To do injustice is more disgraceful than to suffer it.
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be
a time when we fail to protest.
That great American hero, editor, school teacher, and Presbyterian clergyman Elijah
Lovejoy left the pulpit and returned to the press in order to be sure his words reached
more people. The Civil War might have been averted and a peaceful emancipation of slaves
achieved had there been more like him. After observing one lynching, Lovejoy was committed
forever to fighting uncompromisingly the awful sin of slavery. Mob action was brought
against him time after time; neither this nor many threats and attempts on his life
deterred him. Repeated destruction of his presses did not stop him. "If by compromise
is meant that I should cease from my duty, I cannot make it. I fear God more that I fear
man. Crush me if you will, but I shall die at my post..." And he did, four days
later, at the hands of another mob. Not one of the ruffians was prosecuted or indicted or
punished in any way for this murder. (Some of Lovejoy's defenders were prosecuted! One of
the mob assassins was later elected mayor of Alton!)
However, note this: One young man was around who was deeply moved by the Lovejoy
martyrdom. He had just been elected to the Illinois legislature. His name was Abraham
Paul Simon, "Elijah Lovejoy," Presbyterian Life, 18:13
(November 1, 1965), quoted in K. Mennenger, Whatever Became of Sin, p. 210.
Life is unjust. Upon accepting an award, the late Jack Benny once remarked, "I
really don't deserve this. But I have arthritis, and I don't deserve that either."
Haddon Robinson, Leadership, IV, 3, p. 94.