Exploring the social justice beliefs of Baptist Christians
Social justice is a core value of the social work profession; in recent years it has also has become a topic of debate in many Christian denominations. Yet, researchers know little about how Christian laypersons conceptualize and engage the topic of social justice. In this qualitative study, we explore the beliefs of Baptist Christians in one Texas community in order to better understand how people of faith conceptualize and engage issues of social justice. Drawing on data from nine in-depth interviews with a diverse group of Baptist laypersons, we find that Baptist Christians’ conceptualizations of social justice may be shaped by several factors: race/ethnicity and the experience of racism, Biblical texts or stories including the life of Jesus, family experiences, and congregational leadership. Importantly, we also find that there tends to be a relatively low degree of resonance with the concept of social justice in abstract terms.