Thursday, September 2, 2010

the semantics of social justice

Social gospeler Jim Wallis writes another open letter to Glenn Beck, inviting him to have a dialogue about social justice, a term Beck equates with socialism. Earlier in the year, Beck held up a swastika and the hammer and sickle of the Communist party and asked his viewers what the two ideologies had in common. His answer: social justice.

Beck calls social justice a perversion of the gospel; Wallis calls it the essence of the gospel. The rest of us search in vain for the term in the Bible, so we're left making our own assumptions about what the word is meant to invoke and evoke in the context of Christian belief. It seems conflating social justice with totalitarianism is an appeal to ignorance meant to evoke powerful emotions innocent of the way Wallis, the Catholics, or other religious groups use the term "social justice" in practice.

1 comment:

  1. A friend of mine referred me to an article written by Marion G. Romney about the differences between the United Order and Socialism.

    It's an excellent source to understand how the approach of the United Order (which one could say it's aim was to create a form of social justice) and the approach of socialism. The statement that impacted me the most was:
    "That is the spirit of socialism: We're going to take. The spirit of the United Order is: We're going to give."

    I think that's the fundamental difference, being forced to participate or exercising our agency to participate. The motivations are polar opposites and the results stemming from each will also be polar opposites.