When it comes to human relationships, love, compassion and justice must go hand in hand. In talking about social justice I am not talking about justice as retribution or punishment but as justice in the way we treat our fellow-man. When people are wronged, they may cry out for justice to be done, and often won’t be satisfied unless the wrongdoer is punished for their crimes against them. Social Justice demands that we correct the unfairness of society but does not demand retribution or punishment.
- 20,000 innocent children who die every day of preventable diseases cry out for justice.
- 1 billion people living in extreme poverty cry out for a fairer world system.
- Poor workers who satisfy western demand for things like coffee, chocolate, vegetables etc. cry out for a reasonable percentage of the final price.
- Millions, working as virtual slaves in industry cry out for freedom from exploitation.
- A million plus woman trapped in the sex industry cry out for respect and liberty.
- An estimated 127 million children working in conditions which are harmful to their health and welfare cry out for a decent start in life.
- Over 100 million children between 5 and 11, who receive no education at al,l cry out for at least a primary education so that they are not condemned to produce another desperately poor generation.
- 400 million children between 12 and 17 who do not attend secondary school cry out for the opportunities that education would bring.
Why should we care?
If we live relatively comfortably, why should we care about those in need in our own country. or in other countries?
- We should care because we are made in the image of God, and He cares about each individual.
- We should care because they are fellow human-beings, our brothers and sisters in the human family.
- We should care because morality, ethics and justice demand it.
- Showing compassion for others and seeking justice for the oppressed produces a sense of fulfilment and peace in us personally.
- It is in our best interest to abolish extreme poverty, because development of the whole world means prosperity for us all.
How to help
How then can we help?
- Ensure firstly that our attitudes are right. Our actions depend ultimately upon our attitudes and will be effected by any trace of racism, prejudice or indifference.
- Depending where we live in the world, we can campaign on behalf of the poor, the disadvantaged and the exploited.
- If we live in a democracy we can vote for the people who are most likely to ensure justice is done.
- We can purchase products which give the original producers a fair return for their labour.
- We can share our resources with those around us.
- We can donate to organisations who seek to address injustice, or to give opportunities to people enslaved by poverty.
- We can sponsor a child to ensure that he/she gets a good education to improve their opportunities.
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- Social Justice (UK) (georgedowdell.org)
- Pope Francis, the “development pope”? (snapgrabber.co.uk)