by Lewis Herlitz
In a recent conversation with friends, the following questions came up “When will the need for speaking out about social injustice end? What to do? What to do?” I had said that I like the prophets because, as one of them had said, “they spoke out, not just for the poor but for wrong-doing, for example holding King David to account for working out how to remove the husband of the woman he wanted”.
They also warned about what might happen if people didn’t listen to God. They took risks in speaking out against ‘authority’ and against ‘the people’. I think we all need to be prophets in that we all need to speak up about ethical issues. But in a very focused way. For example, we could contact our MPs, our Religious or other leaders. We could also sign relevant petitions.
I believe it is probably harder to speak up these days despite social media, or perhaps because of social media. In the days of the Old Testament, a prophet could turn up at a Palace and say to the King, “Look at what you are doing? Is it right? Is this what God wants?” Or he might visit the temples in Jerusalem or Nineveh and say, “You had better mend your ways or else.”
Today, there are millions of us being fed information via the media – from Facebook, Twitter, the BBC, to propaganda from world leaders. We are drowning in the stuff. Who should we listen to?
During our discussions, the questions came up on the horrors of the Russian invasion, military action, the suppression of religion in so many parts of the globe – what can we do?
Shouting out, ganging up in communal protests, and in the name of old religions, philosophies etc. to my mind, will not do. Something more radical…out of the box is what we need to examine… What do you/we really think?”
It seems we have all been sent to sleep and we all need to wake up. Look at us in Britain, look at our leaders…
We live in times where there is so much injustice, so many challenges, so much moral ineptitude from Government, such a lack (in my view) of strong leadership, that we can become numb, and fail to act when we should. I understand that people can be worn down by hearing or reading, or being petitioned too much, whilst not seeing enough real, courageous leadership, and thus not acting. Yet if people act too noisily, this Government is going to arrest them, on the grounds that other people might get upset by the noise and disruption!
We need to wake up.
Ukraine is a Wake-Up call.
The continuing school shootings in America is a Wake-Up call.
The gezillions of profits by the oil companies is a Wake-Up call.
How many Wake-Up calls do we need?
Being an old-fashioned sort of a bloke, it is my view, that we lack courageous, ethical leaders, speaking out in public. And if we know of ethical leaders who are out there speaking their truth, then we need to write to them or otherwise contact them and tell them we are with them. And if our own leaders appear not to be acting, we need to ask WHY? Having listened, having seen injustices, we need to act. We all need to be prophets in whatever way we can.