Leadership, Christianity, and Social Justice
Have you ever wondered about the relationship among leadership, Christianity, and social justice? These constructs mean different things to different people. Leadership may mean overseeing others, being out front, spouting orders, getting done what the leader wants done. To me, it means a process of inclusion, collaboration, participation. Christianity on the other hand, to me, means violence, colonizing, dominating, hanging, castrating, beating, drowning, starving, and taking what doesn’t belong to the “Christian”; at the same time, Christians espouse what Jesus said. I wonder how Jesus dealt with difference: culturally, ethnically, sexually, and religiously different others. What would Jesus say to our “leaders” who are Christian? And how does the foregoing relate to social justice, leader?
Social justice is about how we treat each other, irrespective of our otherness or our differences: cultural, ethnic, sexual, thinking, economic, age, capabilities, etc. FDR captures a version of social justice: “The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little.” Our leaders, possessors of wealth, power, and privilege, don’t or can’t hear FDR’s message. They can’t see or hear the voiceless: the elderly, hungry children, the homeless, the poor, etc. Yet they call themselves Christians. Social justice to them is a form of socialism.
I must add that social justice was invented by Christians, though Christians for the most part don’t practice it. Father Luigi Taparellli D’ Azeglio (1793–1862) invented social justice because he worried about how people would be treated based on problems he foresaw arising from the industrial revolution.
Speaking of how we treat each other, was Columbus a Christian? Was he a Christian and a leader? If we ask the Arawak Indians what happened to them when Columbus used cavalry, crossbows, small cannons, lances, sword, plus a large group of hunting dogs turned loose on them, tearing them apart, shredding their bodies, leading to genocide, what would they say? Of course, they are no longer with us. Thanks to the leader(?) and Christian, Columbus.
Was President Andrew Jackson a Christian? Yes, according to his biographers, Andrew Jackson spoke: “Our excellent constitution guarantees to everyone freedom of religion… All who profess Christianity believe in a Savior and that by and through Him we must be saved.” Though a lifelong Presbyterian, Jackson was pro-slavery; and, he was anti-Native American. He literally took 11 million (11,000,000) acres from the Choctaw and sent them on the “Trail of Tears” to Oklahoma. What a convenient euphemism—“Trail of Tears.” It should be “The Trail of Death,” because that’s what happened to many of them: thousands froze to death; many starved to death. How Christian is that? And how socially just is that, leader?
Behaviorally, what’s happening among our so called “leaders” who espouse Christianity today? Is their behavior any different now than when Columbus walked these grounds? Is the behavior of our so called Christians who are leaders socially just?
I don’t think there’s much difference in the behavior and thinking of contemporary Christians who call themselves leaders in 2013 and when Columbus was here. They espouse what the forefathers said, thought, meant, and did, in the name of Christianity; all the while depriving the elderly, children, and other helpless groups the basics: food, shelter, medical, etc., because of greed; they deprive what’s due those who put themselves in harm’s way for the nation: the Veterans. Is all of this consistent with the teachings of Christianity and what the forefathers said, leader?
Some may view this blog as one-sided, that my examples of Christian behavior foster one version of Christianity’s impact on society. You may be compelled to run a list of socially just examples as counterpoints to my views. However, I am addressing a need. A need we have in this nation to treat all with dignity, equity, impartially. Mother Teresa said it so passionately: “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
Many of our leaders have either forgotten or never knew what Mother Teresa said. Some “leaders” suffer from economic, political, and social amnesia. They demonstrate an 18th-Century mindset in a 21-Century world. Many finished school so long ago, they haven’t a clue what’s happening in this nation, changes in demographics, what the citizens want, need, or more troubling: what they were elected to do or paid to do. Meaning, they aren’t doing the people’s work; they aren’t doing the nation’s work; and, they aren’t doing their jobs; and yet, they are on the “People’s Payroll.” And they call themselves leaders? Christians? In my view, they are disingenuous and pathetic—results: social injustice.
The impacts are countless and visible everywhere: if our leaders were prepared to embrace Dr. Martin Luther King’s thinking: “Social injustice anywhere is social injustice everywhere.”
How do you feel about the affiliation among leadership, Christianity, and social justice?
What reactions are you having about our society under the current leadership?
What are your thoughts?
Source used in this blog: http://hollowverse.com/andrew-jackson/