Justice: A Lesson I’ve Learned in Scientology
Hala brushed her gleaming, mahogany hair and put on her hijab. She took a last look in the mirror, straightened her hijab, and said goodbye to her mother.
She arrived early at the store and began working in the stockroom. After lunch, Hala’s boss called her to the office. He said there had been a complaint and demanded she take off her hijab. She politely explained that her religion required she wear it.
His face turned red before he said, “Take it off now.”
She stared at him, “That is not fair!”
He sputtered, “Take it off or you’re fired!”
Hala was right. That wasn’t fair or just treatment. But what is “justice”? Most dictionaries give multiple definitions for the word. Most dictionaries separate the concept of legal justice (administering or conforming to the law) from the concept of personal justice (fair and reasonable treatment).
I’m not qualified to discuss legal justice, but I can talk about the personal kind. Everyone I’ve ever met wishes to be treated justly, but “being treated justly” may differ from person to person or culture to culture.
In a lecture about justice given on November 27, 1953, L. Ron Hubbard said, “When civil rights and personal rights are not immediately recognized and enforced, all justice has lost its point, which is the safeguarding of the individual in the society.”
Personal justice starts with each of us.
All people have points that are important to them. These may be points of belief, lifestyle, culture or otherwise, but they are points they cherish and want to protect. Take one or more of those points away, and a person will experience injustice.
Because of this, people of different cultures, religions, races, countries and more find a myriad of ways to clash. It could be a Muslim woman who wears a hijab at work and is fired for doing so. It could be a Black doctor in Atlanta whose car is blocked from entering her gated community by a white man who doesn’t believe she lives there. She showed him which home was hers and used her clicker to open the gate, but the man refused to move his car so she could drive in.
I would feel humiliated and infuriated to be denied entrance to my own home, and I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone.
As a Scientologist, I have been ridiculed for my religious beliefs by complete strangers who thought they knew what they were.
No one deserves that.
Yet the world is full of such conflicts.
What can we do about it? Personal justice starts with each of us. It can span the gamut from resolving a playground fight between children with fairness to accommodation of religious beliefs in the workplace. However big or small the injustice, seeking the just solution and making the effort to respect what is important to others will bring a reasoned peace to our world.