Letter to the Editor: Let’s Make Liberty and Justice for All a  Living Fact


Identifying racial prejudice as “the most vital and challenging issue we face as a country,” the Baha’i National Spiritual Assembly begins a letter, “The Baha’is of the United States join our fellow citizens in heartfelt grief at the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others whose lives were suddenly taken by appalling acts of violence.”

While citing interrelated threats of climate change, gender discrimination, extreme wealth and poverty, etc., as symptoms of our refusal to recognize our essential oneness, the statement highlights signs of hope: many diverse citizens proclaiming we are one nation and demanding specific actions to address long standing racial injustices woven throughout our policies, laws, and institutions — voices recognizing that “liberty and justice for all” is lacking.

Baha’u’llah, prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, prioritizes justice with these words: “The best beloved of all things in my sight is justice ... By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor.”

A truly just society can only occur “when we learn to build relationships with each other based on sincere friendship, regard and trust, which, in turn, become pillars for the activities of our institutions and communities.” Those relationships must be based on “recognition of the fundamental truth that humanity is one.” This implies a reordering of society, requiring “participation of Americans of every race and background, for it is only through such inclusive participation that new moral and social directions can emerge.” No one should be viewed as “other.”

Eliminating “otherness” requires recognition that genetically there is only one race, the human race. False, man-made racial divisions have real and damaging consequences that we must find ways to heal and prevent.

Area Baha’is join others working toward realization of the American aspiration: “liberty and justice for all.” Interactions focused on how to engage with those of a “different race” emphasize the importance of truly hearing without judgment the voices of those who have suffered from the effects of racism. We reach out to our neighbors, striving to become acquainted with people of diverse backgrounds, to develop genuine understanding and friendships while supporting activities for the betterment of our community.

Unity in diversity is a principle manifest throughout creation. Just as the viability of every cell and every organ is contingent upon the health of the body as a whole, likewise, when any people is deprived of participation, society degrades, losing potential and thus affecting all.

All faith communities recognize that we are children of one God. Baha’u’llah proclaims, “Since we have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul …”

This can only be realized by putting love for all our neighbors into action.

Race unity is scientific fact. Now, as Americans contemplate what we aspire to be, let us make “liberty and justice for all” a living fact.

On behalf of the Baha’is of Lewis County,


Jill Johnston


Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Lewis County