Snohomish County Bar News published the first five of these justice essays in the months of April 2012 (Analyzing Justitia), May 2012 (Capuchin), June 2012 (Rawls), July/August 2012 (Nozick), and September 2012 (Nietzsche). I submitted my October 2012 essay (Jesus), and received the following email from the administrator of the SCBA News: “We will not be able to run this essay, sorry. Keep them coming though!” I inquired about this decision by email. The administrator promptly called me on the telephone. She said that the SCBA Editor and SCBA president thought the essay might offend someone, which they are loathe to do. I objected to the administrator that their action is religious censorship, which offends me. She likened my essay to another SCBA censored, which included details of people bathing on a camping trip and feces along the trail. I told the administrator that each of my essays certainly offends someone and edifies others. I opined that the Snohomish County Bar needs deeper dialogue about more important issues, not a pablum of inoffensive mush. I asked if I sent an essay expressing my displeasure at being censored, would she publish that? She did not respond. I promptly sent the following text to SCBA News for publication:
A note to reader’s of Brad Lancaster’s essay series on justice, Analyzing Justitia:
SCBA News declines to publish my essay on Justitia’s encounter with Jesus. The editor of SCBA News and the president of the Snohomish County Bar have concern that my essay might offend the religious sensitivities of some. I understand these leaders’ concerns, and believe they are correct. Each of my essays offends some persons, heartens others, and is ignored by most.
I view the SCBA News decision to reject my essay on Jesus’ view of justice as religious censorship. The point of having an association is to associate. I am being denied that freedom. If you read my essays, you too are being denied the freedom to think about justice with me. With the editors, I share the desire to avoid senselessly offending others. Here, however, that concern has metastasized into a regime in which speech that might prove offensive is preemptively gagged. An un-American odor swirls around this rule. Under such an editorial razor, what survives is pablum. If you object to SCBA’s decision, please express yourself to the association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to read the remainder of Justitia’s struggles with her identity, you can do so at my website by following this link: https://www.lancasterlawoffice.com/justice-essays. There, in the remainder of this essay series, Justitia sits for psychoanalysis with Jesus, Confucius, Moses, Locke, Marx, and finally, little Naomi, who died so tragically. In the end, Justitia encounters the divine.
For my part, I decline to write for organizations that seek to control the content of my essays. So, I bid those of you who have enjoyed or profited from my writings farewell. Those who object to my views can sigh in relief. I welcome all comments and responses.
BRAD LANCASTER, email@example.com, 206-367-3122.
The October 2012 SCBA Bar News did not contain this essay. I have ceased to write for SCBA Bar News.