Since I posted this as part of my signature earlier today, I"ve had more than one comment about it, and all but one seem to think it has it's roots in socialist propaganda or similar source from as far back as the turn of the last century, designed to make an subject unpalatable to a freedom- and democracy-loving peoples somewhat digestable. Whether it is or not is irrelevant to me, because (even though I post this in the Politics forum) it isn't about politics. The term social justice does not connote any well-defined meaning but rather has different meanings for different persons. From my Christian perspective, the question is not "What do you (I) mean by 'social justice?' " but rather "How do we implement justice in society?" And more specifically from that Christian perspective, "As Christians, how do we implement justice in a secular society?" Although making an argument for the inherent goodness of free society, including economic freedom, and for the inherent evil of the welfare state, such arguments do not acquit any of us who call ourselves Christian for having fallen short of doing what we could to manifest the Lord's love to the poor, hungry, deprived and alienated. Too often political, economic and social policy questions are examined only from the perspective of the intended outcome - good healthcare for all, college education for all, a strong economy for all. While judging the goodness of a particular policy on the basis of the desired ends seems reasonable, it fails to consider the underlying morality, not of the desired goal, but of the means to achieve the desired goal. An extreme example to make the point: Giving money to those in need seems like a good and reasonable act. How about if that money was acquired by robbing and killing? Again, I am not trying to make any implications other than that most of us would agree that moral consideration of the means are relevant in judging the ends of a particular action or policy. Unfortunately, most public policy debate amounts to little more than demagoguery. There is little if any rational consideration of whether or not the policy could actually achieve or sustain the stated desired outcome, or any consideration of the intrinsic morality of the means to attain the policy goals. Further, little consideration is given to unintended consequences of well-intentioned policies. As an example, the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the domestic "war on poverty" have instead promoted and established poverty, and decimated the traditional family for much of the urban population on welfare. Such questions or concerns, however, are not debated but simply demonized by statements such as these: "You conservatives hate the poor." "You conservatives hate the environment." "You conservatives do nothing but protect the interests of the rich and powerful." A more honest, reasonable, constructive and illuminating discussion would begin with clarifying and understanding the fundamental beliefs underlying not only specific policies, but ideology more generally. Rationally, a person's political, economic and social policy views ought to logically stem from his or her core beliefs and values. Yet many times, a person's political, economic and social policy views fail to coherently connect to their professed beliefs and values. These foundational beliefs and value system form our worldview. Worldview encompasses our existential and moral framework. Worldview is must be based in our expressed faith, not in terms of worship, but rather as an expression of our understanding as to where humanity, and the very universe itself, have come from and where we are going. It must express our understanding of right and wrong. All political, economic and social policy inherently is based in ideology that reflects a particular worldview. There is no "neutral" ideology. For self-described progressives to disqualify political, economic or social policy based in Christian worldview because it is "religious," and to claim that only a secular human worldview can legitimately be incorporated in those policies, is deception, perhaps deliberate, perhaps not. In this sense, my faith cannot possibly be excluded from my views on political, economic or social policy. All ideology and subsequent policy intrinsically reflects this perspective, or, if you wish, bias. The critical debate then becomes which "religion," Judeo-Christian, secular humanism or other embodies truth or, less philosophically, makes for a healthy and successful society. While some might claim that there is no absolute truth, undeniably we do exist, and therefore there is a reality underlying our existence. Others may concede there is such a truth, but would argue that we cannot know the truth and therefore the debate is pointless. While no one can claim absolute understanding of the truth, this does not mean that reasoned, honest and respectful inquiry and debate will not lead us in the direction of a better understanding of the truth. It is in the context of Christian worldview that I make the case for free society and the case against the welfare state. It is in this context that I display that apparently controversial segment of my signature. Social justice is possible from a Judeo-Christian philosophy, and does not entail, endorse, or enforce socialism. Christ was not a socialist. He was, however, a compassionate, loving God-man who was determined to help His people understand that social justice is essential to the principles of Christian life. It is through that compassion and love that the gospel is best preached. Not with taxes. With relationship founded on love.