Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Biblical social justice

This is inspired by Beck redefines social justice: "forced redistribution of wealth with a hostility towards individual property":

In What Glenn Beck Doesn't Understand About Biblical Social Justice, Jim Wallis makes an excellent point in more moderate terms than I think he should. He says, "Private charity, which Beck and I are both for, wasn't enough to end the slave trade in Great Britain, end legal racial segregation in America, or end apartheid in South Africa. That took vital movements of faith which understood the connection between personal compassion and social justice. Those are the movements that have inspired me and shaped my life -- not BIG GOVERNMENT."

Wallis fails to take the next step, perhaps because he's trying very hard to give no ammunition to those who call him a commie: Ending slavery required BIG GOVERNMENT. Ending racial segregation required BIG GOVERNMENT. Ending apartheid required BIG GOVERNMENT. The "vital movements of faith" (including atheists who believe in social justice) needed BIG GOVERNMENT to pass BIG LAWS. Left to follow their consciences, the rich use a smaller percentage of their wealth to help others--see, for example, The Rich Less Generous Than Others? which notes "the rich in the United States are nearly half as generous as everyone else."

As for Beck's obsession with "forced" redistribution, every Christian should know that when Jesus drove the moneychangers from the Temple, he did not go to each one and say, "I really wish you'd stop."

Rich people are almost impossible to convince. When asked about the rich entering heaven, Jesus said, "With God, all things are possible," not "all things are likely." We don't know whether the young rich man ultimately followed Jesus's words about perfection for his followers, but we knew he left sadly on hearing it.

Jesus would've agreed with Gandhi's observation, "There's enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed." Why else would he tell the rich to sell all they have and give the money to the poor? Because when wealth is shared, the only poor people are the victims of disasters, and their poverty only lasts as long as it takes for others to learn of their need and come help.

O my brethren and sistren (I've always wanted to say that), Brother Will's Bible passage of the day is 1 Timothy 6:9-10:
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.