Taking a Different Look at Social Justice

12 Jul

I admit I often struggle when I try to reconcile my political views with my faith. On the one hand, my political views reflect the way I believe things should work. But when I look at it as a follower of Christ that pesky fifth chapter of Matthew tends to get in the way.

Jack Kemp, who passed away last year, always seemed to get it.

Republicans many times can’t get the words ‘equality of opportunity’ out of their mouths. Their lips do not form that way.
Jack Kemp

For a brief period in 1993-1994, I had the privilege to work for Jack Kemp. At the time he was considering a run for the White House. I would have loved that campaign.

But because of the legacy of Jack Kemp and because of the struggle I have to reconcile my faith and political views, I am intrigued by Restoring Social Justice.

I think the liberal Christian left has given “Social Justice” a bad name. A name (and reputation) it does not deserve.

I like instead this message:

RestoringSocialJustice.com highlights sound policy and people-drive initiatives that are changing society by transforming individual lives. The principles at work extend across borders, and this site’s ideas and research are drawn from several countries. Together, we seek a more effective approach that will restore individuals, families, communities, and our societies at large to full flourishing.

I look forward to reading more.


5 Responses to “Taking a Different Look at Social Justice”

  1. Chris July 13, 2010 at 11:16 am #

    Couldn’t agree with you more; a lot of my book reading has revolved around this subject in various forms from economics, democracy, free market, community redevelopment and now a biography of MLK Jr, I’ve been really wanting to get involved more somewhere in this realm.

    Did you read the post they had about ‘Richmond Violence Free Zone Initiative’?

    BTW – your link to groupon is messed up or something…

  2. AC July 13, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    Well I had a conversation with afew people about helping the poor. We came to the conclusion that if you do it through a threat of force (ie taxation) and redistribute, then you violate several Divine commands. The ‘no stealing’, induce a violation of ‘no coveting’ while making it impossible to have the whole ‘love your neighbor’ and probably more could be argued.

    But when the person giving does it from inside themselves, and are self motivated, then the giving becomes more personal and fullfils both giver and receiver of charity.

    The concept of Subsidiary is also critical here. The closest group to the problem can handle it best and should be left to unless is is clear that they aren’t and ask for help.


    • Chris July 14, 2010 at 8:14 am #

      AC – agree completely that *only* when the giver is doing without a desire to benefit themselves is true charity.

      There’s a discussion paper (here) linked from the Restoring Social Justice site that relates with what you’re talking about… but I disagree that the matter can be simplified down to only the “closest group to the problem can handle it best”; I tend to think more along the lines of “raising a child takes a community” – we ought not just defer the matters to the people directly around the issue. That would be like letting Richmond deal with the matter of people experiencing homelessness and all the surrounding counties (and people within) neglecting the matter since it doesn’t happen in “our neighborhood” when there’s significant reason why most who are in homelessness just aren’t allowed to stay in Chesterfield/Henrico/etc. and end up in the city.

      You know?

      • AC July 14, 2010 at 6:18 pm #


        I suspect we will just have to disagree. But let me go a bit more here. It is the primary responsiblity of the Parents to raise and Educate a child. If the parents can’t do it, becasue they are say dead, then the closer family, failing them, the local community. IF the local community can’t then the state and finally the feds.

        Another case of would be a natural disaster, the local county should respond first being closest knowing best what is needed, but when they are overwhelmed, then the state and when a hurricane blows through, assistance from the federal gov’t.

        but those are defining by example… here is from wiki on subsidary -catholic church teaching “Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level.”

        your example of Richmond and surrounding area doesn’t preclude my suggestion that the homelessness first be met by the individuals in the area by using volunteer methods, when that doesn’t work, perhaps a city wide solution and then something ofa loose confederation of the local cities, towns and counties, lastly a State solution might be tried. But as each ‘level of buracracy occurs, those envovled get further and further away from the problem and are less able to meet the specific needs.

        Quite simply it is the problem with command economies, the further away they get, from the subject, the worse the decissions get because the less information to make the decissions. Doesn’t matter if it is directing health care, car produciton, or education.

  3. Chris July 14, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    AC – actually I do see your point now; that did clarify quite a bit.

    I definitely can agree with your last statement about decisions becoming worse the further away from the situation… but to be honest I’m probably thinking on particular societal concerns and methods to address community-wide with collaboration across gov’t, non-profits, citizens, etc…

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