Social Justice Question - Is Equity the Same as Equality?

Fire the teachers!!!

In March, an advisory board for Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia called for teachers to be dismissed if they criticize – even in private – equity training. So what could be wrong with “equity training?” Why would anyone, especially teachers, want to criticize an attempt to teach their students to be equitable?

Actually, what we have in play here is another attempt to use trick language to slip in beliefs that are not only un-American, but are anti-Christian as well. Equity sounds a lot like equality, and a lot of people, when they hear the words, basically equate them. Well, they are not the same. Equality is the attempt to make sure everyone has equal opportunity. Equity is the attempt to make sure everyone has the same outcome. There is a MASSIVE difference between the two.

When thinking of the concept of equality, the underlying idea is that everyone should get an equally fair shake. There should not be a multi-tiered system that treats one group of people different from another group – whether it regards the law, education, job opportunities, housing, or any other area. When related to race, it strives for a color-blind society.

Equity, on the other hand, is based on the underlying idea that everyone should receive the same outcome in life. No group should be “privileged” over any other group, so when you have one group of people who, for instance, make more money, resources should be taken from the “haves” and transferred to the “have nots.” When it comes to race, society is looked at and divided up according to racial groups. Based on those racial distinctions, one group (the racially oppressed) should be given certain privilege and priority over other groups (the racial oppressors).

What we have here is two entirely different understandings of reality. The belief in equality is based on biblical beliefs, whereas the belief in equity is a Marxist derivative of atheistic Naturalism.

The Bible’s teaching about man asserts the following beliefs:

  • Man is created in the image of God.
  • All of humanity is descended from one family.
  • The expression of God's purpose for man is directed to all nations.
  • God does not make distinctions between differing groups of people. 

Marxism’s teaching about man asserts these beliefs:

  • There is no God, so man is nothing more than a naturally evolved animal.
  • Humanity evolved from less complex living things.
  • The oppressed in society should have priority over the oppressors (though there is no rationale as to why that should be the case).
  • Distinctions between oppressed and oppressor must be emphasized in order to determine how discrimination should properly be applied.

In explaining the distinction between the two points of view, there are several of important points that need to be emphasized.

  1. When equality is emphasized, there will not be equal outcomes. Different people have different interests, different intellect, different desires, and a host of other differences that are non-material. That is just a fact of human existence. As a result, people choose different life paths for different reasons, and the different life paths result in different outcomes.
  1. When equality is emphasized, a definition of morality is asserted that has an objective basis. This provides for individuals to all be treated by the same standard no matter who they are.
  1. When equity is emphasized, individuals will not be free to pursue the outcome that they wish to pursue. An equity approach focuses almost exclusively on economic and political outcomes. Thus, those who choose a direction in life that might elevate them in some way must be cut down to size by taking resources they produce and redistributing it to others who produce less.
  1. When equity is emphasized, a definition of morality must be used that is completely relative based on the personal preferences of those who hold political power. The rights and desires of the individual are considered to be of no consequence, while the rights of the “oppressed” take priority (and those in power get to arbitrarily define who is in which group).

No, equity and equality are not the same. Equity leads to oppression and unfairness, while equality leads to freedom and fairness.

So why, then, did the advisory board for Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia call for teachers to be dismissed if they criticize equity training? They called for it because they are committed Marxists and believe in the religious doctrines of Marxism. They consider Christian beliefs to be a competing religion.

To be sure, what has happened in Loudoun County is not an isolated occurrence. That very same battle is now occurring all over the country. The current clashes between parents and many different school boards as they clash over the teaching of Critical Race Theory is an expression of this fight.

And Christians ought to be actively engaged in the battle. In doing that, though, there is one important matter to keep in mind. The reason for engaging this battle is not simply to win political points. Underneath the political facade is a spiritual foundation that is even more important – one that represents itself as actual truth. In fighting the political battle, Christians should be using the tools of the Spirit by making plain the true nature of the fight by contrasting the truth with Marxism’s false beliefs. Are we going to be governed by the morality of atheistic relativism, or by the morality of the objective principles God has revealed to mankind in Scripture?




Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.

You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.

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