This is Pastor Tim’s Article that appeared in The Evening Leader on July 13, 2020
Back in the early 2000s, I was in Seminary. At that time, I was introduced to a term I never herd before: social justice. That was the most buzz word all buzz words that were thrown around. I know for a fact that I did not understand what it meant back then, and I am still struggling with what it means today, 15 years later.
The term originated from a book entitled “A Theology of Liberation” written by Father Gustavo Gutiérrez published in 1971. All of my seminary professors had studied this concept in great detail and were now teaching the next generation of church leaders. Social justice seemed to be the main thing we talked about in the classes I took. Everything from church history to Biblical studies to administration and polity and everything else. Somehow the idea of social justice applied to all of it.
At face value, I agree with the part of social justice that results in no laws, taxes, penalties, or hinderances placed in front of anyone based solely upon their race, gender, ethnic or gender identity, sexual orientation, or anything else. People should be judged based on who they are and what they do not by irrelevant personal attributes. However, to pretend that we are all equal in every way is ridiculous.
I am a highly educated person with decades of experience working in churches. If you have a theological question, it would probably be in your best interest to listen to what I have to say about scriptural interpretation, the value of prayer, or questions about God. However, if your car is making a weird sound, the best advice I could give you is to not even ask me about it. I have no idea.
This distinction has nothing to do with anything about me other than the training and experiences I have had. I have decided that the best way I can pour into your life is in by being a pastor. It has nothing to do with anything else about except for my training and experiences. There are plenty of people around who have decided that they want to pour into your life by helping your car start when it is supposed to and they have training and experiences to help that happen. These distinctions have nothing to do with anything other than choice we make in our lives.
This is when the idea of social justice fails. I tell you that you should get a mechanic’s opinion on your car, but social justice tells you that everyone has a right to have an opinion about the noise your car is making. I completely disagree with this. One mechanic may have one opinion about the noise your car is making, and a different mechanic may have a different opinion. I believe that the difference comes from nothing other than the training and experiences of the mechanic. Whether you get good or bad advice from a mechanic has nothing to do with any other not relevant personal details.
We have a generation growing up today who have been taught that people of different races think exactly like all members of their race. Therefore, they should be treated differently with some given an advantage and other a disadvantage for factors that have nothing to do with their level of training or experience. In my opinion, all that preferential treatment does is drive wedges between people and make us further apart.
I am tired of the media and politicians doing everything they can to make us look at other people as the enemy. We aren’t. While we may not all agree about all of the details, we all want exactly the same thing. We want good schools, good opportunities, safety, and freedom to pursue our dreams. We want people who break the law to be punished regardless of any other factor.
Social justice is the excuse to make one person better than another. That isn’t Justice, that is favoritism and that breeds contempt. I just want to interact with the person in front of me and not have to even consider any kind of stereotypes that social justice insists are more important than the individual. If we all would listen to actual people more and worry about fairness less, we could live out the Apostle Paul’s words from Galatians 3:28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.