Injustice for All: Reflections on American Culture and Feelings of Injustice

College-Football-Playoff-Logo-2Many Americans complained about injustice this weekend.

Some felt swells of anger due to the NCAA College Football Playoff committee’s selection of playoff teams on Sunday.  Ohio State, Florida State, Alabama, and Oregon are in.  TCU and Baylor, co-champions of the Big XII Conference, are the first two out.

The final selection sent shock waves through fans of the Big XII. After all, how could the committee select Ohio State over Baylor?  Didn’t they see TCU’s drubbing of Iowa State?  And, Baylor beat TCU 61-58 in the head to head battle!!!!!

Meanwhile, the shooting deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice in 2014 as well as lingering concerns over the Trayvon Martin death in 2012 stir up sentiments of injustice in society and culture for many other Americans.  Some feel equally or more passionate about this level of injustice as the fan with rooting interest in a college football team.

Either way, there is a prevailing sense of injustice in American culture on this day in 2014. And the collective sense of injustice leads this blogger to ponder two important questions about life and culture:

  1. Are certain types of perceived injustice more important and pressing than other types of perceived injustice?  Does a feeling of righteous indignation over the deaths of four men trump the feelings of injustice over rankings in college football?  Some may answer “yes.”  Social liberals, for example, typically privilege political and social injustice as the holiest of pursuits — the exact kind of work with which all reasoned and truly religious people should be concerned.  This perspective might consider a dubious college football ranking system to be a superficial agenda and a distraction from the realities of urban life and community disorder in America.  Proponents of religious liberty, on the other hand, may answer “yes” and privilege religious liberty as a higher priority than any other ideal — including access to healthcare options, wedding industry services, and educational platforms.  While some may answer “no,” we should all be aware that certain perspectives do privilege certain types of injustice and these perspectives exert tremendous influence on the conversations we have in the public square.
  2. What do we make about the common theme of injustice in the course of life? Why do people take to social media to raise awareness about football resumes and police report details?  Why do Americans get so impassioned?  Why does the notion of injustice collectively irk the sense of well-being in American life?  After all, can’t we all just get along?  In justice appears to be an absolute reality of our common existence.  What meaning do we make of this? C.S. Lewis often asked a question in this manner and concluded that our collective awareness of injustice points to the sense we have that this life is not what it should be.  Injustice is the equivalent of a Warning: Engine Trouble light on the dashboard of the human soul, directing our attention to the need for repair.  While some may take issue with this line of teleology, it stands to reason that one plausible answer to the question at hand is that there is a God who exists, who has created every human being with an innate sense of right and wrong.  And, it is precisely when we begin to exercise judgement of right and wrong that we become aware of our need for ultimate justice.  That this world affords us little hope of justice calls us to consider if we were really made for this world…

About Doug Hankins

Although not a Christian in his youth, Doug came to believe in Jesus during his teenage years. When not playing sports or pastoring Doug is probably spending time with his wife, reading a good book, or drinking some hot tea. Doug's first book Dawson Trotman: In His Own Words is available wherever books are sold. You can follow Doug on twitter.
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