Social Justice


IRD writers and contributors comment on what social justice is, and how Christians can advocate for it based on the Gospel and natural law.

August 7, 2014

A ‘Social’ Approach to Poverty

6 Responses to A ‘Social’ Approach to Poverty

  1. Byrom says:

    To elaborate on a “social” approach to poverty, one must define what it means to be poor. In the United States, poverty is defined by arbitrary standards of income by the federal government. Today, there are few really poor people in our country. The “poor” have cars, cell phones, big-screen TVs, expensive sneakers, air conditioning, microwaves, medical care, public schools, and so on. This standard of living – fabulously rich to many in other parts of the world – is made possible by redistribution from the productive to the non-productive (often by choice) members of society. I do not describe these persons as “poor.”
    On the other hand, there are people whom I would describe as truly poor. For example, in my city, there are periodic news stories about elderly persons living alone, with fixed incomes and no family, who are unable to adequately care for themselves. Other people are living in homeless shelters for one reason or another. These are among the people who need our attention as servants of Jesus Christ.

    • Karmasue says:

      Byrom – you have the same tired stereotyped description of “the poor” that I hear a lot from those who get their ideas from the news: elderly people on fixed incomes living alone and people in homeless shelters.

      But that is not the root of poverty in this country. There are millions of rural American families living in abject poverty, in homes that are falling apart, in towns that are crumbling. It is profound and complicated. Most work hard every day, often from sun up to sun down. They don’t have clean running water, or electricity, and often go without meals in order to make sure their children eat. One illness, one catastrophe, one accident can devastate them.
      Some have broken families, and broken dreams. And all have broken hearts.

      Maybe once you get a handle on what poverty really looks like, you will understand better why it is more than a “Christian” issue, and why private charities alone cannot fix this.

  2. MarcoPolo says:

    I’ve often wondered how some of the “overly compensated” CEO’s of major corporations like those in the Health Insurance industry, who earn tens of millions of dollars per year, can qualify such salaries?
    There may, no doubt, be many who give generously to charities, but doesn’t such wealth compel the person, (be they christian or of any other religion) to bestow great sums for charitable purposes?
    I’m sorry to be slightly off point, but the idea of ‘wealth redistribution’ isn’t really such a terrible thing if it’s in the form of raising the tax rate on those who can afford it. After all, how much is enough to live on for some of those in question?
    God forbid they should have to suffer the loss of dignity that so many today must endure.

  3. Karmasue says:

    “And for many people who feel defeated, rejected, and despised by society, the mere knowledge that you are loved can be more powerful than every dollar Washington can throw at a problem.”

    But it won’t put food in your child’s mouth, it won’t put a roof over your head, and it won’t pay the electric bill in winter.

    You seem to think you can just love that “poor” right out of their wretched lives. And they have to learn to be grateful – to you. Because “a sense of gratitude comes only with the knowledge that someone else cared enough about you.”

    But this one is my favorite “There’s is simply no Biblical basis for taking what is justly one man’s and giving to another.” Certainly not that little “render unto Caesar” thing in Mark which was specifically about tax collection.

    I couldn’t find where Caesar asked Jesus how He thought those taxes ought to be distributed.

  4. Lephteez Arfoneez says:

    Beck got a lot of flack over his “social justice” comment, but he was completely right, left-wing churches almost always use the phrase “social justice” on their home page, and without fail it refers to being pro-feminism, pro-abortion, pro-gay, pro-illegal immigration, etc. Anyone shopping for a church ought to be glad for this tip from Beck, because “social justice” lets a person know right off the bat that this church is heavy on PC, lite on God.

  5. John S. says:

    Governments care for the poor, disadvantaged, etc not out of a sense of justice or fairness but rather as a necessity to maintaining social order. Terms like justice, compassion, caring are used to justify the actions and make it palatable both to those from whom money is taken and those to whom it is given.

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