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