Can Hope Become Justice: Post-Election Roundup

Paul Harvey

Just a brief roundup of some post-election views. First, the religious historian, jazz instrumentalist, and fantasy football player extraordinaire Jason Bivins asks, "I will be eager to see if one of campaign 2008’s keywords—hope—is supplanted by a different word: justice." That seems to be a theme running through many of these pieces. Another example: John Carlson's "The Justice We Need" suggests:

But Obama’s election suggests more than just a victory for equality or the realization of hard-earned civil rights. For, just as Obama now shines under the lamp of King’s legacy, it is essential to recall that, for King, justice was never only about civil rights. Justice was also a political formulation of the “beloved community”: the uniting of diverse peoples in one “beautiful symphony of brotherhood.” . . . . To be sure, this was an ideal never to be realized fully on earth. But it is an ideal that is every bit as important to King’s politics and his pursuit of justice as the Forms were to Plato or the Heavenly City was to Augustine.

King’s dream makes clear that justice begins with rights. But justice encompasses so much more than rights just as the injustices of America’s past—slavery, lynchings, segregation—extended far deeper than any simple denial of rights. The suffering and inhumanity associated with these indignities tore apart individual bodies and ruined lives, not to mention the relations that solidify families, communities, and, at times, the entire nation. Justice, then, also entails the process of binding old wounds, of reclaiming moral wholeness, and, most of all, rectifying the civil relations that countenance moral disorder. So understood, justice is not established the moment slavery or segregation is abolished or the instant that civil rights are extended to all. Conceiving justice as such overlooks the ongoing role that civic attitudes and actions play in healing relationships among citizens and shaping the moral character of a polity that binds them together.

And finally also from Immanent Frame, this roundup of responses, crossposted here:

In conjunction with recent post-election reflections at The Immanent Frame by Howard Adelman, Arjun Appadurai, John Esposito, Conrad Hackett, D. Michael Lindsay, Elizabeth Prodromou and John Schmalzbauer, Nicole Greenfield gathers a selection of articles that consider the role religion played in last Tuesday’s election (and the way it might figure politically in the months ahead), while Ruth Braunstein surveys news and analysis on “Voting in a year when ‘Muslim’ was a slur.” Find both of these roundups (and more) at here & there.

In our ongoing discussions, Patrick Lee Miller continues his
exchange with critics of his recent post on “Immanent Spirituality,” Arjun Appadurai responds to Jason Kuznicki’s criticisms of his post, “The magic ballot” (and Kuznicki fires back), Christine Wicker and Conrad Hackett consider how best to grasp the polling impact of “evangelicals,” and readers of Christianity Today and others react to D. Michael Lindsay’s post on evangelical leaders and the “Changing of the guard.”


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