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smolderingwickred1

Everyone wants justice. Everyone wants to be treated fairly. EVERYONE!

The reference to the ancient text by the Prophet Isaiah speaks to the character and mission of the Messiah to be both, tender and just:

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.

Whenever the structures of justice are unjust, society is thrown into chaos. Earlier I noted that the ancient Proverbs are forthright about how unfair weights and measures undermines society, and whenever we experience it, we are deeply disturbed.

Sometimes we marvel at so-called justice systems in developing nations where the procedures and outcomes are so obviously stacked against the poor or disadvantaged that we would hardly recognize anything as fair.  But when it happens in our own nation, we marvel at the break down; we wonder how we’ve come this far without anyone noticing the injustice.

Alberta Justice Under Review

Recently Alberta Justice Robin Camp came under review for his perplexing remarks in the case involving the alleged rape of a 19-year-old woman by a Calgary man, whom she accused of sexually assaulting her during a house party.

During the trial Camp repeatedly called the woman “the accused” and asked her, “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?” and, “Why didn’t you just sink your bottom down into the basin so he couldn’t penetrate you?”

Camp acquitted the accused but Alberta’s Court of Appeal overturned the ruling last year and ordered a new trial. The three judges wrote that Camp’s comments gave rise to doubts about his understanding of the law governing sexual assaults.

Forced to Inquire? Why wasn’t it Easy?

What amazes me is that this wasn’t questioned/reviewed on the face of the comments in the first place. It was reported that Alberta Attorney General Kathleen Ganley has forced an inquiry into the conduct of Federal Court Justice Robin Camp after his controversial remarks during a sexual assault trial surfaced late last year.

Ganley said the decision wasn’t an easy one to make, but in light of all the public attention on the former provincial court judge, she feels it is important to maintain confidence in the province’s justice system.

“The concern is that that will have an effect on the way people perceive not only the judicial system but the way that complainants may feel about coming forward with these sorts of allegations. So we felt that it was really important and in the public interest,” Ganley said.

In light of all the public attention

Really?  The inquiry was only because it had reached the “light of all the public attention?”  I am not sure it is safe to conclude that other Judges may be morally deaf if they are not able to hear statements like those of Robin Camp as unfair on their own merits. Of course Attorney General Ganley should be (as we are) concerned about how people perceive the judicial system – because – increasingly it is the system itself that is on trial.

But this is not the first time Judges have made outrageous comments or unfair judgements – – only to be censured behind closed doors, while keeping their very well paid and highly influential jobs. Read Alice Wooley’s article in “When Judicial Decisions Go from Wrong to Wrongful – How Should the Legal System Respond?

Everyone wants justice. Everyone wants to be treated fairly. EVERYONE!

When a person came to me after I taught on “Social Justice” and declared, “I don’t think God’s into social justice,” – I was momentary stunned.

What’s a person to say to that? I said,

It’s actually worse than you think. God is just; He is justice and everything about Him is righteous. He seeks to re-establish fairness, right-relatedness and justice in every sphere – criminal justice, social justice, restorative justice, and our personal right-relatedness to Him.

From Jesus’ first sermon in Luke 4:18ff, throughout His life and death and resurrection, Jesus comes to create justice on earth as it is in Heaven, and to restore our relationship with Him and His creation. It is not injustice that energizes me (though it is often the spark for the fire under my ass); it is Jesus’ redemptive justice that inspires; it is the substantive grounds for “the Shalom of God.”

That we even think of justice as a concept – and that we expect fairness in everything that affects us – should be a clue to us that this is an echo of the nature and character of God. Why should we care? Why not just take “justice into our own hands?”  Surely God’s fairness (His righteous justice) sets the tone for all relationships.

So while corrupted justice might be on trial, may I nudge you to the Author and Creator of true Justice – the One whose very impulse is to create fairness, and to impute right-relatedness in those who seek Him.

This is a great mystery.

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