Mormons and Social Justice

What do Mormons teach about social justice?According to a site run by liberal Mormons (and yes, there are liberal Mormons), quite a bit:"Liberals in many religious traditions use the expressions "social justice" or "peace and justice" to refer to their faith-based activism around issues such as poverty, discrimination, exploitation of workers, war, or the environment. Social justice is more than charitable aid. It means working for change in how the human family organizes itself politically and economically.Although not so well known, Mormonism, too, has a social justice tradition. Latter-day revelation enjoins the Saints to "plead the cause of the poor and the needy"(D&C 124:75). The Book of Mormon echoes the social justice teachings of the Hebrew prophets, warning that the Lord will bring judgment on those who "oppress the hireling in his wages"(3 Ne. 24:5). Rejecting distinctions by race or gender, God requires that "there should be an equality among all"(2 Ne. 26:33; Mosiah 27:3). The scriptures commend democracy and constitutional law as means to protect human rights(Mosiah 29:26; D&C 98:5; 101:77), while condemning inequity, exploitation, and violence(2 Ne. 20:1-2; D&C 38:26; Moses 8:28). The Saints are challenged to renounce war and proclaim peace(D&C 98:16). We are taught that God has made human beings stewards of the earth, with a charge to use its resources equitably, with judgment, not to excess(D&C 59:20; 104:14-18)."It seems to be topic of increasing interest in more mainstream venues as well. 

Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.

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