"In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice…, the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man."
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
Forward Thinkers, the year of 2014 has been proclaimed the year of "double-double" breakthrough, but even in the midst of great advancement and increase many are still facing days of great difficulty.
American heroes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Franklin D. Roosevelt were both considered to be radical "Forward Thinkers", because they addressed the issue of social justice and challenged others to commit to the well-being of all mankind.
A very popular campaign was birthed in America a few years ago WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) and Forward Thinkers I am convinced if Jesus was here in 2014 a major part of His ministry would be centered around social justice.
If you ask a lot of people to define social justice you’re going to get many different definitions. Definitions will be based on a variety of factors, like political orientation, religious background, and political and social philosophy.
A general definition of social justice is hard to arrive at and even harder to implement. In essence, it is concerned with equal justice, not just in the courts, but in all aspects of society. This concept demands that people have equal rights and opportunities; everyone, from the poorest person on the margins of society to the wealthiest deserves an even playing field.
Forward Thinkers my definition of social justice is simply, "that all people are given the opportunity to reach their full potential without facing oppression or prejudice."
Forward Thinkers I’m committed to using my Forward Thinking mindset to challenge you to join the fight to improve the quality of life for all mankind.
The sense of urgency to become a drum major for social justice in the 21st century will not allow me to remain silent on the sideline behind the four walls on the church. WWJD is come out the comfort zone of the church and fight for social justice for all those inside the church.
The bible does declare that too much given much is expected.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. felt this call and it lead them to action and today Forward Thinkers I challenge you into action.
Let’s look at Luke 4:18-19 which describes Jesus vision statement as a drum major for social justice.
Luke 4:18-19 (NIV)
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."
Jesus Preached Good News To Poor
Forward Thinkers we must build an economic power structure that will enable us to really fight the war on poverty. The United States government declared a war on poverty but the reality is we are losing that war, especially in the South. Southern states have the poorest people in America. That poverty belt includes Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina. As many as one in four Southern children live in poverty, the Children’s Defense Fund reported earlier this year, compared to the national average of one in five.
As you would expect, the vast majority of people falling under the poverty line in the poorest states do not have white faces—although there are poor whites. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation compiles state poverty rates by race. In the poorest states, whites account for 15 percent to 20 percent of the poor. Politicians love to talk about the American Dream, which of course, is that hard work will result in a steady climb up the economic ladder. That promise is least likely across the South, according to the Equality of Economic Opportunity Project. It mapped economic mobility county by county across the U.S., and the results show that children born into poor homes were least likely to climb the economic ladder. The region’s businesses and business models overwhelmingly rely on low-wage work making mobility almost impossible.
Forward Thinkers we must continue the work of Jesus and preach the good news to the poor with the end result being the poor will become empowered, informed, and equipped to overcome poverty.
Jesus Proclaimed Freedom To The Prisoners
Forward Thinkers Jesus challenged us to visit those in prison. America has gone from the land of the free to the land of the incarcerated. I believe the challenge has now expanded from just visiting the prison to bringing an end to mass incarceration in America. The incarceration rate in the United States of America is the highest in the world.
There are more African Americans in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. According to The Sentencing Project, an advocacy group dedicated to changing how we think about crime and punishment, "More than 80 percent of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. For Black males in their thirties, one in every ten is in prison or jail on any given day."
Forward Thinkers we must build a movement to end mass incarceration and achieve social justice for all, and its going have to be a movement that begins in our churches, in our faith communities, and in our neighborhoods.
Forward Thinkers it’s time we let our collective voices be heard and speak out against the mass incarceration of our people. Jesus would approve this message.
In conclusion, Forward Thinkers, Jesus challenged us to get involved and commit to the movement of social justice for all. We cannot afford to sit around singing and dancing in the comfort of our churches while so many of our brothers and sisters are blind (without vision therefore perishing) and oppressed facing great days of difficulty. We must stand up and take action.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church located, 16711 Ella Blvd. Houston, Texas, 77090. Contact Pastor Deckard at www.ghic.net or via Facebook.