Social Justice and Socialism

What’s all this talk about social justice and socialism? Fellow blogger Arloa Sutter‘s post on social justice and socialism is well worth reading. As she points out the two terms sounds so much alike but that’s where their similarities end. The two schools of thought are worlds apart.

Socialism says that the government owns industry and every little profit from industry goes back to its owner (the government) to be used at that owner’s discretion. The owner distributes the profits to the workers using a system that the owner decided upon, with no input from the workers. That’s the system called socialism.

Justice has to do with systems too. Under justice we see systems that take into consideration the rights of those under the system, and then assigns rewards and punishment based on that system. As Christians we should be very familiar with Jesus’s teachings on justice. Luke 4:18-19 sums up our Lord’s stand on justice, a stand he was anointed to deliver.

“To preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed.”

There is no justice in socialism.

A little while ago, I watched a PBS broadcast on genocide. The images on my TV screen were hard to bear. Mass graves filled with broken fragments of humanity. People lying in bloody pools. Naked starving women being marked for miles until they dropped dead. Instead of turning away I watched, expecting to discover the cause for so much hate and inhumanity.

So many civilizations had been affected. Tutsis in Rwanda. Muslims in Bosnia. Jews in Germany. Mayans in Guatemala. So much death. So much loss.

Why had so many countless lives been wasted? Not because of justice. But because of socialist and communist leaders that said government knew best. That it could and would bring a greater good for society through that system. That’s systems like capitalism and socialism have produced death, not justice.

Social justice, in it’s purest form, will produce healthy communities, churches, and families. I’ve seen this kind of justice in communities that have been touched by the beliefs of Christian Community Development Association (CCDA).

Look at any urban ministry or church that follows the tenets of relocation, reconciliation, and redistribution and you’ll find a network of believers that seek justice everyday. Thankfully, occasionally they actually see the fruits of their labors. Even in a political climate that is bent on division and socialism.

This recent muddying of the waters with this social justice and socialism debate may have confused some Christians. Hopefully, it has not scared them away from following Christ’s call to feed His sheep. Not all of His sheep have BMWs and Blackberrys.

So what’s your take on social justice? Have your say in the comment box below.