Only thing we have to fear is fear itself FDR in his inaugural speech in March 1933 was alerting the nation that fear was making things worse. Fear is such an incredible force, it has the power to bring people to their knees, paralyze some from moving at all, and make people run for safety due to some perceived threat to their well-being or way of life. Such is the power of fear that it can make grown men and women cower and seek to make borders around all that they hold dear. Unfortunately, this can especially be damaging when those who profess to have a relationship with Jesus Christ use fear as a means to justify violations of justice or to attack others within the Christian community. Fear often can pit us against those we profess to love. Fear can take normally rational people into the abyss of anxiety and make them utilize weapons they would generally not in order to avoid changing, to maintain comfort, and often makes situations worse by creating unneeded/unwarranted conflict.
It is in a stance of fear where Evangelical Christians find themselves with the topic of social justice. So much so that as recent as September 2018 a group of prominent Evangelical Christian men authored and published a statement https://statementonsocialjustice.com/ in order to take a stand against social justice. These men believe that social justice is corrupting the Gospel of Christ and is an attack on His church. They felt so strongly about this new threat to the church/gospel that they issued a 14 point statement to debunk social justice. As one of the writers, Tom Ascol, wrote in a September 4, 2018 blog post; we determined to make a public stand together in hopes of warning about the dangers we see in some of what is being promoted in the name of social justice.
This public stand comes at an interesting time in history not only do we currently have a nationalistic, racist, and xenophobic president (he who must not be named) that was overwhelmingly voted for and continues to be supported by White evangelical Christians (80%), the rise of hate crimes and police brutality against people of color is rising at alarming numbers , and The Gospel Coalition held a huge MLK 50 celebration/conference where many evangelicals called out the church for supporting white supremacy and ignoring issues of race the month before the statement was released. For these men the time seemed ripe for a broad sweeping indictment against social justice. A combination of what seems like righteous indignation and overwhelming fear that Christians were being led away from fundamental Christianity that is mostly based on White theology caused these men to come up with this statement. Not to mention the rise among many evangelicals who are questioning issues of race especially in stances of police brutality, which I believe can traced back to the killing of Mike Brown and Ferguson. The statement reads like a cautionary tale where the church needs to be protected or else things will fall apart and the church will fall victim to secular culture.
When describing what this final project was all about, this declaration stuck out to me Write about what pisses you off it made me laugh and exclaim; there isn’t enough paper in the world for me to write about what pisses me off. Snark is a gift and it should never go to waste. As this assignments deadline looms, I find that the thing that has been pissing me off the most lately and most especially this first semester of grad school is evangelical Christianity. Over the past two years my place of employment has come under attack for making issues where none exist. Some individuals were completely roasted online by colleagues and students for bringing forth justice and race issues. One would think at a Christian higher education institution that these questions would be welcomed and openly engaged unfortunately no.
The situation is so out of hand that using the term social justice is equivalent to swearing on campus. Some staff and faculty are so adamant that social justice is not a gospel issue that they openly bad mouth others who advocate for it. There is also the situation of my former church which I mentioned in my race workshop paper and how it was the impetus for me leaving that church. I have been wounded and deeply traumatized by the negative reaction to social justice, race, equality, and feminism so that when the statement was released on September 5, I was not surprised but it made revisit all the hurt/anger over the past two years. I’m utterly disgusted and deeply saddened by this statement as it fails to acknowledge that many devout/sincere followers of Christ see justice work as an outpouring of love. So, that is why it pisses me off, as to why it is a justice issue this statement is a direct violation of the principles of Human Dignity, The Common Good, and Solidarity (virtue and principle).
Within Christianity, statements like this are nothing new throughout history, Christians have come together to scrutinize and respond to perceived threats to the faith. These are designed to address cultural shifts, societal pressures on the church, and answer scripturally to these so called threats. Many are well intentioned and address real issues, though not all hit the mark correctly as they will create divisions that are not entirely necessary.
Christians And Social Justice. (2019, Apr 08).
Retrieved December 7, 2021 , from
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