diamond studs. Her scales of justice have been weighed down on one side by the benevolent offerings of the rich, avaricious, powerful element of society preventing her from striking a blow for justice.”

Just because it appears that justice is rolling down like waters for brother Arbery doesn’t mean that white supremacy and the privilege of power won’t do all it can to build a dam.

We’ve seen it time and again with Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Atatiana Jefferson, Botham Jean, and others. This story isn’t a one-off for our brothers and sisters with black and brown skin. This is a day-in-the-life.

My beloved white Christians, we still have work to do. Be humble. Be courageous. Be faithful.


1. Clause 40, https://magnacarta.cmp.uea.ac.uk/read/magna_carta_1215/Clause_40

2. Montagu, Basil (1834). The Works of Francis Bacon, Lord Chancellor of England. A New Edition. XVI. p. 125.

About Fred

Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience. Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas. Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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1 Response to Justice Delayed

  1. Thayer Cory says:

    Thank you, Fred. As Quakers often say, “This Friends speaks my mind.” Thayer


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