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Posts tagged ‘Social justice’

What President Obama Doesn’t Get About Inequality.


Inequality is President Obama’s highest priority, but his solutions are wholly naive.

Disparities between rich and poor are as ancient as civilization, but in modern democracies, this condition is exacerbated by globalization and technologies that drive it.

Successive advances in communication and transportation, for example, permit top opera singers, athletes and other professionals to reach wider audiences and earn incomes many times greater than their peers do.

Urgent: Is Obamacare Hurting Your Wallet? Vote in Poll 

Before the radio, phonograph and moving pictures, virtually every city, small and large, had an opera house or music hall that offered live entertainment. The top stars sang in New York, London and Milan and earned considerable wealth, but many local performers and traveling journeymen could earn a decent living too.

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso made more than 260 recordings for RCA Victor from 1904 to 1920, and radio sent his voice around the world. His income soared to levels unheard in past generations, but less renowned performers were displaced as regional opera companies folded.

Satellite communications, the Internet and jet travel permit star journalists to reach millions across the globe, while summonsing the demise of newspapers and opportunities for local reporters and columnists. The same goes for Wall Street bankers, big-firm lawyers and multinational executives, at the expense of their brethren in smaller enterprises.

For ordinary workers, cheaper oceanic and rail transportation for goods and the Internet for services have magnified global competition. More workers in the United States must now compete with those in China, and those in northern Europe must compete with those in southern Europe and in large Chinese cities with those elsewhere in Asia.

Governments have made extremes of income worse. Big cities, often with federal support, subsidize concert halls and sports stadiums, and further raise the salaries paid top performers and big league ball players.

The United States and European Union have gone along with trade and environmental agreements that permit China to charge high tariffs on imports and avoid pollution abatement, making “Made in China” even cheaper. That pushes down wages for American and European workers and wreaks havoc on the global environment.

In China, migration laws permit rural workers to move to factories in big cities, but most may not bring their children. One in five Chinese children lives without their parents, and often those drop out of school and become unemployable, which will create enormous social problems.

Income disparities are making education more unattainable for the children of poor and working classes. This is a social time bomb, but government policies to address the problem often make things worse.

In the United States, government-subsidized loans drive up tuition costs. Community and less-prestigious four-year colleges have lots of children from low and middle-income families, and many graduates are saddled with huge debt and have not found jobs that pay much better than high school graduates.

Enrollment at top business and professional schools are still dominated by students whose parents are well off. They get most of the top-paying jobs on Wall Street, in high-end law firms and among multinational corporations.

Obamacare is making health insurance more expensive for many middle-class families and driving up the cost of healthcare. That makes income disparities worse not better.

Research at the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research has shown putting otherwise able people on public assistance encourages the same in their children, and extended unemployment benefits actually increase unemployment by raising employer costs and reducing the demand for labor.

All these burdens slow growth and lessen job opportunities for the struggling middle class and disadvantaged.

High talk about social justice, widening economic opportunities and income redistribution makes liberal politicians media darlings and wins elections, but such demagoguery does little to fill the belly of the poor.

Urgent: Is Obamacare Hurting Your Wallet? Vote in Poll 

© 2014 Moneynews. All rights reserved.

 

Do We Believe the Whole Gospel?.


Unbelief. This one word expresses the judgment Emil Brunner, the Swiss “crisis theologian,” used to describe nineteenth-century liberal theology. The rise of such liberalism was a conscious synthesis between naturalism in the world of philosophy and historic Christianity.

Liberalism sought to de-supernaturalize the Christian faith and to restrict the modern significance of Jesus and the New Testament to ethical considerations, particularly with respect to the needs of human beings, and especially with respect to their material needs.

This provoked a significant dilemma for the organized church, first in Europe and then in America. If an institution repudiates the very foundation upon which it is built and for which it exists, what happens to the billions of dollars worth of church property and its numerous ordained professionals?.

The clergy were left with nothing to preach except social concerns. In order to maintain a reason for the continued existence of Christianity as an organized religion, nineteenth-century liberalism turned to a new gospel, dubbed the “social gospel.” This was a gospel that focused on considerations of humanitarianism and had at the core of its agenda a commitment to “social justice.”

The use of the term “social justice” involved an ironic twisting of words. What was in view in this philosophy was basically the redistribution of wealth, following the template of socialism. The false assumption of this so-called social justice was that material wealth can be gained only by means of the exploitation of the poor.

Ergo, for a society to be just, the wealth must be redistributed by government authority. In reality, this so-called social justice degenerated into social injustice, where penalties were levied on those who were legitimately productive and non-productivity was rewarded — a bizarre concept of justice indeed.

The rise in importance of the social gospel provoked a controversy known in church history as the “modernist-fundamentalist controversy,” which raged in the early years of the twentieth century. This controversy witnessed an unholy dichotomy between two poles of Christian concern.

On the one hand, there was the classic concern of personal redemption accomplished by Christ through His atoning death on the cross, which brought reconciliation for those who put their trust in Jesus. On the other hand there was the consideration of the material well-being of human beings in this world right now.

It included the consideration of clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, giving shelter to the homeless, and caring for the poor.

Many evangelicals at this period in history, in order to preserve the central significance of the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, gave renewed emphasis to evangelism. In many cases, this emphasis upon evangelism was done to the exclusion of the other pole of biblical concern, namely, mercy ministry to those who were poor, afflicted, and suffering.

So glaring was the dichotomy between liberal and evangelical concerns that, sadly, many evangelicals began to distance themselves from any involvement in mercy ministries, lest their activities be construed as a surrender to liberalism.

The fallacy of the false dilemma takes two important truths and forces one to choose between them. The assumption of the either/or fallacy is that of two particular matters, only one is true while the other is false; therefore, one is required to choose between the true and the false.

The either/or fallacy that stood before the church in this period was either the gospel of personal redemption or the gospel of social concern for the material welfare of human beings.

Even a cursory reading of the New Testament, however, makes it clear that the concerns of Jesus and of the New Testament writers cannot be reduced to an either/or dilemma. The problem with this fallacy, as with all fallacies, is that truth becomes severely distorted.

The New Testament does not allow for this false dilemma. The choice that the church has is never between personal salvation and mercy ministry. It is rather a both/and proposition. Neither pole can be properly swallowed by the other. To reduce Christianity either to a program of social welfare or to a program of personal redemption results in a truncated gospel that is a profound distortion.

Historically, before the outbreak of nineteenth-century liberalism, the church did not seem to struggle with this false dichotomy. For centuries, the church understood her task as both to proclaim the saving gospel of the atoning work of Christ and, at the same time, to follow Jesus’ example of ministry to the blind, to the deaf, to the imprisoned, to the hungry, to the homeless, and to the poor.

The ministry of the church, if it is to be healthy, must always be firmly committed to both dimensions of the biblical mandate, that we may be faithful to Christ Himself. If we reject either the ministry of personal redemption or of mercy to the afflicted, we express “unbelief.”

Dr. R.C. Sproul is president of Ligonier Academy of Biblical and Theological Studies and the author of the booklet How Should I Live in This World?.

By R.C. Sproul.

Reject Apathy Mag Gives Voice to Social Justice Movement.


Reject_ApathyThe publishers of RELEVANT magazine, a Christian publication targeting the college-to-30s audience, just rolled out a new publication.

Dubbed Reject Apathy, the magazine aims to give a voice to the faith-based social justice movement in this generation.

Reject Apathy will focus on five key areas—poverty, defense of innocents, creation care, preventable disease and violence.

The  accompanying website, RejectApathy.com, promises a holistic view of social justice issues and solutions.

It emphasizes core values of sustainability, local involvement and leadership, faith focus, financial transparency, and a long-term commitment to change.

“Our prayer for Reject Apathy is that it will open eyes and activate our generation to a new level of sacrificial living, sustainable change and a spiritual revolution,” says Cameron Strang, publisher of Reject Apathy and RELEVANT.

“It may be the most important thing our team has done.”

Strang has seen firsthand the desire this generation has to change the world. As he sees it, 20- and 30-somethings are passionate to stand against injustice, take action and make a difference.

Reject Apathy was born out of that desire, and Strang hopes the new publication will help challenge and motivate readers to truly make a difference.

Reject Apathy has been several years in the making, beginning with a trip Strang took to Rwanda and Kenya in 2008 with Pastor Rick Warren.

“Coming back from that trip, my view of social justice and missions was forever altered,” Strang says.

“Simply ‘knowing’ and ‘caring’ simply wasn’t enough anymore.

We have to commit ourselves to making a difference. Our faith dictates it.”

The inaugural issue of Reject Apathy has a circulation of 150,000 and is included with subscriptions to RELEVANT.

Reject Apathy is also distributed for free on college campuses and select events nationwide.

By Jennifer LeClaire.

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