Canadians Heartless Armchair Critics Uninterested in Social Justice?

If you could, would you not extend a helping hand to the single moms, the homeless, the hungry, the unstable, choosing life over death?

When given the choice between life and death, Canadians seem to be overwhelming in favour of blowing somebody up. When given the choice of spending 1 million tax payer dollars versus saving the life of a Canadian, we seem to opt for the million.

Although these examples are a bit crass and perhaps an inaccurate reflection of every Canadian, I have noticed a disturbing trend lately reading Canadian comments on news stories that are in anyway remotely connected to terrorism or situations that involve Canadians being victimized. Regardless of what’s happening around the world, the solution 90% of the time is: kill more people, blow something up that’s bigger, abandon, and ensure big problems far away from home stay far, far away.

Call it a generational thing, call it a reflection of our desensitized society, call it what you want because it really doesn’t matter. My observation is when it comes to the inequality we see across the globe there is no equality for humanity. If you commit an injustice that hits the news then apparently you deserve to die.

There’s something very wrong with the direction of our Canadian culture and it’s disgusting to watch it unfold. Still don’t know what I’m talking about? Here are some examples about what I mean.

Recently a Canadian journalist who went to work for a French media outlet who sent her to Somalia was capture. Well it wasn’t recently, she’s been captured for months, but recently some information came out of her whereabouts. The comments on her situation were simple: she got what she deserved, and as a Canadian we have no business helping her out.

I know choices are important, but why are we so quick to renounce others who are caught in a jam?

Or take the Somalian pirates. They steal boats for money. It’s the only way to make a living after their country has been ransacked from, one of many things, repeated colonization attempts. Still, the solution to deal with pirates is to send it bigger guns and kill them all (not sure how you can tell a pirate from a regular dude though.)

Yet again, we have injustices on a huge scale when it comes to basic things such as food. 1 Billion hungry. That’s the population of Calgary times 1000–the amount the UN recently counted. Does anybody care about 1 billion people hungry? Or are we too busy throwing away food to be connected into the issue?

People are hungry here in Calgary too. Should we get connected in spreading around our wealth or figuring out solutions to injustices? Or do we assume that hungry people are lazy people and, “if they only worked a little harder,” then they’d have something to eat?

Or how about closer to home, the closing of one of the two methadone clinics in Calgary. They had to relocate late last year. They found a place but the community said, ‘no way’. They got a temporary stay but had to eventually leave cause they aren’t ‘wholesome’ enough. Once they moved into the right place (correct zone) the landlord locked the doors on them! The businesses and the new community didn’t want them either!

Apparently communities in Calgary don’t suffer from addictions. (Methadone clinics don’t house people on drugs, they help people to get off.) For some reason, although we’re all affected by addiction somewhere within the family or friends network, because this one public and visible it lost it’s approval to exist. (I believe they ARE in their new location after both parties went to court.)

Are Calgarians really this uninterested in helping other people? What’s shocking and surprising about the whole situation is that I know people are, somewhere deep down inside, at least a LITTLE bit concerned about social injustices. It just seems that so long as it’s at arms length then we can safely escape the reality of injustice.

But is that really the solution? Do we fix things but turning the blind eye or expecting someone else to do something about the problems in another location?

Maybe we are just too embarrassed to admit we don’t have a clue how to engage in an issue that hurts us all. Maybe we’re too disconnected from injustice to comprehend its destruction. Or then again, maybe we’re acutely aware of injustice because it happens to close to us, maybe even to you and I individually.

So what’s the answer? How are we going to help our city? I’m positive that given the right opportunities people will rally around turning wrongs into rights.

For additional reading on the subject of Christian social justice here are some additional resource from Calgary Church: Two part podcast series: part 1, part 2; two part article series: part 2, part 1.