MN Candidate John Marty and Martin E. Marty: Social Justice, Religion and Politics

At the recent Faith, Politics, and Social Justice: A Conversation event, Dr. Martin E. Marty spoke first, defining social justice as:

“social”, meaning you’re not alone in the world

and

“justice”, meaning the opposite of “injustice.”

He also said social justice can be found on just about every page of the Bible, but you don’t have to be religious to be socially just.

Doctor Marty told a story about his son, John, who was interested in social justice at a very young age.   One of his John’s Sunday school teachers had been quite upset about John’s absurd report that he had spent a week with Martin Luther.  Martin Marty had to tell her it wasn’t Martin Luther, but instead was Dr. Martin Luther King. John Marty was outdoors playing at a conference, and Martin Luther King came out and joined the children.

John Marty himself spoke next, and related how he remembered one of his brother’s friends had said, “they finally got that nigger”.  John had been shocked that someone had thought Dr. King didn’t even have a right to live.  It’s one of the things that spurred him into a life of service.

John Marty, candidate for Minnesota governor, has essentially led the pack on health care reform for twenty years.   As a Minnesota Senator, Marty has stood strong, fought for his district, and won election after election.  He believes politics is about compromise, but the compromise should happen in the strategic talk and not in what we value.  John Marty values a society where the sick can afford to get better, the jobless can get help back on their feet so they can contribute, and fiscally responsible leadership.  John Marty values a socially just society.

Perhaps the story of Luke’s Lazarus can teach us about “social justice”.  In Luke 16:19-31, a poor, sick Lazarus sat outside a rich man’s gate and longed for crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.  We would have seen “social justice” if the rich man had worked to overcome the injustice, or unfairness, of his society so there were no beggars living on the street.  At the very least, the rich man might have done well to offer Lazarus a donation.

John Marty believes we’ll need to do many things to fix our current economic downtrend, including making contributions to the needy and also asking our government to work hard for us.  It’s not charitable donations alone or government by itself that will fix our current problems. We have an individual responsibility to help others but it is also important that we have a government which provides assistance to the jobless, the sick, and the homeless.

Here is John Marty talking about taxes, government, and how we’re all in this together:

(Audio below) I mean when people say I don’t get anything from government.I don’t want to pay taxes, too.  Roads?  What are we going to do, each pay for our roads we want to drive on?  I’ll pay for the property in front of my house?  We’d have a weird system when we’re done.  Even the wealthiest people in our society do best when everybody’s thriving.  “We all do better when we all do better”,  Paul Wellstone said.  It’s even from a purely economic point of view we’re all in this, together.”

On your phone and can’t get the player to work? Try this direct link to the .mp3

Here is John Marty talking about the next steps in health care reform to get the job done:

(Audio below) If there are 20,000 people still dying from lack of health care we ought to be angry about it, so, yes, I see the Federal thing [HCR bill] as a big step forward but it doesn’t address the concerns about the cost and it doesn’t the other issues and the idea that if we treat health care the way the universal declaration of human rights that our nation did sign sixty years ago where everybody has a right to health care like they have a right to public education, like they have the right to public safety… if you go home tonight to find your home is burglarized, call 911, the police dispatcher doesn’t t ask you if you have police insurance…  the Federal change is historic, is major…  it will cover 31 million people, but the goal should be to cover everyone.”

On your phone and can’t get the player to work? Try this direct link to the .mp3

update 3/30/2010:  Image added
update 6/26/2010: Direct link added

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