Defining Social Justice

Good words and phrases sometimes get hijacked. I think “social justice” is one of those. Justice is synonymous with righteousness; the concept comes straight from the heart of God. Justice in social relations, justice in society at large, should be what we all aim for.

What, though, qualifies as justice in a society? Here are my ideas.

image-of-godFirst, social justice should mean we recognize the inherent image of God in each person and treat one another accordingly. It should begin with the most vulnerable and innocent—the pre-born. True social justice will do all that is possible to protect our future generation by abolishing abortion.

Second, social justice will recognize the commonality of mankind as one race. Lately, it has become unacceptable in some circles to say there is only one race: human. Yet, as we’re told in Scripture via the apostle Paul,

He [God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth.

That should wipe out animosity toward one another based on ethnic differences. We all descended from one human father and mother. God likes variety.

marriageThird, social justice will want to encourage a loving environment in which to raise children. That means support for the one man-one woman arrangement called marriage as established by God. It’s right on its face, but beyond that, studies show that children raised in a stable traditional family will feel more loved and will have a better future.

Single-parent situations, especially for single mothers, engender instability and increase the number of children who will live in poverty. Those children also will be more likely to follow the same pattern in their lives. That’s not social justice.

Fourth, social justice is achieved more often through a vibrant free-market, private-enterprise system that allows people to advance according to their merit, removing stumbling blocks for success that are often placed in their way by the government. If we really want to help people out of poverty, we will support this kind of economic liberty.

churchill-private-enterprise-quote

Think of our racial divisions at the moment and the poverty that is endemic in inner-city neighborhoods. What else do we find there? High abortion rates; 70% of children living in single-parent homes; government “help” that only creates greater dependence and makes people think they have no options in the free-market, private-enterprise system that works all around them.

ferguson-riotsThose factors are then magnified by inflammatory rhetoric that increases bitterness toward those who are successful and disdain for a society that has offered the greatest advantages the world has ever seen.

This is where the Christian faith steps in to point us all in the right direction. Those who are embittered need to understand that sin is sin, no matter how justified one might feel in that bitterness. Repentance from bitterness and racial rage is imperative.

Those who have material success also must understand that the Christian mandate is to reach out to those who are in need and use the prosperity God has granted to help others. It’s that personal connection—showing the love of Christ to those who think God’s love is missing—that leads them to the Truth.

As with the phrase “there is only one race—human,” so the comment “all lives matter” has come under attack. Supposedly, to use that phrase marks one as racist. Yet I see the opposite in Scripture.

I think of the most well-known verse, in which Jesus states,

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

There’s also this reminder in 2 Peter, which states that the Lord is patient toward us, “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

Both of those verses make clear to me that all lives matter to God.

lives-matter

There’s also this in the book of Colossians, in which the apostle Paul writes of a spiritual renewal through Christ “in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.”

Ethnic distinctions mean nothing to God when it comes to relationship with Him. They should mean nothing to us as well with respect to our relationships with one another.

This passage from the book of Ephesians should be our guide:

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

If we do that, social justice will be achieved.

Charlotte: Some Facts

The riots that have broken out in Charlotte are supposedly inspired by the racism of the police in that city. Keith Lamont Scott, a black man, was killed by a Charlotte police officer who said Scott emerged from his car with a gun.

brentley-vinsonThe officer who shot Scott was Brentley Vinson, whose photo is here.

Now, if you are blind and someone else is reading my blog to you, you have an excuse for not knowing that Vinson is black also. But if you still have your eyesight, there is little excuse for believing that this shooting was racially motivated.

Vinson is a Charlotte native who followed in the career path of his father, who also is a police officer.

By all accounts, Vinson has been a role model to all, a star football player in college who has no record of ever having caused trouble in any way. And his college was Liberty University, which tends to make me think Vinson is a committed Christian.

The Charlotte chief of police, also a black man, says Scott did have a gun. The investigation continues, but I somehow doubt that the police chief is a racist against fellow black citizens.

No matter. As far as the protesters are concerned, the whole episode is awash in racism, thereby setting aside such obstacles as logic and facts. CNN is now reporting that 70% of those arrested in the riots have IDs showing they are from out of state. What we have here, apparently, are roving protesters who show up wherever they can create greater havoc.

We are being treated to constant coverage of the Charlotte situation, but I’m not going to fan flames of discontent by showing photos of the rioters. Instead, how about this one?

charlotte-protester

I also like this one, depicting North Carolina highway patrol officers kneeling in prayer before risking their lives to help stem the violence.

officers-praying

Some people want to foment hatred and division. Today, I prefer to highlight those who seek to bring peace to a troubled city.

Social Justice, White Privilege, & Microaggressions

Three terms have lately become a more regular part of our cultural and political vocabulary: social justice, white privilege, and microaggressions. Are they valid concepts or masks for a radical agenda? I would like to explore them a little today.

“Social justice” is the oldest of the terms, at least in modern usage. Take the words strictly as words, and there’s no problem with them. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t in favor of justice in society. But those who use this term the most have a very specific meaning for it that either excludes or minimizes other applications.

Social JusticeFor instance, social justice, more often than not, seems to be little more than a new way of saying the government needs to redistribute income. The only people who are lacking in social justice, according to this view, are the poor, the marginal, the ones left behind economically.

The Religious Left has picked up on this and has used it as a hammer against those on the conservative side of the political spectrum, especially Christians who believe in limited government, personal responsibility for one’s place in society (through decisions one has made, for good or ill), and traditional Biblical morality.

I find it telling that those of the Religious Left are more exercised over income inequality than stopping the horror of abortion or standing firm on Biblical standards of sexual conduct and marriage.

Social justice, in my view, is a term that has been hijacked by those who continue to harbor a Marxist view of the world and who place material well-being ahead of the more significant spiritual truths. That’s why it’s a term I hesitate to use.

White privilege is an accusation I could better understand if we still lived during those times when blacks were either held in slavery or discriminated against through Black Codes or Jim Crow laws. But we don’t live there anymore.

We have a president who is black (well, half-black, at least) and the multitude of minorities who are now very wealthy through either athletics, the entertainment media, or via the political route is prominent in our land.

Got PrivilegeOne cannot legitimately blame any so-called white privilege for Baltimore’s woes, for one example. Blacks dominate the politics of that city, and the policies they have promoted have certainly enriched those who are in the seats of power, but not so much the general population. Government programs that came to the forefront beginning in the 1960s have decimated the black family and are a primary reason that approximately 70-plus% of children now grow up in the inner cities without a father in the house. Poverty follows in that wake.

I recall when I applied for a professorship at one Christian university back in the 1990s. I did get an interview and was flown out to the university, but when I got there, I was informed that the only reason I even got the interview was that they couldn’t find a woman or minority for the position. I felt so wanted. White privilege?

By the way, I didn’t get the position.

The cry of “white privilege” emanates more from a desire to keep the flames of racial animosity alive than from the reality of America in 2015.

Then there’s this new word, made up out of thin air: microaggressions. What are they? Actions that can be interpreted as aggression toward different races, genders, etc., that the aggressor doesn’t even realize are aggressions. In other words, you can do or say something that is perfectly innocent in your own mind, but as long as someone else feels slighted by what you have said or done, you have committed a “microaggression.”

According to the American Psychological Association: “Some racism is so subtle that neither victim nor perpetrator may entirely understand what is going on—which may be especially toxic for people of color.”

Well, if it’s so subtle that neither the victim nor the perpetrator is aware of it, who is being harmed?

Janet NapolitanoHere’s where the concept of microaggressions has led us: Janet Napolitano—remember her as the former head of Homeland Security?—is now president of the University of California system. She has now told professors they must not say the following things because they are all considered microaggressions:

  • America is the land of opportunity.
  • There is only one race, the human race.
  • I believe the most qualified person should get the job.

Yes, this is what we have come to.

We now have social justice warriors who are quite selective about who should receive justice (based on their Marxist philosophy—even if they don’t realize the source).

We have racial agitators that keep the flame of bitterness burning bright through charges of “white privilege,” while simultaneously enriching themselves as the champions of the underclass.

And now we have total inanity with microaggressions, which attempt to make everyone feel guilty when they have done nothing wrong.

Some terms only make things worse. We need to change both the tone and the language of our national conversation.

Happy New Year? The Moral/Cultural Divide

In yesterday’s post I focused on the role of the real church—those truly committed to being disciples of Jesus Christ—as the key to a happier 2015. If genuine Christians become the salt and light that Christ said they should be, they can diffuse His truth throughout our society more effectively.

Today, I want to concentrate on what is actually happening in our society. Where are we morally and culturally? The two are connected, of course, and they both are the result of the status of our spiritual well-being.

I want to be balanced. I want to be able to point to improvements in the moral and cultural trends. Unfortunately, they are few.

Unborn ChildAbortion may be trending our way, but the battle is a long way from over. We have made progress in educating the general public about the horror of taking the lives of innocent babies, helped along by the excesses of some abortionists like Kermit Gosnell.

Public opinion polls—for whatever they’re worth—now show a higher percentage of Americans opposed to abortion on demand, and the late-term abortions such as were done by Gosnell have sickened most people.

So let’s rejoice at least a little bit over this trend, but not get carried away. The human death toll of more than 56 million since Roe v. Wade is a blight on our culture and our concept of morality.

France Gay Marriage FairThe year 2014 was the year of “coming out” for the homosexual revolution. For the first time in our history, a sitting president declared homosexual marriage to be good and wholesome.

Christians who don’t acknowledge the lifestyle as an acceptable alternative, because they hold to the Biblical teaching that homosexuality is sinful, are facing increasing pressure to conform. That pressure could soon turn to outright prosecution and/or persecution.

Race divides us more now than anytime since the 1960s, despite [or should I say with the encouragement of] a black president and attorney general. The furor in Ferguson, Missouri, led to an outburst of pure emotion, setting aside the facts of the Michael Brown shooting. Charges of racism have become so pervasive that anyone simply stating the facts of what occurred there will be accused of being a racist.

Ferguson RiotsPointing out that Brown robbed a store before the incident does not make one a racist. Stating the overwhelming forensic evidence and preponderance of eyewitness testimony that showed Brown attacked the police officer and tried to take his gun does not make one a racist. However, seeing everything through a prism of racism might make one at least “racialist.”

Demagoguery by accomplished demagogues like Al Sharpton, leading chants of “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want them? Now!” only leads to more violence. Two New York City officers just sitting in their car are executed by a man hyped up with this view.

We’re in trouble.

At the root of it all, culturally, is our education system. Ruled by a liberal, progressive, anti-Christian elite, it seeks to undermine all traditional views of morality and culture, along with the faith that undergirds them. American history is ignored or reinterpreted according to the progressive vision, while every modern trend—be it radical feminism, environmentalism, wealth inequality, or whatever—becomes the centerpiece of what we now call “education.”

Stop Fed EdIn fact, it’s nothing more than indoctrination in the guise of teaching children “how” to think, not “what” to think. Regardless of the rhetoric, they are being taught what to think, and it’s destroying us.

Whenever we try to reform education, we instead set up a nationwide system like Common Core that, while sounding good, only hastens our downfall.

Real education reform would expand the opportunities for private educational choices and, step by step, reduce the near-monopoly of the government’s control over what we ought to learn and who is allowed to teach.

Clearly, we are a nation adrift from our spiritual base, and it is reflected in what we deem to be moral nowadays. Our culture retains only a thin veneer of Biblical memories. We are poised to become more divided than ever.

I wish I could offer a more positive perspective today, but I have to be honest. This is what I see.

Our federal government is not the source of all our woes; they come from our abandonment of Christian truth. The government, though, does play an essential role in promoting that abandonment. That will be my subject tomorrow.

A New National Conversation

I’m fighting the temptation to write a blog that lists every action of the Obama administration that manifests scandal, deception, misinformation, racial division, or astounding incompetence, but I don’t have the time to write that long of an article—nor would many readers make it to the end. So I have to break up those incidents into bite-sized pieces.

Let’s just focus for now on the latest manifestations. Jonathan Gruber of Obamacare deception infamy will be testifying before a congressional panel soon. That will put him back in the limelight, which is important, because the public needs to be constantly reminded of what has been foisted upon them. When that happens, I fully expect this type of response from the White House:

Most Transparent Admin

The president’s chief enablers will probably step in at that point, and it will be hard to tell the difference between the White House spin and what the enablers are saying. But if they could be totally honest, we would hear something like this:

Our Job

Also, since Ferguson has been our obsession for the past week and a half, and we’ve made a hero out of a thug/thief, the administration has decided that we once again need a national conversation on race. If I had the authority, I think I would ban the phrase “national conversation on race” indefinitely. Why? The administration’s definition of any such national conversation only goes one way—blaming law enforcement for all the problems. In the past, we’ve had presidents who acted racially—think of Woodrow Wilson, a staunch supporter of segregation who acted it out during his administration—but now the pendulum has swung in the other direction:

Racial Profiling

Translation: guilty until proven innocent, and in our eyes, you are never innocent.

Almost unnoticed while the fallout from Ferguson continues is the new barrier we’ve broken with our national debt. The $18 trillion mark is now in our rearview mirror as we head on to new heights in the next two years. It is now an established fact that the Obama years have added more to the national debt than all other years in our nation’s history combined. Yet the president brushes it off as inconsequential while he seeks to add even more to that total:

How Much

What makes this particularly galling is that while running for president back in 2008, he specifically targeted the debt George Bush contributed, calling it “irresponsible” and a “failure of leadership.” Then, to add to the rhetorical flourish, he said that amassing a debt such as Bush had done was clearly “unpatriotic.”

By your own words, you will be judged.

Might I suggest a new national conversation? How about we talk nationally about the voters’ responsibility to place men and women of honor and integrity in office? For some reason, I doubt the eagerness of the Obama administration to take part in that national conversation.

Ferguson & the Rule of Law

Robert McCullochAt about 9:15 last night, I, along with countless other Americans, started listening to St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch provide the factual information that led the grand jury to refuse to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

McCulloch went to great pains to explain that decision. He also went into the kind of detail that prosecutors don’t normally go into publicly in an attempt to appeal to the reasonable portion of the citizenry that justice was served. In fact, after the press conference, all the testimony from the grand jury deliberations was released for the public to read. That’s called transparency.

He was both sympathetic to the family that lost its son and methodical in his rundown of the events of that day when Wilson shot Brown. The evidence, he said, showed Brown’s DNA inside Wilson’s car, on Wilson’s shirt and pants, and, most significantly, on the policeman’s gun. The evidence, therefore, backed up the story that Brown attacked Wilson while the officer was still inside his car.

McCulloch then thoroughly explained the various eyewitness accounts and how some of them didn’t comport with the facts. The majority of the eyewitnesses, though, were clear in their testimony that once Wilson got out of the car, Brown again came toward him menacingly. That’s when the fatal shots were fired. McCulloch also emphasized that those eyewitnesses were black, not white.

The grand jury, which was selected to represent the entire county, and included various minorities, three of whom were black, came to their decision after weeks of attention to the details. He praised the grand jury members for their willingness to extend their time on this jury by two extra months, just to ensure that the truth could come out.

Overall, I was impressed by McCulloch’s professionalism and desire for an honest outcome. He spoke both movingly and convincingly, even when answering questions from hostile members of the press in the courtroom. He was decorum personified. Yet one of those reporters had the nerve to shout at him as he left the room, “Are you going to sleep well tonight?”

Ferguson RiotsThat shout was the signal that this was going to be a long night. All that professionalism and appeal to reason went for naught, as the assembled crowd rose up in anger and began destroying their own city. Stores were looted, buildings burned (some businesses will not ever reopen again), and chaos ensued. The police are coming under fire today for their weak and inadequate response. Apparently, the desire not to be seen as oppressive overcame common sense. Appeasement of violent civil disobedience is a recipe for further violence.

The rioters were both local citizens and those from groups outside the city. They were a motley assemblage of Marxists, anarchists, and just plain old criminals who wanted to get something free for themselves. Reporters on the scene showed live shots of people breaking into stores and taking out everything they could carry; alcohol seemed to be high on their “shopping list.”

All of this in the name of justice? What justice was meted out to local businesses that were devastated? How did that help the community?

And what of Michael Brown himself? Was he a hero? A martyr for some cause?

Evidence shows that just prior to the shooting, he had robbed a convenience store, treated the store employee roughly, and then scuffled with Wilson. The toxicology report after his death revealed he had marijuana in his system. Is this really the poster child for innocence? For what cause is he a martyr—the right to steal?

Obama Ferguson StatementPresident Obama chose to come out and make a statement right after Mr. McCulloch finished his press conference. Perhaps the most ironic comment of the night was his opening line about how we are a nation that abides by the rule of law. After his executive order on immigration last week, it was nice to witness his “conversion.” Rule of law is a useful concept, depending on the circumstance.

I listened to his entire monologue. After a while, it rambled and seemed to lose a lot of coherence. I don’t think it inspired confidence in many. And while he was speaking about the need for peace, the split-screen showed the beginnings of a riot as a police car was in the process of being overturned.

Something else was missing from the president’s statement: any concern whatsoever for Darren Wilson, who has been exonerated of murder, who acted in self-defense, and whose life from now on will be forever changed. Will he have to live “underground,” in fear of retaliation? What occupation is now open to him? Will he be given a new identity? Facial reconstruction? The president never even mentioned him by name.

In my opinion, both the president and Eric Holder have done nothing but inflame this situation from the start. Their public empathy for Brown and his family only made things worse, implicating Wilson as the culprit before all the facts were obtained.

Racial Fire Dept

Al Sharpton is due to arrive in Ferguson today. I don’t use the “Rev.” in front of his name; it’s an oxymoron. Not only is he one of the primary racial agitators in America today, and has been for decades, but he also is considered a special outside adviser to President Obama. He goes to the White House often. That, in itself, is a disgrace to this administration.

Sharpton

They should be embarrassed by this connection, but embarrassment is a quality to which they seem immune.

The activities last night were a blot on America, but not for the reason the protesters believe. The rule of law was attacked once again and emotion took precedence over reason and the facts.

John AdamsI’m reminded of a famous quote from John Adams as he defended the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre trial. This was a highly unpopular thing for him to do, with possible repercussions to his career and life. Yet he did what was right, and he ended with this statement:

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

Wishes, inclinations, and dictates of passion ruled the night. What awaits us in the aftermath? Continue to pray for God’s mercy on a nation that increasingly doesn’t deserve it, yet desperately needs it.

Race, Hypocrisy, & the Coming Elections

No one can argue that racial discrimination is entirely a thing of the past. As long as there are human beings, there will be those who harbor ill will toward anyone who is “different,” a word that can be defined in numerous ways. We’re talking about a feature of life simply called “sin,” another term that has innumerable manifestations, both personally and in society.

Yet the United States has gone to greater lengths than any other nation to do whatever government is capable of doing to minimize the effects of unfair discrimination. Civil rights acts passed after the Civil War were the first steps toward rectifying a wrong; then the more well-known Civil Rights Act of 1964 further solidified the nation’s stance that we should aim toward a colorblind society, one in which all people, regardless of outward appearance or ethnicity, are to be judged equally under the law.

Some innocently thought that the election of a black president (or at least one of mixed parentage) would be the proverbial final nail in the coffin of racial tensions. But when that president continues to bring up race himself and hires on associates with huge racial chips on their shoulders, it becomes impossible to leave race behind.

Take Eric Holder, for instance, our attorney general, the man who heads up the Justice Department. From the beginning of his tenure, he has made race a feature of his concept of carrying out justice. Under this administration, we have taken a giant leap backward with regard to race relations:

Color Blind

Something tells me Holder isn’t exactly on board with that whole “equal under the law” idea. And he’s particularly upset by the most recent Supreme Court decision that allows Michigan to stop making decisions on university admissions based on affirmative action policies. Really, all the Michigan state government is saying is that we ought to stop making race a cornerstone for policy—that we should treat everyone equally. How is that unfair discrimination?

Discriminating

What the Court actually has done is reinsert a little common sense and “fair” play into the way we judge one another.

That’s not going to stop President Obama’s party from making race one of the foundations for the upcoming congressional elections. More than ever, Democrats seem determined to make a case that race is the central issue on the political scene:

Dem Platform

What this seeks to accomplish, of course, is to divert attention from the new healthcare crisis created by Obamacare, which may very well be the key factor pushing voters to the polls this November. Yet the drumbeat will go on, as Republicans will be accused of every sort of evil intent, not only on race but with regard to a supposed war on women:

Racist Woman-Hater

Don’t you love the logic in that cartoon? The real question is whether the American public is going to fall for this logic once again. Democrats will do their best to spread this type of disinformation, but it will take a lot of money to do so. That leads to another glaring bit of hypocrisy: the Democrat theme lately is that Republicans are the party dependent on the billionaires to get elected, whereas studies show that the biggest political donors are those giving to the Democrats. While Republicans stand accused of being the “fat cats,” Democrats are awash in cash:

Too Much Influence

This bit of hypocrisy needs to be exposed for what it is. Democrats truly fear what may happen in these elections, and they have good reason to fear:

Heaven Real

For the sake of the country, may their fears be realized.