The term “social justice warrior” has taken on a negative connotation in contemporary conversation. Urban dictionary defines a social justice warrior this way:
A person who uses the fight for civil rights as an excuse to be rude, condescending, and sometimes violent for the purpose of relieving their frustrations or validating their sense of unwarranted moral superiority. The behaviors of Social justice warriors usually have a negative impact on the civil rights movement, turning away potential allies and fueling the resurgence of bigoted groups that scoop up people who have been burned or turned off by social justice warriors.
As Christians, we are admonished to be warriors for social justice. (Mt. 25:31-46 NAB) We are not only to demand justice for our fellowman, but to work for it. We are called to WILL it, not merely to want it. So what do Christians me an by social justice? The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops gives us a beautiful outline that includes the dignity of the human person, rights of workers, social responsibility, solidarity with all people but especially the poor and suffering, care for creation, and the rights of family and community – all of the things that this apostolate strives to work for.
We must not allow our frustrations with the challenges and obstacles to make us rude, condescending, and most definitely not violent. We must with humility and love – remembering Whose will we are doing. We must will the good of opponents by shining a light on true Christianity, so that they will come to know the joy of the Gospel. If we use kind words, if we speak eloquently in the Truth, only then will we evangelize. Only then will we have a chance to win justice for ourselves and for all.