You may be spotting social justice everywhere, but what is it? Well, social justice takes the view that all people, regardless of background or status, should have equal access to opportunities, wealth, privileges and well-being in society. And yes, you’re seeing it around because it’s a big deal to the generation today.
A decade-long study of 150,000 millennials concluded that millennials care about collective action, the greater good, innovation and creating impact1. At the same time, in shaping up to be the most digital, diverse and educated generation yet, Gen Zers are certain of what they want: authenticity, purpose, connection and yes, social justice. In fact, a study found that 61% of Gen Zers identified themselves as ‘global citizens’2.
As a millennial or Gen Zer, you may be totally feeling this. But did you know social justice also resonates very loudly with Christianity?
But first, a quick lesson on social justice. Let’s go!
While various organisations and governments have different frameworks, the general goal remains the same: to build a society based on fairness, where everyone is treated equally and with dignity. There are five principles of social justice:
The most basic of all the principles, this refers to the basic rights of every human being. Usually, our laws ensure protection of these rights which include voting, protection and freedom of speech and expression.
When we talk about a fair society, every person should have access to resources and opportunities to thrive. Whether it’s clean water, education or food, no one should be left out. But we all know that in reality, this is not the case.
More than equality, equity ensures that resources provided are specific to communities and their needs so that the common goal is met. In providing access to education, for instance, someone may need more assistance to get to school due to lack of transportation, while another may not.
Discrimination often stems from a lack of diversity. In our melting-pot world, it can be easy to form a me versus them approach rather than moving forward with the will to understand and embrace differences. Social justice fights for more understanding and inclusivity.
To build a fair society, each person who lives in and contributes to it must have a voice that counts. This starts at the top with policy development; policymakers can advance social justice by ensuring that every group is represented in the process.
Alright, so it’s about building a better world. Where does my faith fit in?
As Christians, our framework for justice is based on God and His Word. Firstly, God is described as just (Jeremiah 9:24, Psalm 103:6). Furthermore, He loves justice and throughout the Word we see Him exalting the act of being just (Isaiah 61:8, Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 33:5).
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?Isaiah 58:6-7
Social justice, therefore, follows the biblical call to loving those around us and treating people justly as our God does. If we seek to follow in Jesus Christ’s footsteps, the command to advance social justice is crystal clear.
- The Millennial Impact Report: 10 Years Looking Back, 2019, The Case Foundation.
- Gen Z: Getting to Know the ‘Me is We’ Generation, 2019, Facebook IQ.
- The Five Principles of Social Justice, 2020, Kent State University Blog.
- Cover Image: Savannah Class on Unsplash