Pursuit of the truth brings justice


POSTED: Saturday, October 17, 2009

Without truth, there can be no full sense of justice.

Her name was Sojourner Truth. That was the name Isabella Baumfree chose for herself in 1843, because the truth kept calling her. In the 19th century, this black woman, women's rights advocate, abolitionist, sojourned and traveled the countryside, speaking the truth as she had seen and experienced it.

Such truth-telling comes with courage and risk. Her most famous speech was in 1851, “;Ain't I a Woman.”;

It seems to me that now, in the light of the nature of the corporate media system today, we must dig to get at the truth. For without knowing the truth, there can be no justice.

Thanks to someone like Amy Goodman, who is a persistent pursuer of the truth, of stories and details that are often overlooked and ignored by other journalists and media.

Thanks to people like Bill Moyers, who also has a way of ferreting out stories that demand the public's attention.

Thanks to Mother Jones, Jeremy Scahill, the Center for Public Integrity and other watchdogs of human activity—Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, for Sojourner Truth and others.

We cannot expect a full measure of justice without knowing the truth. And the truth is often hidden, disguised, distorted, withheld or manipulated to serve particular interests.

How did the classical Hebrew prophets do it? How did they get their information, their stories straight? How did they dig out the truth? How did they make it convincing?

It was not because of some divine pipeline, but I maintain it was because they listened very carefully to the news that swirled around them—from the north and from the south, from Judea, Samaria, Galilee, or from Babylon, Assyria, Egypt or wherever it might be.

They knew their covenant obligation thoroughly—the demand for justice and righteousness. And they knew how frequently the call to righteousness was being bypassed by the powers that be.

Not only do we need to know the truth, we need to be able to face it.

One of the current words in the political arena today is the term transparency. In a democracy, transparency is vital. Overextended secrecy is corrosive, damaging a sense of trust.


Fritz Fritschel is a retired Lutheran minister.