Sunday, January 15, 2012

" The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."

As this year's holiday rolls around, I worry that the moral arc is shaky.  I cannot remember a time when there has been such blatant racism in national discourse, and when the rhetoric has been so unpromising, especially from pious-sounding candidates who call our president "un-patriotic."  We've seen times like this before, where the racism was more overt than polite.  Until the last few years, we might have thought that things have improved in this country where racism is concerned.

So I went back to take a look at the original quotation. Dr. King often paraphrased the fuller quotation from Theodore Parker, who wrote it in the 1850s.

"I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice." 

It's been a long time since Dr. King was assassinated.  Let's hope that arc is truly bending toward justice.

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