Does helping Japan after the earthquake count as “social justice.”
Social justice. What a stangely controversial phrase. Glenn Beck hates the phrase. He says Christians should run away from churches that talk about social justice, because it’s code for socialism. Probably not a surprise that a bunch of people are taking a fast from Glenn Beck for Lent.
American Christians have always tied their politics to their faith. But it’s getting harder and harder for Christians to associate with other Christians from across the aisle. And it’s not just Glenn Beck. Some Christians are being labeled as “pushing the boundaries” of Christianity, and social justice is more and more the line in the sand. In other words, good Christians soldiers, stay away from the people on the wrong side, because they probably aren’t even really Christians.
I’ve never tried to persuade you of my politics. In fact, I’ve never explicitly stated what my politics are, because I find it more entertaining to make fun of both sides. Today, I’ve got something to say to both left-leaning “social justice” Christians, and the conservatives who love them. By the end of this post, maybe I’ll finally achieve my dream of making everyone disagree with me.
Honk if You Hate Social Justice
Conservative Christians: The way some of you talk about social justice makes you all look like a bunch of cynical, selfish jerks.
I know, liberals advocate “wealth redistrubtion” and a bunch of other stuff that you find abhorrent. I’m with you. But how can you sound so condescending when you accuse social justice advocates of “wanting to bring heaven to earth?” It sounds like you find the idea of social justice more abhorrant than poverty itself. You can disagree with how others try to bring “heaven to earth,” but please stop calling social justice Christians “radicals” that “push the boundaries of Christianity.” It makes you sound like the idea of helping the poor is so foreign to you, your evangelical mind just can’t comprehend it.
No One Cares But Me
Liberal Christians: Please don’t act like you’re the first to care about “social justice.” It’s a new name for an old concept.
A lot of “social justice” seems to be born today out of some perception that our parents and grandparents were somehow indifferent to injustice, blind and deaf to human suffering. First, helping poor people to spite your parents is pretty lame. Second, our parents and grandparents did a lot of selfless things, and had the class to not announce every good deed they did to justify themselves in your eyes. So don’t delude yourself into thinking that the clean shaven businessman or octogenarian who goes to church in a suit and votes Republican doesn’t care about orphans, just because he doesn’t have a condescending bumper sticker or a bracelet announcing how much he cares.
Jesus said that we will always have the poor. Besides that, Jesus didn’t make helping poor people his top priority. When you are old, there will still be poor people, and you will probably deal with some scraggly teenage know-it-all grandkid who criticizes your generation for not caring enough about poor people.
Be Liberal, or Be Made Liberal
Conservative Christians: Either you can be liberal…or someone else will make you be liberal.
I don’t mean you need to be liberal politically. I mean liberal with your resources, generous toward others. Does the left advocate “redistribution of wealth?” You bet. So we can either redistribute some of our own wealth toward helping others, or we can hoard our money, and call social justice “communism,” and someone will redistribute our wealth for us, wasting our money on a utopian pipe dream. You can be liberal, or someone else will be liberal for you.
For example, I hate giving the government money. I think the government fails at life. The less we let the government do, the better. But if we don’t take the initiative, try to solve problems, the government is going to try to solve problems it can’t, and waste a bunch of our money while failing.
Why let liberals own “social justice?” They don’t have a copyright. Get in there and do it your way. If people are generous and justice minded on their own, we can cut out the big fat stupid middle man, everyone is happier, and we’re probably doing more of what Jesus called us to do. Jesus’ top priority wasn’t poor people, but no one’s going to care about how much we love Jesus if we don’t love others.
So that’s my rant. Tell us what you think. Is “social justice” our responsibility as Christians, or a dirty political code word? What is your favorite organization right now that’s making a positive difference in the world?