Christian Social Justice Advocate: Contradiction or Legacy?

By Edwards, Cher N. | Counseling and Values, April 2012 | Go to article overview

Christian Social Justice Advocate: Contradiction or Legacy?


Edwards, Cher N., Counseling and Values


In this article, the relationship between Christian religiosity and the principles of social justice is explored, including the sociopolitical aspects of faith and advocacy, A particular emphasis is placed on the historical legacy and theological relationships between Christianity and social justice. The author concludes with a call for increasingly overt and intentional social justice work among counselors who self-identify as Christian.

**********

The multicultural counseling literature encourages professional counselors to be mindful of their worldviews and how they influence the counseling process and relationship (D. W. Sue & Sue, 2008). The worldviews of counselors are affected by their collective experiences and influenced by various aspects of the person, including, but not limited to, gender, sex, race/ ethnicity, socioeconomic status, ability, sexual/affectional orientation, and spiritual or religious perspective. Several of these experiences and statuses are readily associated with the role of advocacy in counselors' professional lives.

Despite Christianity's history of persecution and oppression when early Christians were brutally killed, in recent years, this group has become increasingly privileged. For example, Christian traditions and values dominate holidays observed by business, industry, and education in the United States, and in most states it is difficult to be elected for political office if one is not Christian (Schlosser, 2003). In its privileged state (Blumenfeld, 2006; Fairchild, 2009; Juarez, Smith, & Hayes, 2008; Schlosser, 2003; Schlosser & Sedlacek, 2003; Seifert, 2007; Stewart & Lozano, 2009), Christianity is sometimes viewed as an unlikely religion to associate with social justice activism. All counselors are held to expectations of social justice advocacy as evidenced through the endorsement of the American Counseling Association Advocacy Competencies (Lewis, Arnold, House, & Toporek, 2002; Toporek, Lewis, & Crethar, 2009). For some, this mandate is congruent with what they perceive as the foundation of the Christian faith, whereas others may find it contradictory to what they view as their Christian values. In this article, I explore the relationship between the Christian faith and principles of social justice, as well as the sociopolitical aspects of faith and advocacy.

Biblical scholars trace the roots of social justice to Mesopotamian culture. Nardoni (2004) argued that Christianity is based in the history of and commitment to social justice as evidenced throughout the Bible. An example provided is the following scripture:

Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them. So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. (Ecclesiastes 4:1-2, New International Version; note that all biblical references are to this version)

Further emphasizing that those with privilege have a responsibility to social justice are the words of Christ's apostle Luke: "To whom much is given, much will be required" (Luke 12:48). Along with this statement of responsibility comes the acknowledgment of the current state of Christianity as a privileged group (Blumenfeld, 2006; Fairchild, 2009; Juarez et al., 2008; Schlosser, 2003; Schlosser & Sedlacek, 2003; Seifert, 2007; Stewart & Lozano, 2009). Acknowledging the foundation of the Christian faith begs the question, are Christians living up to their legacy?

Despite the history of oppression and theological underpinnings of Christianity and social justice, criticism exists about the notion of Christians as social justice advocates. Literature points to this less favorable perspective, citing that "traditional Western religious organizations such as Christianity . …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Christian Social Justice Advocate: Contradiction or Legacy?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.