The Power of Justice and Love

Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, a Hispanic theologian, argues in the book, La Lucha Continues that justice must be informed by love. On the other hand,  Margaret Farley, an American religious sister, argues in her book, Just Love that love must be informed by justice. Farley and Diaz agree that emotions are type of cognitive and Diaz believes that emotions are important and make us vulnerable. Furthermore, Farly thinks that autonomy and relationality are the two types of human personhood and Diaz thinks that emotions play important roles in achieving justice. As a pacifist, I believe that both of Farley and Diaz’s ideas of love and justice are needed to achieve justice and peace in Syria.

In the book, La Lucha Continues, Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz argues that justice must be informed by love. First, Diaz talks about the importance of commitment to justice. She says, “I knew that what was unsettling me was how to be faithful to my commitment to justice if I was not passionate about it…My commitment to justice not only intersects with my moral convictions and is intrinsic to my loves… it is a constitutive element of them (Diaz, 187). In other words, Diaz believes that her commitment to justice is driven from love and passion. On the other hand, Margaret Farley argues that love must be informed by justice. She thinks that love is not always true and just: “the norm or criterion for a true and good love is the concrete reality of the beloved…because not only must love respond to, unite with, and affirm the one loved in her or his concrete reality, but it must also be ‘true’ to the one loving and to the nature of the relationship between lover and loved” (Farley, 200). Clearly, Diaz believes that to achieve justice, we need to have passion and commitment. Farley thinks that love is true if there is justice and springs from the lover and the relationship.

Even though in the United States, people, especially men, avoid expressing emotions, Diaz argues that emotions make us vulnerable and reveal our true selves. She says, “In this society public expressions of emotions embarrass people. Expressing emotions makes us vulnerable, for it reveals what is deep in our hearts, what moves us and, in the USA, vulnerability unfortunately is often seen as weakness” (Diaz, 190). In addition, Diaz thinks that we should understand the need to be emotional to be able to express ourselves. Similarly, Farley would agree with Diaz that emotions are important to us since emotions are cognitive. Love is dependent on the beliefs and emotions that people experience: “As I have argued and held in all of my writings, emotions contain not only an affective element but a cognitive one. Just as desire, anger, compassion, and fear are dependent upon the beliefs we have about their objects, so it is with love” (Farley, 202). Diaz agrees with Farley that emotions are a type of cognition and are linked to the way people receive and process information (Diaz, 206). Even though to achieve justice, we need to have emotions, such as being passionate, sometimes this would make us vulnerable. Emotions are cognitive and are informed based on the nature of the relationship.

In Just Love, Farley argues that there are two basic features of human personhood, autonomy and relationality. First, people are autonomous in the sense of having a free choice. People have a freedom of choice to take actions, and to love: “it is a capacity for self-determination as embodied, inspired beings, which means a capacity to choose not only our own actions but our ends and our loves” (Farley, 212). Second, relationality says that people are social beings and have relationships with their families, friends, and God even if it’s not romantic. For example, Farley suggests that “individuals do not just survive or thrive in relations to others…we are transcendent of ourselves through our capacities to know and to love” (212-213). On the other hand, Diaz thinks that people who lack emotions are considered morally impaired since emotions are cognitive and without emotions people lack empathy. Also, Diaz talks about the relationship between reason and emotions:“If it is true that reason judges and tutors emotion, it is also true that emotions need to test and tutor reason. This leads to a moral life in which emotions, thoughts and decision are integrated into a whole” (Diaz, 214). Diaz believes that sometimes we struggle to achieve justice just because we don’t pay attention to our emotions or to what drives them. In other words, justice can be achieved through learning more about the cause of our emotions. Since we’re social humans and have a free choice, we tend to have relationships and fall in love.

As a concluding thought, just like Diaz who talked about justice as informed by love and Farley, who said love is informed by justice, I will argue that both are needed to achieve justice and peace in my country, Syria. If love is informed by justice, love of a country, which is seen as nationalism, has been causing Syrians to rebel against the government for more equality and freedom. On the other hand, as an example of justice informed by love, if Syrians become in touch with their emotions, the horrific number of innocent lives lost from the civil war and fight against ISIS would drive them to empathy, and thus to enact justice by working to end the violence. Diaz refers to Julia de Burgos’ poetry and talks about how it “offers the voice of a woman who rebels against her circumstances, who feels the socio-economic, political and cultural injustices as humiliating constraints that impede her free self-realization and that of her people” (Diaz, 194). I agree with Diaz that poetry helps with expressing our emotions and one of my poems talks about love and injustice that soldiers go through during the war. One of my poems is called “The Green Combat Uniform” and it says,


He always wore blue clothes,

A blue that matched the sky and ocean.

The ocean that took all of his worries far away

And the sky that gave him peace and love.


He’s not the same person he was 18 years ago.

His hair is no longer brushed and his face isn’t washed.

The blue clothes that meant happiness changed into green and

Hands that used to hold his princess’s hold a rifle.


He is going for a night shift just like other days.

Holding his black sniper and hoping the enemy stays away.

Enemy’s attack starts and the sound of shooting begins.

His sweaty fingers are repeatedly pressing on the trigger, ending the fight.


God said his word; he lies on the battlefield, not on the beach,

Wishing the end of his path as if it weren’t doomed.

Thinking of the things that he never had, and

Pulling the snapshot of his beloved woman to his heart.


He said sorry, I know that I promised you I’d come back, and

I said that we will have a big wooden house filled with kids running around.

He said, Yes the war lied to you, and I will never touch your skin anymore.

His eyes closed, and his heart stopped beating.


Diaz argues that people need to be passionate to be committed to justice, but Farley thinks that love is only just when it’s true to the lover and to the relationship. Diaz believes that emotions are important and make us vulnerable. Farley suggests that humans are social and tend to have several relationships. Farley and Diaz believe that emotions are cognitive and important to reveal our true selves. I think to achieve peace in Syria, both of Farley and Diaz’s ideas of love and justice are needed together, where emotions can drive human action wisely and compassionately toward solving national conflict.


Works Cited
Farley, Margaret A. Just Love: a Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics. Continuum, 2012.
Isasi-Díaz, Ada María. La Lucha Continues: Mujerista Theology. Orbis Books, 2004.