Jussie Smollett turned himself in to police last month after the “Empire” actor was slammed with felony charges for disorderly conduct and filing a false police report. In a sad attempt to boost his career and advance a false social justice narrative, Smollett lost his high-paying job and was exposed as a fraud.
Despite what has unraveled ever since Smollett fabricated a hate crime involving MAGA-hat-wearing, anti-LGBT assailants, actress Ellen Page and others have highlighted a prominent view held by those who adhere to social justice ideology: truth can be bent or totally disregarded in pursuit of the desired outcome.
For people like Smollett, who is black and gay, and Page, an outspoken lesbian, the ultimate goal is to call out perceived inequalities and injustices against people like them, identify those responsible for said injustice (in Smollett’s case, the nonexistent gay-hating, racist Trump supporters), and fight to deprive the guilty parties of power and influence in society.
Back in January, Page addressed the still-unfolding Smollett reports on Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show.”
The actress did not hesitate to cast blame on the Trump administration, focusing particularly on Vice President Mike Pence, who has been outspoken on his religious opposition to same-sex marriage. She claimed it was “impossible to not be fired up” with the current political climate in America.
“It feels impossible not to feel this way right now with the president and the Vice President Mike Pence, who wishes I could not be married, let’s just be clear,” an emotional Page said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “The vice president of America wishes I didn’t have the love with my wife. He wanted to ban that in Indiana, he believes in conversion therapy, he has hurt LGBTQ people so badly as the governor of Indiana.”
Then, last month, Page made headlines after she called out fellow actor Chris Pratt on Twitter for attending a church that affirms the biblical teaching on marriage.
“Being anti LGBTQ is wrong, there aren’t two sides,” she wrote. “The damage it causes is severe. Full stop. Sending love to all.”
Sticking to the social justice script
After Smollett’s reported hate crime turned out to be a total farce, Page did not appear to change her tune. In fact, she highlighted the potential good that could come from the non-incident.
“The conversation around Jussie Smollett has led us all to examine hate violence and its implications and aftermath. I had no reason to doubt Jussie,” Page wrote in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter.
In her piece, titled, “Hate Violence Is Not a Hoax,” the actress pleaded with readers not to let a single false report distract them from the “very real, endemic violence that LGBTQ+ people, people of color and other underrepresented communities face every day.”
“I ask you not to question our pain, not to draw into question our trauma, but to maintain, wholeheartedly, that hate violence exists,” she wrote. “The merits of one case should not and cannot call that into question. The media coverage does not convey the reality and totality of the cruelty and danger we face. This is the story that must be told.”
In other words, though Smollett’s particular experience ended up being a total sham, it contained believable elements, and can therefore contribute to the cause of underrepresented or “disadvantaged” groups.
College journalist Victoria Valenzuela reiterated Page’s stance in her March 4 piece for the DU Clarion titled, “I Support Jussie Smollett, No Apologies.”
“We shouldn’t let all of the controversy surrounding this story detract from other stories of hate,” she wrote. “It’s unfortunate that something like this has to happen for us to acknowledge these injustices but at least now, we can reflect upon the facts.”
Ironically, people who adhere to this view seem vastly uninterested in the “facts.”
The end justifies the means
In a frank discussion following the Smollett controversy, “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts, who interviewed the “Empire” actor shortly before the hoax unraveled, described her reluctance to get involved in the pending case.
“All I wanted was to get to the truth,” Roberts told a group of reporters Monday at an event hosted by “The Cut” magazine. “All I wanted was to give the truth.”
Roberts, who is also black and identifies as gay, went on to reveal how social justice identity politics presented a dilemma that threatened to impede her pursuit of truth.
“He’s saying that it was a hate crime,” she said. “So if I’m too hard on him, then people in my LGBTQ community are going, ‘Oh, you don’t believe him.’ If I’m too light on him, then it’s like, ‘Oh, because you are in the community, you’re giving him a pass.’ So it was, like, it was a no-win situation for me.”
Let’s be clear: This is textbook social justice logic. According to this faulty method of moral reasoning, identity is God — an idol before which everything must bow.
As pastor and scholar Dr. Voddie Baucham explained at the Sovereign Nations “Social Justice & The Gospel” conference earlier this year, mainstream social justice ideology holds that a group deemed “disadvantaged” (LGBT, black, Latino, women, etc.) is never to blame for its own problems — the group is perpetually the victim, always to be believed and sympathized with.
It is only when one considers the aims of social justice that the strange reactions to the Smollett controversy begin to make a great deal of sense.
“Queerphobia/transphobia is violence perpetrated on our children, our families, our friends and neighbors and the forgotten among us who have no voice,” Page concluded her column (which, again, began with her addressing the Smollett hoax). “We all have to work together to end the normalization of anti LGBTQ+ sentiment and rhetoric.”
So when a person fabricates a story that paints Trump supporters as evil, racist bigots, the takeaway, according to social justice ideology, should be that we need fight against the “violence” of people like Mike Pence, Chris Pratt, and others whose values conflict with the social justice narrative. Smollett lied, but he lied for a cause, and for that, the social justice camp absolves him of all sin.
As Christians, we know that truth and justice are compatible goods that reflect the nature of God himself. Given this, any ideology that ignores this cannot properly be called “just.”