“I have loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore I die in exile.”
-Pope Gregory VII
As many have come to find out, there are points in which I tend to lack imagination. To me, a sermon on ‘Inequity, yet Justice’ is almost cut and dry, leaving little to the imagination. So what would there be to reflect on? So I turn to one of my favorite Transcendentalist. And while reading through his collective works, and wondering if I should have started with Emerson, I stumble across this.
“Freedom is an individual experience. If you have it, its objective expression will find many forms; but if you don't have it you will get along all right, like any four-footed animal or "sound" citizen, and you may even go to heaven, but you can never be free.”
In philosophy, the concept of a proper proportion between a person's deserts (what is merited) and the good and bad things befall or are allotted to him or her is Justice. Aristotle's discussion of the virtue of justice has been the starting point for almost all Western accounts. For him, the key element of justice is treating like cases alike, an idea that has set later thinkers the task of working out which similarities (need, desert, talent) are relevant. Aristotle distinguishes between justice in the distribution of wealth or other goods (distributive justice) and justice in reparation, as, for example, in punishing someone for a wrong he has done (retributive justice). The notion of justice is also essential in that of the just state, a central concept in political philosophy.
The process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals.
1)The maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments
The administration of law; especially: the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity
2) The quality of being just, impartial, or fair
The principle or ideal of just dealing or right action (2) : conformity to this principle or ideal : righteousness
The quality of conforming to law
3) Conformity to truth, fact, or reason:
Continuing forward with this common understanding of Justice I asked myself what would then be commonly accepted meaning of Iniquity.
Immoral or grossly unfair behavior. From Latin iniquitat-, iniquitas, from iniquus uneven.
This hardly prepares one with a sufficient, in my opinion, understanding of Iniquity so I continued my search and looked further back to find sources where it has been debated throughout history. And as it happens many of them agree with what might be considered a modern, common understanding.
From Summa Theological, Volume 3
(Part II, Second Section)
“It would seem that injustice is not a special vice. For it is written (1 Jo. iii. 4) All sin is iniquity.*“
*Vulg.,-Whosoever committeth sin, committeth also iniquity; and sin is iniquity.
Now Iniquity would seem to be the same as injustice, because justice is a kind of equality, so that injustice is apparently the same as inequality or iniquity. Therefore injustice is not a special sin.
Now armed with an understanding that is not based on mere hearsay or popular misconceptions I reflected on these things wondering what to write a sermon on that would be of any benefit to anyone… And why would it be important for us to reflect on such a topic that is so difficult to isolate similarities between cultures and societies spanning the centuries? And I had a thought…
It’s not really.
Justice and Iniquity are concepts of man; based on a dualistic system of morals that varies from time to time and place to place. And in each, its interpretation and execution is suspect to situations and circumstances to fit the needs of the ones requiring the moral high ground. Rules, regulations, expectations, shortcomings; these are the confines mankind places on himself to set functions of control in an attempt to give himself the false illusion of security in a universe where nothing is certain. When all the time, what is right is what is now. The moment shows you what you need to know; the answer when you need to know; all if you are able to listen to what is being said.
Even in the Christian Bible there is a passage which reads, render unto Ceaser that which is Ceaser’s. Thus in turn, not supporting civil unrest but freeing the peoples from an oppressive rule in which one set of correctness and justice conflicted with another.
“There is never an instant’s truce between virtue and vice.…The laws of the universe are not indifferent, but are forever on the side of the most sensitive.…We are conscious of an animal in us, which awakens in proportion as our higher nature slumbers.…If I knew so wise a man as could teach me purity I would go seek him forthwith.… Chastity is the flowering of man; and what are called Genius, Heroism, Holiness and the like, are but various fruits which succeed it…”
And my own interpretation of this next line reads…
Man flows at once with the Force when the channel of purity is open.