The Common Good
March-April 1996

As if my heart were breaking

by Carol Wilkerson | March-April 1996

The law is our mutually created instrument to protect impartially the common good and individual rights from abuses by individuals, groups, or the state.

The law is our mutually created instrument to protect impartially the common good and individual rights from abuses by individuals, groups, or the state. As citizens our duty is to uphold the law and to respect its representatives. When the law, or those who uphold it, do not serve the purpose of the common good and individual freedom, or if the law itself becomes an instrument of abuse, it is our duty to speak out and to try to correct those abuses, not in a violent way but to protest, with one's body if necessary, a situation that has become fundamentally unjust.

I joined in the Capital Rotunda protest because I have felt as if my heart were breaking at what has been happening in my own country. I have also felt dismay at the coldness and uncaring of people who call themselves Christian and who claim to speak for all of us who follow Christ.

 

This action in very uncharacteristic of me. I have never taken such action before. I lead a very quiet life, directing our church's retreat center. But when I heard the announcement of this protest I knew God was giving me the opportunity to speak out against government that forgets its weaker members, and also to let it be known that there are Christians who do not agree with those who loudly advertise themselves as God's spokespersons.

CAROL WILKINSON is administrator of the silent retreat program at Dayspring Retreat Center in Germantown, Maryland.

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