From time immemorial human beings have been yearning for justice against tyranny and oppression. Civilization has had an organic development since human history began; from a very simplistic to a deeper, frequent and broader range of understanding of this principle contributing to an ever progressing evolution. Successes and failures have been a part of the advancement of justice.
In the mid-19th century at the birth of the Baha’i Faith, the pace and intensity began quickening the consciousness of people of the world which is continuing. Justice will develop throughout millions of succeeding generations.
Baha’u’llah (the Glory of God) in one of His first declaration says, “…Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart.” In the second pronouncement He admonishes us:
“O Son of Spirit! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me and neglect it not that I may confide in Thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the eyes of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thine heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily, justice is my gift to thee and the sign of My loving kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.”
What does the word ‘justice’ mean today? The Baha’is generally believe that social justice means that the exercise of free will, which necessitates freedom to all citizens with attendant provisions of consequences and sanctions from communities which encourages the human spirit and not be a burden upon it. Justice also means to inspire all peoples to achieve their full potential — mental, physical and spiritual.
The foremost important component of justice is a total involvement in an ethical system that demands a sense of the oneness and unity of all mankind, it demands intellectual integrity, demands a responsibility for the development of self and others and balances the rights with responsibilities. Justice means that the law serves the interest and applies equally to all.
The rule of law must serve the interests of all, applying equally to the entire community. The members of a just community have the right to think as they wish and express themselves freely without abuse of privilege. All members must know the laws in advance and must be committed to the impartial obedience to the laws between individuals, states, nations and world. The law needs to be in concert with the ethical system and needs to be seen as just and not be capricious or arbitrary.
Laws must be administered by a judiciary; objective, informed, fair-minded and concerned for the general well-being. Justice mandates the provision for physical and necessary personal property. Supporting the judiciary by militia and police force that is subject to the rule of law and views itself as servants and protectors of all the populace not tyrants and oppressors.
Justice stresses the importance to have all members of society have a say in the management of the concerns of a community. The supervision, management and governance may be accomplished by direct referendum or indirectly by elections of agents on the behalf of all citizens whom have the rights and privilege of a secret ballot voting without intimidation. The elected must be God fearing and incorruptible.
The irrevocable requirement for a just society is equal opportunity for the entire populace. There should be no negative discrimination on account of sex, race, culture, economic status or religion. The concept of justice of material resources is that there be no extremes of wealth and poverty and the conservation of natural resources of the planet. With justice will come peace.
Judi Panetta is a member of the Baha’i faith.