Friday, April 9, 2010

Wm. Sloane Coffin on Justice

The Rev. Wm. Sloane Coffin reminded me a lot of the 20th century version of the prophet Jeremiah. His voice was--and in some cases, still is--worth listening to. Here are a few examples of Sloane Coffin at his best, from his book, Credo:
   Not to take sides is effectively to weigh in on the side of the stronger. (p. 50)
   The Bible is less concerned with alleviating the effects of injustice than in eliminating the causes of it. (p. 50)
   To know God is to do justice. To recognize this implacable moral imperative of the faith represents the kind of religion that mixes well with politics. (p. 51)
   To believe you can approach transcendence without drawing nearer in compassion to suffering humanity is to fool yourself. There can be no genuine personal religious conversion without a change in social attitude. (p. 51)
   Compassion and justice are companions, not choices. (p. 51)
   Hell is truth seen too late. (p. 53)
   The word "homeless" is devastating, suggesting neither comfort nor companionship, dignity nor grace, and precious little identity. To have no place is to be no place. Homlessness is nowheresville--whether you're one of the world's 14 million refugees, a boat person from Indochina, one of Calcutta's 400,000 semi-starved sidewalk dwellers, or one of the 36,000 who in New York City spend so much of their time huddled in doorways, wrapping themselves in the Daily News. (pp. 54-55)
   The biblical reminder is clear: whatever our economic system, the enemy is excess, not possessions. The battle cry is "Enough!" not "Nothing!" "Enough" so that we can all break bread together, so that everyone's prayer can be answered--"Give us this day our daily bread." (p. 57) 
   The way we are cutting taxes for the wealthy and social programs for the poor, you'd think the greedy were needy and the needy were greedy. (p. 61)
   God is not mocked: what is grossly immoral can never in the long run be politically expedient. (p. 100)
Amen! and Lord, have mercy on us all...

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