I saw a comment on Facebook last week that mocked social justice movements as unnecessary. It made fun of “Social Justice Warriors,” caricaturing them as fanatic liberals who are far too worried about political correctness. It bothered me. It bothered me even further that it was posted by someone who identifies as a Christian. That being said, I have some questions for this person, and for anyone who feels similarly.
When did fighting for justice become a bad thing?
No, seriously. Social justice may deal with social issues and systemic oppression that not everyone is familiar with or has experienced, but that doesn’t mean the problems aren’t real. To quote Martin Luther King, Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” If injustice exists, we should be fighting against it, especially if we call ourselves Christian. You may not have seen it. You may not have experienced it. But others have. Your lack of experience does not negate its existence. I have enough food, but that doesn’t mean that other people aren’t going hungry. I would be a fool to make fun of people who try to solve issues with hunger in the world. Wanting justice is not a bad thing.
Why does pointing out flaws in our society, bringing attention to inequality, warrant mockery?
If someone thinks our society is imperfect, that doesn’t make them crazy. It makes them correct. We have problems. Pointing them out is not an indication of insanity. It does show that they care enough to want a change. Being comfortable with the status quo and not criticizing ways in which our society needs to improve simply means that you are acquiescing to injustice. Not acting, not speaking out about things that are wrong just makes you an accomplice. Not only that, but what kind of person makes fun of someone for trying to right a wrong or do the right thing?
How can you, as a Christian, ignore these issues and still claim to follow Christ?
I will never understand why Christians mock “liberal” stances on social justice issues. Have you read the Bible? Do you know who Jesus hung out with? Do you know what sort of things he said, the things he taught? Including marginalized groups, loving everyone including your enemies—people thought he was crazy. Those ideas were radical at the time. They shouldn’t be now, to us.
We’re supposed to live like Christ. We should be just as focused on including the marginalized, on caring for them, on relieving the societal burdens they face. If you mock others for trying to do that, keep in mind that you are, in a way, mocking Jesus’s actions as well.
And finally, when will we stop labeling justice and compassion for our fellow humans as a “liberal” trait.
I don’t know when compassion became a politicized and polarized topic. I don’t know when programs for helping people who are desperately in need came to be seen as something that is inherently harmful to society. I don’t know when those ideas became a “liberal” trait, or seen as something for the Democrats to use to get votes. I don’t know any of that. But that’s not important.
What is important is that we realize that our political views do not exclude us from humanity. Liking a particular party or candidate is not a free pass to blame social issues on the victims. We have to stop viewing social justice as crazy liberal nonsense. We have pressing social issues in this country. They’re real. They cause suffering. And none of those problems can be solved if all we’re doing is mocking each other’s efforts and blaming the other side’s policies.
We’re all human. We all live in this country. We’re supposed to be Christians. Let’s start acting like it.