"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do
nothing." Edmund Burke
you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of
If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that
you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
Bishop Desmond Tutu
"Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence
encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." Elie Wiesel
take sides is to effectively weigh in on the side of the stronger.”
William Sloane Coffin
“Neutrality is positively harmful.” Miroslav Volf
ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but
the silence over that by the good people."
is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human
history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or
acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against
injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”
From Isaac Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics":
First Law: A robot may not injure a human being or, through
inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. [ A law too often
violated by humans.
"Your activism should be involuntary right now, instead of
invisible." John Pavlovitz,
Christian Friend, I Hear Your Silence"
“We cannot suffer with the poor when we are unwilling to confront
those persons and systems that cause poverty. We cannot set the
captives free when we do not want to confront those who carry the
keys. We cannot profess our solidarity with those who are oppressed
when we are unwilling to confront the oppressor. Compassion without
confrontation fades quickly into fruitless sentimental
commiseration.” Henri Nouwen
"Opinions are cheap and easy and, ultimately, meaningless. Action is
what actually matters. What are you going to do about it? And when
are you going to do it? That's the challenge of this essay.
(Thoreau's "Resistance to Civil Government") Professor W.E.
Smith, Miami University of Ohio, talk at Chautauqua Institute, July
time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."
be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now.
Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete
the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. ” A.W.
came...anti-Nazi German pastor Martin Niemöller
"First they came for the
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me."
Franciscan blessing found on a wall in Camp
Victor (Ocean Springs, MS)
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half
truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and
exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer
from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out
your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe
that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what
others claim cannot be done.
James 2: 14-17 (New Testament)
Pity The Nation Lawrence Ferlinghetti 2007
Pity the nation whose people are sheep,
and whose shepherds mislead them.
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars, whose
sages are silenced,
and whose bigots haunt the airwaves.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice,
except to praise conquerors and acclaim the
bully as hero
and aims to rule the world with force and by
Pity the nation that knows no other language but
and no other culture but its own.
Pity the nation whose breath is money
and sleeps the sleep of the too well fed.
Pity the nation — oh, pity the people who allow
their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away.
My country, tears of thee, sweet land of
Sound of Silence
Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
"Fools", said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
In the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence
A Responsive Prayer for Justice Rebecca Sutton,
Program Coordinator of Global Women’s Exchange
Pray for those who are hungry.
Pray harder for those who will not feed them.
Pray for those who struggle each week to pay their bills.
Pray harder for the wealthy who do not care.
Pray for those who are homeless.
Pray harder for those who deny them shelter.
Pray for the sick and lonely.
ray harder for those who will not give them comfort.
Pray for those who cry out for dignity.
Pray harder for those who will not liste
Pray for those oppressed by unjust wages.
Pray harder for those who exploit them.
Pray for those who bear the yoke of prejudice.
Pray harder for those who discriminate against them.
Pray for those whose basic needs are denied.
Pray harder for public officials who cater to the greedy and ignore
those bound unjustly.