Social justice is something that God has broken my heart for. Before the breaking, social justice was something that I saw as sad but I did not see it as my responsibility. So when the flood of conviction came there was no other option than to be wholly devoted to it.
Scripture talks about "the age of accountability" and there is much speculation and debate about what age that is but basically it's when you're able to reason and understand right an wrong, the time when you are no longer ignorant and are held to account.
Scripture also says that it is a sin to know what you ought to do and not do it. Therefore, someone who has reached that level of accountability can do something, that is necessarily not disobeying a commandment, but if they know it's wrong in their heart and do it anyway then they are sinning.
So we can take all of that and apply it to matters of social justice, in fact, we must because all throughout Scripture there are hundreds upon hundreds of commands and teachings on how to live justly; on how we're to care for the widow, the orphan, the sojourner, the poor and needy, etc. I believe that there is a point of accountability that comes into play here as well because back in the times all of this was written the unjust treatment of such people was common and it would have been known to them, but today in our Western society we are almost completely oblivious to those kind of things because, in our minds, they're taken care of or they simply don't exist (to our knowledge). But the point at which you cross the line from honest and true ignorance to knowing then you are accountable.
Now I'm not so much addressing those who know nothing of social justice issues and who genuinely do not know, but rather I'm addressing those who do know and who (for lack of a better word) half-ass it.
I think that it's awesome that people are becoming more aware and are changing how they live; it's a gruesome process to go from knowing nothing to then go to knowing so much and dealing with the guilt of purchases and ignorance. I think that it's worthy of honor and praise that people are doing things about these issues, speaking out against them, and taking a stand in whatever way they know how. I don't dare discourage or put down anyone who is trying! The one who is out rescuing sex slaves is of no greater value or importance than the one who is praying for them back at home!
Now that I've said that and made all of that clear, I'll get to the point I'm trying to make. What confuses/disturbs/bothers me is seeing people who profess to stand for social justice and yet deliberately ignore what they know to be wrong. The woman who knows that people are exploited by coffee manufacturers yet she continues to buy coffee she knows is not fairly traded. The man who knows that people are enslaved by cocoa companies and yet he continues to buy their chocolate. The girl who knows that the clothes she's putting in her cart were made by people in a sweat shop and yet she still carries them to the check out line.
It's almost impossible to know if something is truly fair. Say you want to buy a shirt, the company may pay it's workers who sewed the shirt a fair wage and they may give them fair housing and treat them well but what about the people who harvested the cotton? What of the people who made the fabric? There are so many links in the chain that it makes it so incredibly difficult to truly know. But that doesn't mean we give up. We're accountable for what we know. Being unwilling to find out more and to listen isn't right either; if you avoid truth just to avoid being held accountable to it; do you not also think that you will be held accountable for that avoidance?
I'm not saying it's easy, I'm not saying it's cheap either, but if you are going to stand and profess that you are taking a stand against injustice then do it with all your heart letting your yes be yes and your no be no.