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Black Church News in Virginia

Ink of the Scholar: Life is Sacred

By Imam Vernon Fareed

God is the One Who created life and the determination for the purpose and extent of that life is in His Hands. No other form of creation is given the freedom to affect its destiny like that of the human being. This freedom that we have is of course limited, but none the less it is freedom! Human beings have for thousands of years taken the liberty to end the lives of others for reasons that they deem worthy. Power, greed, hatred and jealousy are just a few of the many reasons that some have deemed to be valid causes to end the lives of other people.

When we fail to teach our children about the respect and value that they should have for the inanimate and material things in life, it’s hard for them to comprehend why the animate life is so sacred. Many of our children aren’t taught to view and treat property with respect, so they destroy it without giving any consideration to it. Even in the home youngsters are permitted to treat the sofa and other furniture like a trampoline, and the floor as though it is the ground outside. When they visit sacred places such as the Houses of Worship, they aren’t schooled on the behavior that they should exhibit in such an environment. What’s worst is that many parents refuse to allow any correction coming from one who might be sensitive to the sacredness of the surroundings. In response to an attempt at correction mothers can be heard saying, “don’t you say anything to my child – who do you think you are?”

Consequently, the forces in society with the desire to instill the right values in our children are neutralized! So children grow up spraying graffiti on the walls of businesses, homes and even Houses of worship, and this has become an acceptable part of their culture! There’s no respect for property and there’s no respect for sacrifices made to acquire these materials things.

Why should we think that our children will respect the greater things in life when they aren’t taught to respect the lesser things in life! All life is sacred, and the most sacred of all is that of the human being! There is no doubt that people of African American descent have grown tired of seeing their family members, friends and those of their ethnic group being killed at the hands of law enforcement officials. What pours salt on the wound is witnessing those officers being exonerated in the courts where they are supposed receive justice.

The fact that this happens so frequently causes some to go to extremes to draw attention to the problem, and/or to get justice (as they perceive it). Everyone has a breaking point so the manner in which some go about expressing their frustrations is not surprising. However, despite the fact that the expressions are borne out of frustration and a feeling of helplessness, this doesn’t make it right. It is no more right for an angry and frustrated African American to kill an innocent police officer as it is for a police officer to kill an innocent African American or anyone else. It’s like the old expression, “two wrongs don’t make a right!” The quest for justice often escapes us because of the prejudice, shortsightedness, limitations, etc. of those responsible for meting out the justice. There will be many situations in life when even after doing everything that we can do to achieve it, we will have to leave it in the Hand of God. I know that this is easier said than done, but nevertheless it has to be employed by people when they have reached their limits in the quest for justice.

There is no quick fix to the serious problems of racism, injustice, murder, etc. that we are witnessing today, but I do believe that the best approach to a long term solution is to begin to look at the root causes. I don’t have the time or space to expound on this now, but I intend to do so in succeeding articles. There’s a lot of apprehensive on the part of many to take this approach to addressing the problems in society, but it has to be done if intend to get to the heart of the matter!

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