I am a social justice Christian

Recently, the crazed Fox “News” commentator, Glenn Beck, argued that social justice was a foil for Nazism and Communism (see the original clip on his radio show on 2 March 2010, or an extended version on his TV show on 23 March 2010, part 2, 3 and 4).

I don’t want to give his crazy notions more airtime. His fundamental error happens in the first few minutes of his program, when he basically defines social justice in a way that no-one would recognise – in a way that plays completely into his own agenda. In fact, one of the best video responses (see it here), points out how ludicrous it is to see “social justice” as a “progressive” plot. Ronald Reagan was a big supporter of social and economic justice, and I don’t think you can accuse him of being communist or socialist! Another video response (here) comes from Jim Wallis, the man Beck attacks.

It seems to me that it could just be a case of bad terminology and definition. (Although to see the real problem with Beck and Christianity, you need to look at part 3 at about 07:00 – he wants Christianity to be completely internal and unrelated to public policy at all). We’ll see how it plays out.

Over the past weekend a group of Christian film makers started a project to get people from around the world to submit video messages proclaiming their support for social justice. See the campaign website here, and respond to the YouTube video here.

Concidentally, just last week I posted one of the best defenses of Christian social justice I have ever read at this site. If you didn’t read it, do so now – I am sure you will find it very helpful.

For the record: I am a Christian. I am a social justice Christian.

7 thoughts on “I am a social justice Christian”

  1. Mmmm. Christianity being internal and unrelated to public policy? Just as Jesus did?

    So THAT’s why he had ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, why he threw money changers out of the temple, why he commented on the tax collection practices of the Romans. So he could convince them all to exclusively contemplate and internalise his teachings.

    At least now I understand!

  2. As a supporter of the Christian Democratic movement in SA (*) I have always worked for “Christian Social Justice” and was unaware that there was some sort of political franchise on the term.

    (*No it is not American style Christian right-wing republicanism)

  3. I have been surprised by the lack of videos being displayed. I am not sure whether this is because of the lack of support or simply that they are not being posted quickly enough. If this is the latter then it is a management issue.

    Its important not to loose the momentum of the movement because God’s commandments to social justice must not be denounced by the extreme right (not the positive moderate right who are very social justice orientated) unchallenged. Having gone to great lengths however to post a video, I was sad that there are not that many out there to be seen.

    For what its worth, my rather boring video is posted here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uugy91CIuQE

    It is also interesting that some European Christians have also been effected by what at first glance appears to be an American issue. I guess those of us in Europe (me certainly in Hampshire UK) feel that there are those over here who over here will equally work against Christians who believe in Jesus’ commandment to serve the poor as a manifestation of the good news of his Kingdom.

    I always argue with fellow evangelicals, the gospel is not the doctrine of justification, it is the promise of the Kingdom. They argue that Jesus did not preach social justice but forgiveness of sin so you can get to heaven when you die. But
    Justification is simply the way in to the Kingdom (which starts here and now hence why it is such good news). Justification is not the good news itself – or at least not all of it. That would be like trying to get my son excited about a trip to Disneyland by telling him about the road trip but not describing the rides.

    If anyone is interested, my own attempt at social justice is my new blog http://www.sacredpolitics.com

  4. I am NOT a sociail justice Christian. However, I would respectfully submit to the supporters here that the author of the article above and I do see at least one thing in common. The term carries with it multiple definitions in this day and time.

    The problem is that whomever defines the term wins the debate and right now the liberal administration in our government, and many liberal supporters, are indeed attempting to define the term as one that deserves government support. That’s where those of us who do not support social justice have a problem and that’s why we are more than hesitant to support the concept (at least the concept as it is presently being defined.)

    We do not support the right of the government to determine which needs are deserving and which are not. After all, there are not enough funds to support every need so someone is going to have to make those decisions. If you are liberal and the liberals are voted out next term, would you want your social justice funds going to help the wealthy keep their yachts if they are struggling financially? Don’t laugh – crazier things have happened when handled by our government.

    If an individual or a church wants to support a voluntary effort, then you have my complete support for your right to do so. I am a Christian and I do support causes in which I believe on a regular basis with my $ and my time. But here’s my question: If Christianity is already about social justice then when the label Social Justice Christian? IMHO, it only gives the appearance of an agenda and only undermines the cause of Christ.

    Isn’t it a great country we live in that (each of) you and I can disagree and write about it on a public forum?

    Best to all…

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