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Book Review: Charity Work and Social Justice by Massaro, T. and Wogaman, P.J.

Updated on March 1, 2013

Charity Work and Social Justice

Dating back to the early years, the society has never been a fair ground for everyone. Many are the ones who have been subjected to various forms of abuse with others benefitting. The inequality in the society was and is still the reason for the worldwide campaigns for charity work and social justice. The church and the society in general have come out to see to it that vices are eradicated and virtues embraced for the general good of society.

According to Massaro, T. all members of society should work hand in hand in ensuring that social justice and charity work are given key interest (p 1). According to him, devotion of a portion of ones life in showing compassion to the less privileged in society is highly moral.

Massaro, T. asserts that charity work is one done out of selflessness with the doer not expecting any gain but only to express his or her feelings of compassion (p1). This means that the person in question should come out to voluntarily do the work. A lawyer fresh from law school is an example in this case. The lawyer manages to neglect all the opportunities for good payment to help a group of refugees stuck in legal matters. The refugees could only be helped after presenting their plights formally through a legal hearing. The lawyer makes a critical decision of becoming their advocate without expecting any gain.

The society should be ready to offer a variety of generous services to the needy with an aim of improving social justice. Massaro, T. argues that it is better for one to engage in a low paying activity or even a non- profitable one in case it is an activity which can change other peoples lives positively (p40). He therefore prefers public service attorney to a corporate lawyer and administrators of non-profit organizations to corporate executives.

Justice is also crucial for peaceful existence of people in a society. The over taxation of the rich in the society is an example of an injustice. Massero, T. suggests that the rich should enjoy the efforts of their hard work (p1). They should therefore not be subjected to confiscatory taxation which makes their lives uncomfortable despite their high income. It is ironic that instead of these people being appreciated for their intelligence in investment, they are exposed to a form of punishment.

Religion plays an important role in motivating charity and the work of justice (Massero, T. p5). Christianity encourages people to be moved by other people’s grievances. Through Christianity, people believe that it is God’s will to show empathy. Christians also believe that showing compassion to the less fortunate is another way of spreading the gospel of love. The gospel is clear in the fact that no one can love God who he or she have never seen yet the person in question hates his or her neighbor is seen everyday (Massero, T. p6).

Massero, T. argues that different faiths have come up with religiously motivated charity work organizations and being in charge of all their operations (p50). The Covenant House and Salvation Army are examples of charity organizations which have come up to offer assistance to the less fortunate in society. Some charity organizations have only been inspired by religion but are not dominated by the same. This is the case with organizations like Interfaith Worker and Witness of Peace. This critical role of religion has seen to it that the world is made a better place even for the needy.

Some churches especially the Catholic Church have in recent past become vocal in the governance of nations. They have therefore been pushing for the adjustment of budget priorities and civil laws so that everyone can benefit and live a comfortable life. Massero, T. insinuates that religion has highly motivated the need for a just society (p 12).

Massero, T. confirms that the Roman Catholic Church had contradicting thoughts with the protestant churches in terms of combating issues of injustice. Catholic Church in the earlier days put much effort on charity activities to act as a drive to its social mission. It therefore came up with organizations which provided charity works all over the world. The church offered health services to the victims of wars and other less fortunate people through these organizations.

Protestants being represented by Dr. Luther king were not victim oriented but rather problem oriented. According to Massero, T. the Protestants argued that it was better for the root cause of the problem to be identified and dealt with appropriately instead of playing the victim assistor part (p14). Dr. Luther in his sermon relating to the parable of Good Samaritan does not give much attention to the role played by the Samaritan. He instead insists that the authorities could have prevented any victimization in that part of Jericho by putting up an organization to provide security in the region.

According to Wogaman, P.J. Christian ethics and the issues related to it called for the intervention of many scholars since scriptures relating to ethics were viewed differently (p27). According to him, there have been misinterpretations of the rich displayed in the bible. Clement of Rome argues that Christian ethics does not bar one from being rich as many people interpret the parable. It is the mentality that one has towards wealth that determines his or her relationship with God. Those who value wealth to an extent of worshipping it are the ones going against Christian ethics.

Trying to tackle the issue of gender abuse, Wogaman, P.J. puts it that even though men are the head, women should work closely with them (p31). In the writings by Clement of Rome, Men are brought out to represent Christ while women represent the church. These representations only show us how holy these two people are. They are therefore forced to work closely together for a general success. The argument here does not support equity of the two genders but only proposes that they work closely together.

Christians categorizes war into three distinct perspectives (Wogaman, P.J. p32). Roland Bainton in his argument says that says that the three categories constitute pacifism, the just war and the crusade. He says that pacifism puts up conditions under which a war should be rejected. In the just war part, the conditions under which a war should be accepted are put forward. Lastly, the crusade is a war on people who are against God.

In conclusion, it is recommendable to say that charity work and social justice have been highly motivated by religion. In spite of theological differences among different faiths, the issues of social justice and charity works always bring these faiths together.


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