If you want to cause a ruckus at your local church, just walk right into the middle of a service and whisper, “Social justice.” Almost immediately, everyone will begin arguing with one another about what exactly social justice is, and whether or not it’s something for which Christians should advocate. Pointy objects might be thrown in your direction. Particularly enraged churchgoers might sneak up behind you and conk you over the head with a folding chair.
So while we don’t recommend bringing up social justice in most situations, it’s important that you understand exactly what social justice is and the wide variety of connotations that the term implies. Here it is: the most important explainer on social justice you will ever read.
What is social justice?
If there’s one thing Americans are good at, it’s communicating well with each other online. So of course, when we talk about social justice, we’re often using two different definitions, which is always good for civil discourse:
- Social justice (old-school definition): Voluntarily feeding the poor, taking care of a needy neighbor, freely offering your time and money to those less fortunate than yourself. You know, all the good stuff they taught you to do on Veggie Tales and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Most people are cool with all this, unless you’re just a class-A jerk.
- Social justice (new definition): A Marxism-inspired construct that sees everything in terms of power vs. the powerless. This woker version of social justice demands that you bow to all of the government’s plans to reform society OR ELSE. When someone identifies as a “brave social justice warrior,” this is usually what they mean. Hand over your liberty and your money to the government and they’ll make it all better, just like governments have been doing all through human history.
What is intersectionality?
Intersectionality is simple: it’s the straightforward practice of allocating “points” to groups of people based on their socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity and gender—all the various “roads” that meet at your “intersection.” These points represent oppression, and the more points you have, the more your voice matters. “White,” “male” and “Christian” are each worth approximately -9,000 points, which means if you’re a Christian white male, you’re out of luck in the credibility department! But if you’re anything other than a Christian white male, you’re awarded at least one oppression point and thus may be worth listening to depending on whether or not your opinion aligns with what the groups you represent believe. (We know this scoring system makes about as much sense as Quidditch, but just go with it unless you want to be called a bigot).
Who decides who’s the most oppressed?
No one knows, which is why leftists stumble over themselves to argue that they’re more oppressed than the other guy—kind of similar to how the people in your Dungeons & Dragons group argue that their level 20 Warlock could totally beat up your lame Barbarian. Nuh-uh!
Why does oppression give a person more validity?
Why does your race or sexual orientation have to determine all of your views? No idea! How is identifying people by their oppression beneficial to society? Hard to say! But what we know is that it’s important and you’d better SHUT UP or you’re going to lose all your points.
What’s wrong with plain old biblical justice?
Biblical justice doesn’t account for all of the unique oppressions that different groups today face. The God of the universe couldn’t have possibly seen this far ahead. So we’ve got to fill in the gaps. When Paul wrote that Christians are all one in Christ Jesus, he pretty obviously meant that we should be divided along racial lines and work hard at stirring up resentment.
Is the gospel enough to redeem sinful society?
I mean, the gospel is just alright with us, but is it powerful enough to turn sin on its head and begin reforming society from the inside out as more people see the glory of Christ? Meh. Better institute some coercive social programs to help out, just to be sure.
What’s meant by being “woke?” How do I know if I’m woke enough?
“Woke” means you’ve bought into the oppressed/oppressor construct. It can also mean you just smoke a lot of pot. You’re never woke enough, so you’ve got to try hard to be more woke each and every day, or even your fellow liberals will destroy you.
How do I do better?
Apologize for anything you say that even one person takes offense to, no matter how innocuous. The Left will still eat you alive, of course, but as their baseball bats and protest signs continue to pummel your head and the light of life fades from your eyes, at least you’ll die in the knowledge that you did better.
Now get out there and DO BETTER!