Our Cities and nation grieve over a shocking injustice done last Monday to Minnesota citizen George Floyd. At PA, our children are taught a high view of the rule of law. When officers of the law themselves show flagrant disregard for that rule, and to the destruction of a life, we and our children are rightly horrified. Especially when there is an apparent racial dimension. Given the troubled history of race in America, events that mock the principle that “all are created equal” are especially disturbing. The police officers I know and have spoken with in recent days share this understanding, and are also deeply grieved.
The ideal of the rule of law inculcated at PA will also lead to shock at the waves of crime, destruction, and injustice that have taken the Floyd tragedy as a pretext. These actions are in direct opposition to that ideal. Here at PA, our children are taught what Martin Luther King Jr. taught: Protests against injustice must be non-violent and have moral suasion, not intimidation, as their goal. It’s an understanding born of a Christian vision of the human person, and dedicated to American ideals of liberty and equality under law.
In his unit on King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in 10th Grade religion, Dr. Hippler teaches that “King condemns racism in view of a moral code based on human nature and the God who made it.” It is very important for young people to understand where moral standards come from, and why moral relativism is wrong, dangerous, and self-defeating. Dr. Hippler has an excellent published essay elaborating these themes, which I’m attaching here as a PDF: “Moral Education from Birmingham Jail.”