American Ideals and JUGHEADS: Justice

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This 2016 column series celebrates how the founding principles of our American heritage are reflected in JUGHEADS. It’s a particularly contentious national election season; as we kick off another school year, Paul’s Platform will describe how this founder is adherent to many of the views of our Founding Fathers.

“Justice” is an ideal that is synonymous with the U.S.A. Among the very first stated goals in the Preamble is to “establish Justice,” and The Pledge of Allegiance climaxes with that great phrase, “…with liberty and justice for all.” The Bible, widely read and respected by our Founding Fathers (Christians and deists alike), mentions “justice” some 135 times! Micah 6:8 lists “to do justice” as a basic requirement of goodness, and Jesus cites justice among “the weightier matters of the law” (Matthew 23:23, ESV).

So what is justice, and how does it relate to JH? A biblical synonym is righteousness; from a legal perspective, it’s lawfulness; and from a kid’s perspective, it’s most commonly thought of as fairness. When a child complains, “That’s not fair,” he or she is really pointing out an injustice (whether real or imagined).

Justice is a principle and a truth that is an excellent guide in life. Strive to do what is right (or righteous), and one will generally be rewarded. Hard work pays off. Obey laws and one need not fear the authorities (Romans 13:1-7). And ideally, our government will protect its citizens from injustices, whether from petty criminals or tyrants (both foreign and domestic). If government can’t prevent injustice, it is designed to “bring to justice” violators of our rights.

Perhaps the best examples of justice in our daily life and traditions among the Jughead members are our technical standards and Code of Conduct. If a Jughead achieves 10 dominant hand throws with three balls, a promised juggling pin is awarded (courtesy of the EYJA). If the Advanced standards are achieved, permission is granted to join that club. A child paying for an extra snack, camp, or festival enjoys the privilege of that additional product or service. Win a contest or help a peer, and one may be justly commended for a job well done. Disrespect isn’t tolerated.

Earning rewards for good behavior is to be expected in a just system. I believe it’s very good for people all ages to diligently “do justice,” both on one’s own behalf and on behalf of others (including our nation). Justice is getting what one deserves; mercy is getting what one does not deserve. That miraculous American ideal will be covered next month.