Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

The Arc of the Moral Universe

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used the phrase “The arc of the moral universe bends toward justice.”

The Arc of the Moral Universe

You probably know the phrase, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I thought it came from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. And it does, but started elsewhere!

This morning at The Unitarian Church in Westport David Vita said this phrase is what motivates him in his work as Social Justice Director.

Theodore Parker, claimed by the Unitarian-Universalists as a leading figure, coined the phrase.

I just read Parker’s bio on Wikipedia. He was, “an

Theodore Parker who coined the phrase.

Theodore Parker who coined the phrase, “The arc of the moral universe.”

American Transcendentalist and reforming minister of the Unitarian church. A reformer and abolitionist, his words and popular quotations would later inspire speeches by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.”

He was born in 1810 and died in 1860 just before the American Civil War. Abolition was a major cause for him. His final congregation in Boston, Wikipedia says, “grew to 2,000—then three percent of Boston’s population—and included influential figures such as Louisa May AlcottWilliam Lloyd GarrisonJulia Ward Howe (a personal friend), and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Parker said, “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.”

King took the words and changed them – to great effect!

David Vita, Social Justice Director, The Unitarian Church in Westport

David Vita, Social Justice Director, The Unitarian Church in Westport

David described a dream he had seven years ago:

“I was ill and heavily medicated; the dream may have been drug induced! But it was vivid and still clear in my memory,” he said.

Many people, first strangers and then people he knew from our congregation, were swarming around the arc of the moral universe where he was standing. They began randomly jumping. Then they jumped in unison on the arc itself. They arc was bending and they succeeded in making it bend faster!

David said this morning, “We bend [the arc] as a result of our actions. It does not bend by itself!”

Our Black Lives Matter banner which was vandalized recently has been replaced and was hanging this morning. We will rededicate it next Sunday.

Marvel Comic and Chibok Girls

Nnedi Okorafor, writer, from her website

Nnedi Okorafor, writer, from her website

I was never a huge fan of comics. I rarely read Wonder Woman or Superman comics; I was an Archie fan if anything.

But I know the name Marvel is important. And I know there is renewed interest in comics. So the note about the Chibok Girls and Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor intrigued me. I love the fact that it’s set in Lagos.

She wrote the children’s book Chicken in the Kitchen. I talked about it in earlier blog posts.

She quotes The New York Times on her website: “She has made a name for herself with novels that combine politically complex science fiction and lyrical fantasy.”

Nnedi Okorafor’s Marvel Comic Is Inspired By The Chibok Girls – And It’s Out Now

Nnedi Okorafor’s Marvel Comic Is Inspired By The Chibok Girls – And It’s Out Now

Nigerian Army Announces Python Dance II

Operation Python Dance II has been announced by Major-General DD Ahmadu, Chief of Training and Operations, Nigerian Army. The operation is a training exercise, the army says, but also to protect civilians and to maintain territorial integrity.

“The Army disclosed that it will place emphasis on raids, cordon and search operations, anti-kidnapping drills, roadblocks, checkpoints, and show of force, and humanitarian activities such as medical outreach.”

Sahara Reporters says, the “crackdown on violent agitators, kidnappers, and other bandits . . . is to be conducted in 82 Division Area of Responsibility covering the five states of the South-East, and will last from 15 September to 14 October.”

Another article, this one in Today.ng, says that this planned exercise is unconstitutional. A group called ADF, “in a statement signed by its President, Secretary, and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, said that the army declaration was another show of force and attempt to demonstrate to the world that Igbo land and the rest of the country were indeed a conquered territory.”

Clem and Dozie in December 2016 in Nnewi

Clem (right) and Dozie in December 2016 in Nnewi

Dozie Ikedife is our dear friend, speaker at our wedding and at our 50th anniversary! We saw him during last year’s Christmas holidays and hope to do so again this year. But we don’t share the sense he has of the Igbo people people being under attack.

A third article on this issue says that the Igbo group, INC, Igbo National Council, “warned that it would sue the Nigeria Army to the International Criminal Court, ICC, for genocide against the Southeast region.”

The operation has not started. No one has been killed. Let us hope that no one is, and the operation can be carried out peacefully. But the list of what the army will do is not too encouraging.

And I have to wonder how the army can spare people for this exercise. Is it not totally engaged in the fight against Boko Haram in the northeast?

Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.

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