Thursday, March 19, 2020

Identity Politics and Social Justice




Robin Phillips understands identity politics as a way of:

  • Pigeon-holing individuals into belief patterns based upon their group identity, on the assumption that someone’s skin color, ethnic origin, sex, or sexual proclivities ought to determine his or her political beliefs. (“Tribal Forces;” Salvo Magazine; Spring 2020; 56)

He offers the example of Democratic Congresswoman Ayanna Presley who announced on TV:

  • We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice.

Consistent with this divisive “logic,” the rich should think and vote according to their status. Men should vote as men and women as women. We are to live and think according to our socially designated classes.

If you need a definition of racism, Presley has gladly provided one, compelling us to think according to our determined classifications, as if these should define, above all other considerations, who we are. This thinking means that we are no longer free and thinking human beings but socially scripted tribal zombies deprived of choice.

This thinking also claims that there is nothing more important than race, sex, and class groupings. However, it is guaranteed to set us at odds against one another. This crude thinking also dismisses the role of our values, relationships, interests, goals, and our religions. Instead, we are tossed into prescribed slots in which there is little tolerance for differences. Consequently, politics forces us to conform to Presley’s categories and ways of thinking. As a result, if you are black and don’t vote Democratic, you are not really black. Even worse, you have betrayed your people. Likewise, queers who don’t vote Democratic have also betrayed their designated grouping. How are these groupings maintained? Through fear and anger-provoking messages to keep its captives at a boiling-point!

I am a Jew. Must I think and act like other Jews? Should I be coerced to remain in my tribe and rejected when I do not. There was a time when my Jewish identity was more important to me than anything else. As a result, I became a Zionist and moved to Israel where I planned to live out my life.

However, I later received something that defines me far more meaningfully than my ethnic or national identity ever could - Jesus my Savior who has died the death we deserve.

It is Jesus who can heal our wounds, not identity politics or what has now become known as “social justice” (SJ). Instead of the Gospel, both have commandeered the Church to a great extent . Both claim that justice is no longer about individuals and their conduct. Instead, it’s about dividing the world into the “good guys” and the “bad guys,” the oppressed and the oppressors. Straight-white-males are now regarded as the oppressors. We Jews had once been regarded as the oppressed. However, now most of the world regards us as the oppressors.

Racism and tribalism, with all of their ugly divisions and social unrest, has again become the standard in favor of the big-tent under which we can all live peacefully and harmoniously, knowing that we will receive equal and just treatment. SJ requires us to favor, even in our courts, the “oppressed.” Consequently, the understanding that we are all equal before law is dismissed and replaced. Justice and employment are now largely determined by sex, sexual preference, and skin color. But as certain groups are favored, others feel marginalized and threatened.

When people do not believe that the system will protect them, they will build walls and buy guns to protect themselves. However, church historian F.J. Foakes-Jackson had highlighted another more promising and proven answer for our growing social unrest:

·       History shows that the thought of Christ on the Cross has been more potent than anything else in arousing a compassion for suffering and indignation at injustice…The later Evangelicalism, which saw in the death of Christ the means of free salvation for fallen humanity, caused its adherents to take the front rank as champions of the weak…Prison reforms, the prohibition of the slave trade. The abolition of slavery, the Factory Acts, the protection of children, the crusade against cruelty to animals, are all the outcome of the great evangelical revival of the eighteenth century, which, it is but just to admit all Christian communities have fostered, and which non-Christian philanthropists have vied with them in encouraging, are among the greatest triumphs of the power and influence of Christ. (Carl F.H. Henry; Aspects of Christian Social Ethics; Baker Book House, 1980, 29)

If this is true, then revival of the Church is the answer and not identity politics.

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