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The Subjective Indignation Of The Social Justice Movement

The Subjective Indignation of the Social Justice Movement

The Subjective Indignation of the Social Justice Movement
By Darrell Harrison

George Perry Floyd, Jr. was killed on May 25, 2020.

I say killed as opposed to murdered as the case against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, the primary accused in Floyd’s death, is still being adjudicated. When and if Derek Chauvin is lawfully convicted by a jury of his peers of the charges filed against him, only then will I refer to Floyd’s death as murder and to Chauvin as his murderer (Deuteronomy 19:15-21).

Sadly, though not surprisingly, it is tragedies like the George Floyd killing that social justicians will use to promote their avaricious agenda. I say that because, invariably, when a black person is killed or is otherwise maltreated at the hands of a white police officer, social justicians will not hesitate to presume the motive for such violence as “racism.” Consequently, and just as promptly, such incidents are deemed to be matters of “social justice” which, because the victim is black, broadens the scope of investigation far beyond that of seeking justice for the victim to seeking justice for all black people.

And yet the opposite is no less true.

In the same way that many social justicians regard all black people as proxy victims of violence carried out by white police officers, they consider all white people to be vicariously guilty of perpetrating that violence or, at the very least, of fostering the supposedly prejudicial milieu that wrought it. Consequently, and predictably, what began with the perceived injustice of a single incident has morphed into a movement wherein injustices perpetrated by white people against black people from centuries ago are both resurrected and re-prosecuted anew (Romans 12:17-21).

But that kind of wholesale ethnic condemnation is not unique to George Floyd. Such was also the case following the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, and, most recently, Ahmaud Arbery. In each instance, the judicatory pendulum swung from the pursuit of justice for one victim to the pursuit of social justice on behalf of every person whose melanin was similar to that of the victim’s.

It is an indignation that is both subjective and predictable.

All it takes is for the social justice planets to align themselves in just the right order, meaning a black person is killed by a white person, and social justicians, as if on cue, begin to regurgitate the narrative that America’s history of slavery is to blame for what happened and that the only way to right the wrong of that particular incident is to pay reparations to black people for hundreds of years of injustice at the hands of white people (as evidenced by this tweet by Charlie Dates, senior pastor at Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago, IL and Affiliate Professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL).

The day before George Floyd was killed, all was relatively quiet on the social justice front. Statues of dead white men remained undisturbed on their foundations. The Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s brands offended virtually no one. Autonomous Zones were veritably non-existent. And the Dixie Chicks, who have since changed their name to simply The Chicks, were completely fine with having “Dixie” in their name despite its questionable history.

But such is the indignation of the social justice movement. It is hypocritical at best and subjective at worst.

As a movement, its collective displeasure is triggered by certain incidents, involving certain individuals and groups of individuals, that happen to align with and advance their broader social justice agenda, much of which involves getting paid in the form of cash reparations among other entitlements. For example, according to a recent Fox News article, billionaire Robert Johnson has put forth a plan in which an estimated 40 million African-Americans would get $350,000 in direct cash payments over 30 years (costing the average taxpayer roughly $2,900 a year, according to his office). The $350,000 would signify the wealth disparity between African-Americans and white Americans.

But to whatever degree a black person being killed by a white person—especially if that white person is a police officer—helps social justicians get closer to their goal of reparations—and reparations is the goal—they will organize readily and remonstrate vociferously (and sometimes violently). Ironically, that is precisely why social justicians are as quiet as they are concerning the more than 19 million unborn black babies that have been murdered since Roe v. Wade in 1973—it doesn’t advance their agenda.

But, I digress…

In Ephesians 4:31, the apostle Paul exhorts believers in Christ to, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” The word malice is the Greek noun kakia (κακία) which denotes a desire to injure or to wish evil or trouble upon someone. Given what has transpired around the world in the weeks since George Floyd was killed—the looting, the assaulting of innocent people, the destruction of private property, the deliberately antagonistic and confrontational demonstrations—it is unarguable that a temper of malice is present within certain elements and aspects of the social justice movement.

There are those within that movement who wish to do harm to others, white people in particular, not in a search for justice but out of a deep-seated desire for revenge. But an animus that arises out of any desire other than to see the objective justice of God accomplished in the world is sin—period. I say that in light of such texts as Leviticus 19:17, “You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him” and 1 John 2:9-11, which reads, “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

Examine yourselves. — 2 Corinthians 13:5b

A believer whose indignation is provoked by the skin color or ethnicity of the victim of a perceived injustice is walking in darkness. In other words, he or she is spiritually blind. They are guilty of the exact opposite of what Jesus commands in John 7:24, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” Such sinful resentment has rendered them completely oblivious to the fact that God has forgiven them of their own manifold sins which, as the prophet Micah declares, have been cast by God into the depths of the sea, never to be held against them again (Micah 7:18-20).

It is against the blessed reality of God’s forgiveness of our own sins that we must remind ourselves that we are in no position to condemn anyone (Luke 6:37-38; Ephesians 4:32). Contrary to what basketball star LeBron James has asserted, black people are not “being hunted every time we step foot outside our homes.” That is a bald-faced lie. But for any person who professes to be a follower of Jesus Christ to view the world—and those who live in it—through the lens of ethnicity is to show partiality and to show partiality, of any kind, is sin (James 2:9).

As Christians, our response to injustice should be objective, not subjective. That is, we should desire justice, by God’s definition, to be done and not our subjective concept of “justice,” which oftentimes is nothing more than our own self-centered and self-indulgent desire for a preconceived outcome.

“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” — 1 John 3:15

Many social justicians would have us believe that the sin of ethnic prejudice is unique to those with less melanin than others. But those who have more melanin are just as capable of committing that sin. Melanin does not think, it does not feel, it does not love, it does not hate, it does not form intent, nor does it discern between good and evil. And yet our heart is capable of all those things (Mark 7:17-23).

What should arouse our indignation when any injustice occurs is not that a [insert ethnicity here] image-bearer of God was maltreated, but that an image-bearer of God was maltreated. And even then, we must be content to leave the matter to God, who has promised that His righteous judgment will be meted out either in this life or the next (1 Timothy 5:24).

It was the nineteenth-century English preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon, one of my theological heroes, who said, “Surely, the heart is a chameleon.” It is against those words from Spurgeon that I want to encourage you, my brother and sister in the Lord, to examine your own heart to see if there be any hurtful way in you (Psalm 139:24a).

Do you harbor ethnic prejudice in your heart? In other words, do you hate other people because of their ethnicity? That’s what the Bible call it—hate. Is the color of a person’s skin—an attribute of their personhood that they had absolutely nothing to do with (nor did you, for that matter)—a factor in your choosing what you will or will not be indignant about? Are you lying to yourself—and to God—by calling your anger righteous when in your heart you know it is sinful (Ephesians 4:26)?

If so, I lovingly urge and encourage you to confess and repent of the hatred you’ve been harboring toward others of God’s image-bearers, and please with you to pray that the Lord would renew within you a genuine, Christ-centered love for all of God’s image-bearers regardless of ethnicity, for it is He who gave you and each of us the ethnicity we possess (Romans 12:1-2; Acts 17:26).

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