Social justice is a concept we typically identify with the liberal ideology. The belief held my many progressives is that you’re a victim of societal unfairness in America if you were born outside of this country’s traditional white male power structure. People without that privilege face less opportunity and more discrimination, thus society owes them something extra, and government must be the mechanism to carry out that justice.
What many may not recognize is that conservatives care about social justice too; they just define it differently than liberals. Conservatives don’t typically apply victim status along demographic lines like gender, race, or even economic class. They apply it to individuals who they believe are being singled-out and treated unfairly by society, regardless of their gender, race, or economic class. And instead of relying on government to fix the problem, they step up to the plate and deal with it themselves.
I’ve seen many examples of this over the past few years, the most recent being the fundraising effort put forth for the owners of Memories Pizza.
Memories Pizza, a family-owned restaurant in Indiana, made national headlines earlier this month after telling a local reporter that they would not cater a gay wedding. The statement was in the form of an answer to a hypothetical question (pizza parlors don’t typically cater any kind of wedding) posed by the reporter, in the context of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act state senate bill.
The public reaction was swift and severe. Several liberal media outlets portrayed the owners as bigots, the Yelp business listing for Memories Pizza received an onslaught of negative reviews (bringing their ranking down to a one-star average), and the restaurant was flooded with fake orders and threatening phone calls and social media postings (including death threats). Out of fear for their safety, the owners closed down their restaurant indefinitely, and essentially went in to hiding.
All of this fury came because someone believed that providing a hypothetical service would violate their religious beliefs… It appears the era of the “Coexist” bumper sticker is officially over. Tolerance is now a one-way street, and if you’re not on the left side of that street, you apparently no longer deserve to be tolerated.
As someone who has long been supportive of gay marriage, and disagrees with the views of Memories Pizza’s owners, I was sickened by the backlash directed at them. Thankfully, other conservatives recognized the same social injustice that I did, and took action…
The Blaze’s Dana Loesch helped organize a GoFundMe campaign aimed at raising $25,000 for Memories Pizza to relieve the financial loss the company incurred by having to close its doors. In a show of amazing support, conservatives stepped up and donated over $800,000 to the cause.
Of course, this isn’t the first time conservatives have done this type of thing.
In the wake of the Ferguson riots, they were instrumental in raising funds for business owners whose shops were vandalized by “Hands up, don’t shoot” looters, whose movement ironically stemmed from a false social justice narrative from the left.
Conservatives also raised money for former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson to offset his legal and safety costs, after he was forced to leave his job and career as a law enforcement officer, despite being exonerated of any wrongdoing in the Michael Brown shooting. He was every bit the victim as the Ferguson shop owners.
In 2012, Chick-Fil-A owner Dan Cathy publicly reaffirmed his longtime support for the traditional definition of marriage, and was crucified by the liberal media for it. His company was threatened with massive boycotts, severed business contracts, and city banishment from Democratic mayors. Conservatives clearly recognized a smear-job, which wasn’t difficult considering that Cathy’s position was the same as that publicly held by our very liberal president up until just a few months earlier. On August 1 of that year, conservatives showed up in droves to Chick-Fil-A restaurants across the nation for Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day, and gave the company a record-setting day in sales.
These conservative calls to action drive liberals nuts, especially in the media. They’re interpreted as widespread endorsements of politically-incorrect, archaic thinking that is detrimental to the evolution of society.
What these critics fail to realize, however, is that conservative-style social justice isn’t even necessarily motivated by the support of a specific viewpoint. In many cases, it’s brought on purely out of opposition to the immense damage caused to individuals through slander and unjust narratives that are derived from liberal, knee-jerk sensibilities.
I met some friends for lunch at a Chick-Fil-A restaurant on Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day back in 2012, and I did so as a supporter of gay marriage. From the conversations I overheard going on at other tables, I was far from the only one.
Conservative social justice isn’t about group-think or ideological purity. It’s about supporting those who are unfairly vilified and demonized for simply stating a politically-incorrect opinion, or in some cases, just doing their jobs and trying to make a living. This, of course, begs the question: Why does this have to be a conservative/liberal thing?
It doesn’t, and as I read in a particularly encouraging piece today, it isn’t…
The Huffington Post just ran a column on California businesswoman Courtney Hoffman, who happens to be gay, who recently donated $20 to the Memories Pizza GoFundMe campaign. She did it as an apology for the “hate and intolerance” that has been directed at the owners since they aired their beliefs.
Hoffman added, “If we can remember that differences don’t equal maliciousness, and try to find what we have in common — you know, the ‘ands’ instead of the ‘ors,’ maybe we can move beyond threats of violence and have open discussions of the things that we don’t agree on.”
I don’t know about the rest of you, but that’s the side of the cultural divide I want to be standing on.
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