Thursday, March 25, 2010

Social Equality?

In an interview with the loved and detested Glenn Beck, Brad Thor says, "It is impossible to have a system of government that promotes social equality and social justice and also defends individual liberties." There is that phrase that I can't stand: social equality. Before you freak out and tell me I'm heartless, let me explain. What I mean is, I think people use "social equality" and "social justice" very flippantly. Who doesn't believe in justice for all? For crying out loud, it's in our Pledge of Allegiance. I mean, if you say you don't believe in "social justice" people assume you believe only the blonde-haired and blue-eyed should survive. The problem is, people like Glenn Beck say to run from it, and the people who preach it say he's the antichrist. Does anyone even know what anyone else is talking about? So here are some definitions from Media Matters:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church deals specifically with "Social Justice." From the Catechism: "Society ensures social justice by providing the conditions that allow associations and individuals to obtain their due, according to their nature and their vocation. Social justice is linked to the common good and the exercise of authority."

For those who are not Catholic, the Catechism refers to basically a summary of their doctrine.

Conservative and Reform Jews promote social justice. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism has a section of its website devoted to "Social Justice," detailing positions on topics such as "Judaism and Health Care Reform" and "Jewish Community Budget Priorities." ("We have long been involved with the annual budget process, advocating for policies and programs that assist the most vulnerable people in our nation.") And the Union for Reform Judaism's Commission on Social Action "seeks to apply the insights of Jewish tradition to such domestic and foreign issues as human rights, world peace, civil liberties, religious freedom, famine, poverty, intergroup relations, as well as other major societal concerns..."

Beck said, "Look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church website. If you find it, run as fast as you can." He went on to say that those phrases are code for Socialism. So, I am sure Mr. Beck is not opposed to the rainbows and butterflies picture that social justice really paints, a world in which everyone is happy and equal and nobody wants any more than they truly need. But Beck is a realist. He knows we don't live in a utopia, and we cannot live in a utopia. Jesus said, "in this world you will have trouble..." Yes, He also said to help the "least of these" and to love your neighbor as yourself. Interestingly, yesterday's reading in My Utmost For His Highest, written by Oswald Chambers long before this Health Care Reform plagued the nation, says to us:

If you become a necessity to someone else’s life, you are out of God’s will... and when you begin to see that person in the middle of a difficult and painful struggle, don’t try to prevent it, but pray that his difficulty will grow even ten times stronger, until no power on earth or in hell could hold him away from Jesus Christ. Over and over again, we try to be amateur providences in someone’s life. We are indeed amateurs, coming in and actually preventing God’s will and saying, "This person should not have to experience this difficulty..." You may often have to watch Jesus Christ wreck a life before He saves it (see Matthew 10:34 ).

My boyfriend pointed out that reading to me yesterday. And while it reminded us a lot of parents and family members always swooping in to save the day for ungrateful children and kin, it made me think most about health care. What does Matthew 10:34 say? It is Jesus, telling us "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

You see, this is where I think that the idea of social justice runs amok. Life is not easy. It's not. Even if all of your healthcare bills are paid, you may still have incureable heartache. Even though you have very little, you can be content. Our society is obsessed with money. It may make the world go 'round, but it does not define us.

Do you know what happened? We were stamped as "The Land of Opportunity," and people got confused about what that word opportunity really means. It doesn't mean The Land of Get-Rich-Quick. It doesn't mean The Land of Free Stuff. It doesn't mean The Land Where All of Your Ills Will be Cured. Opportunity is none of that. It simply means, according to Meriam Webster, 1 : a favorable juncture of circumstances ... 2 : a good chance for advancement or progress.

And, really, isn't that the same as "social justice?" Glen Beck promotes the foundation of America, the land of opportunity, but says run from social justice. Why? Because people aren't doing their homework, that's why. Because "social justice," and "land of opportunity" used to mean the exact same thing, but for some reason today we believe that "social justice" is the same as evening the playing field. So, instead of making the most of circumstances and chance, we are instead attempting to change those two things. We want now to change the chance to be lucky for ourselves, and the circumstances to lean in our favor. Seems to me like everyone forgot what it means to work hard.

Here is the business dictionary's definition of social justice, which sounds like what we already have in this country as far as laws go. You tell me:

Fair and proper administration of laws conforming to the natural law that all persons, irrespective of ethnic origin, gender, possessions, race, religion, etc., are to be treated equally and without prejudice. See also civil rights.

I think everyone has gone mad. Maybe if we all stopped complaining all the time we might actually get something done.

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