The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.Proverbs 29:7
I’ve just watched this Triggernometry interview with Dr Ella Hill. She is a medical doctor and a grooming gang survivor. I think it’s a hugely important interview and I wish everyone would watch it, or at least the first part of it.
A few weeks ago I wrote about Black Lives Matter and consistency, and in that post I mentioned the victims of these grooming gangs. In the video here they make the very same point: why is it that most of the ‘woke’ social media crowd are up in arms about systemic racism in society, pulling down statues etc, and yet are doing precious little about the 500,000 victims of grooming gangs in the UK?
As Ella Hill pointed out in the video, the crimes committed against her were racially and religiously motivated. Her abusers constantly made reference to her whiteness. Grooming gangs function because they see white women as easy prey and justify what they do because these women do not have moral standards (‘if they are not covered head-to-toe they are asking to be raped’).
Why is it that people will ‘take the knee’ publicly in support of BLM, even the Archbishop of Canterbury (plus many other bishops and clergy) will talk about the need for deep repentance when it comes to racism (or rather, a particular kind of racism), but when it comes to these girls who have been raped – nothing?
Justice should be justice for all
This seems to me a matter of basic justice. It shouldn’t be a matter of identity politics. Where are the people in power standing up for those who have been abused? Where are the cries for justice for them?
In a similar vein, when a Islamist man killed three people at a park in Reading last month, where was the public outcry? Why is it that it’s only certain kinds of terror attacks that get the Twitter crowd going – when it’s the ‘right’ kind of perpetrator?
This, at the heart, is my problem with ‘woke’-ness and this kind of identity politics. They may claim to be “social justice warriors” but they don’t really care about justice – or at least, they don’t care about it enough. Justice, if it is to be proper justice, is to be justice for all. Justice for some is not justice. It reminds me of the famous quote from George Orwell’s Animal Farm: “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” Equality, fairness, and justice must mean treating all people equally.
Of course, we can’t fight every battle, and I wouldn’t expect everyone to. But our society at the moment – even the church – will consistently fight particular battles but not others. Our bishops will queue up to criticise Dominic Cummings for breaking Lockdown rules (for example), but will make absolutely no noise when an amendment is tabled to the domestic abuse bill to relax controls on abortion.
Stephen Cottrell, my former diocesan bishop (recently made Archbishop of York), recently said Jesus was black. He talks about racial inequality – and I’m sure certain sections of the media will applaud him for saying it – but he doesn’t talk about this particular inequality.
Christianity and Justice
It seems clear to me: we should stand up for truth and justice wherever they need to be stood for. even if it’s not ‘politically correct’ or convenient. The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about righteousness and justice, I quoted it at the start: “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” (Proverbs 29:7).
If we only care about justice for people who it’s fashionable to care about (e.g. BLM), then we don’t really care about justice. There’s a slogan which is popular among certain crowds at the moment: “Silence is violence”. I think there is a grain of truth in it. If we don’t speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves, who will? As the Bible says:
The Lord works righteousnessPsalm 103:6
and justice for all the oppressed.
ALL the oppressed. Not just the ones it’s fashionable to show your support for.
Overcoming evil with good
What impressed me about the interview was Ella’s Christian faith. She quoted Jesus “Love your enemies” (strangely enough, also quoted by Laurence Fox in his Triggernometry Interview) and said she loved those who had abused her.
Earlier on today I happened across this verse from Romans 12: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” And this is the solution, the only solution, to the problem.
The government seems to think that telling the truth will lead to an outbreak in anti-Muslim hate crimes. I think that’s why this is being hushed up, apparently a report is due which was supposed to be published but wasn’t. It seems to me that the reality is that hushing the truth up only feeds the far-right. There are those whose response will be hate – but hushing things up will not help, and in fact the ones who want to hate already do.
By contrast, what we need to do is expose the truth. Justice, as we have seen already, must be done! But, at the end of the day, as Christians we have weapons which work at a far deeper level than the ‘woke’, who can only point, accuse, and ‘cancel’. We must never overcome evil with evil; rather, we must overcome evil with love.
That’s the only thing which will actually work. More and more I come back to this when I see the terrible injustices happening in our society. The only thing which ultimately will make a difference and heal us – both as individuals but as a society as well – is the grace of God in Christ Jesus.
At the cross, we see justice done: Christ died on the cross for our sins. The wrath of God was satisfied, the price was paid. And yet, we also see mercy: Christ dying in place of sinners. Stuart Townend’s song “How Deep the Father’s Love” puts it like this:
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart –
His wounds have paid my ransom.
There is a hope for our society, there is a hope for justice, and it ultimately it is found on an ancient hill outside Jerusalem.