Marilynne Robinson speaking to Bill Moyers about her magnificent new novel Lila, which I've just finished reading:
It's impossible to achieve things like justice, if you don't have enough compassionate imagination for any other human being to understand that they deserve justice, that shorthand justice is not the thing at all. What can I say? I mean, my deepest, I think, religious belief is that we are among souls, and that we have souls, and it is a kind of blasphemy — it's not simply an ordinary offense — to insult or deprive another human being.
It's impossible to achieve things like justice without compassionate imagination, the recognition that other human beings are ensouled as we ourselves are, and deserve the justice we expect for ourselves. And, Shorthand justice is not the thing at all.
How can I avoid wondering, as I read these words within days after the top leaders of my Catholic church told the world that they find it impossible to say the word "welcome" to a marginalized minority community, how many of those men read? How many of them read great literature like Lila, which expands our compassionate imagination, our ability to understand the other as ourselves?
Or the gospels, for that matter?
Shorthand justice is not the thing at all.