In conversations about our nation’s original sin and its aftermath, don’t talk to me about slavery in other civilizations over the course of human history.
Our nation celebrates founding documents according to which “all men are created equal”. Our nation has a Constitution that guarantees the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all citizens.
The problem with Americans pointing to other societies that harbored the institution of slavery is that other societies are perfectly irrelevant to the question of whether our society lives up to its own ideals.
Jerry Falwell, Sr.: "We are developing a socialistic state in these United States... our giveaway programs, our welfarism, at home and abroad, is developing a breed of bums and derelicts who wouldn't work in a pie shop eating the holes out of donuts...
And they will stand in line at an unemployment office rather than go look for a job."
Falwell said that back in 1976. But as recently as today, the Culture Warriors on Christian Twitter have been recycling some of these same toxic ideas.
So here's a thread on choices and circumstances for the pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps crowd--those people who insist on reducing all outcomes to personal responsibility:
A thread on "Black Lives Matter" v. "All Lives Matter":
Imagine you're in a movie theater somewhere in Nebraska.
In the middle of the movie, your phone rings. You answer your phone and proceed to have a conversation at full volume. After about a minute, the guy behind you taps you on the shoulder and says, "Dude, we're in a movie theater."
You could respond in any number of ways. You might say, "No, we're in Nebraska." But this response isn't appropriate. In fact, it's difficult to imagine that anyone would offer this as a serious retort.
Thanks again for weighing in, James. Since you seem to be open to it, I’ll describe what I’d call an instance of ‘systemic injustice’, and maybe you could tell me and whether you think it matters. I’ll start with a couple of quick preliminaries. (RT’d for thread.)
First, given the potential confusions you note, I should define my terms. *Justice* is achieved when we get what we deserve—when we pay what we owe, receive what we are due, etc. And injustice occurs when people take more than they are due or receive less than they deserve.
(The substantive content of what constitutes justice or injustice depends on the field of application; but at the highest level of abstraction, justice always involves giving people what they deserve, for better or for worse; and injustice involves withholding what’s deserved.)
Several people have rightly flagged @Jentezen ’s use of the phrase “a different kind of integrity” as unbiblical and nonsensical. It's also a reflection of the incoherence at the core of white evangelical political participation.
We all occupy a variety of social roles—e.g., spouse, parent, colleague, citizen, etc. I have integrity when I approach each of these social roles in a way that’s consistent with how I approach the others.
When I have integrity, all the different parts of my life are *integrated* into a single coherent identity—namely, me. By contrast, I lack integrity when I inhabit one social role in a way that is inconsistent with who I am (or pretend to be) in some other social role.
Well, here @johnmacarthur seems to be teaching from the third chapter of Isaiah. The only reference to women in power is in v. 12, where the prophet mentions governance by women as a consequence of Israel’s iniquity. Note three things:
When a man lays with another man’s wife, whether it’s rape or (consensual) adultery, Deut. 22 provides that the man is to be stoned to death. In the case of rape, only the man is stoned to death. In the case of adultery, both are stoned to death.
Either way, if they follow the law, David is done. The king, in the person of David, isn’t about to let that happen. (This, incidentally, is the raw power dynamic that Samuel warns about in 1 Sam 8, prior to anointing Saul.)
I’ve been asked why I spend time writing posts specifically about @FoundersMin and related matters (see posts on SSJG, culture wars, ultra-complementarianism and masculinity). I’ve asked myself the same question. Here’s what I got:
I became active on Twitter a few months ago in order to advance a book project on evangelicalism, politics and institutional justice. Almost immediately, I became aware of the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel and organizations that affirm it, like @FoundersMin.
This has been an unsettling experience for me. Before disagreeing with someone, I try to sympathize with their position as much as possible. Ideally, I can argue for their position better than they can before I ever voice my disagreement. That’s what I’m trained to do.
In describing his own commitment to ultra-complementarianism, Owen Strachan, an associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Seminary, notes that: “For millennia, followers of God have practiced what used to be called patriarchy and is now called complementarianism.”
He goes on to observe the distinct roles assigned to men and women:
“Husbands will have long days and experience physical problems from work; when given children by God, wives will face some stress and tiredness from caring for active little ones all day. …
Men can image Christ the savior-king by folding laundry on occasion, by getting down on the floor to play with their kids, and by doing dishes when they can.
A simple analogy for those who think past injustice is no longer morally salient:
Imagine an athletic competition, e.g. a basketball game.
If my team is up by 40pts at halftime because we cheated throughout the first half, and then we decide to abide by some procedurally fair set of rules in the second half but the score carries over from the first half, the game is still fundamentally unjust. It’s a sham.
Some people think that as long as we’re abiding by basically fair procedures at this very moment (more or less), we should just forget about the fact that one team entered the fair play portion of the contest with a 40 point cushion.
Within the evangelical community, discussions of “social justice” often emphasize charity and devote little attention to the moral significance of institutions.
This paradigm allows evangelicals to advocate for political institutions that deprive the poor of their due, and then dispense charity as though it were a substitute for justice. We need a new paradigm.
Christians are required to advocate for public institutions that reflect the truth about what people deserve—not for the sake of charity but because we are called to seek justice on behalf of those whose basic needs are likely to be ignored by free enterprise in search of profit.
I’m no expert on reparations or slavery. But I do have expertise in ethics and political philosophy. And, if I may, I think this comment actually brings more confusion than clarity to the issue. Here’s a much better argument.
(Quick preliminary. I’m not going to say anything about who owes what to whom, how much, or the process of effectuating compensation. I just want you to acknowledge that it’s at least possible that some people in the present day are owed compensation for some past injustices.
Oh yeah, and my argument has nothing to do with slavery. So your answer shouldn’t have anything to do with slavery or details Re who owes what to whom, how much, etc. My only point is that it’s at least possible that some people today are owed compensation for past injustice.)
A few preliminaries and then a general reaction. First, no need to reiterate that the world is complicated. Second, your response to the insurance example suggests to me that you’re unfamiliar with the use of this heuristic in political philosophy and political science. 1/
Your objections to the insurance heuristic just aren’t salient. (I can’t cover it on Twitter; it takes me about 1-2 hours of class time. But my favorite articulation of the model is found in Dworkin’s ‘Sovereign Virtue’.) 2/
Third, in presenting an abstract model, I don’t owe you all the nitty-gritty details of public policy. I owe you some details, sure. But I don’t claim to know who will be head Dog Catcher of Flagstaff, AZ in the year 2032. I just don’t. That’s not part of any model. 3/