Have you heard about this?
From this post on Politics Daily:
On his daily radio and television shows last week, Fox News personality Glenn Beck set out to convince his audience that “social justice,” the term many Christian churches use to describe their efforts to address poverty and human rights, is a “code word” for communism and Nazism. Beck urged Christians to discuss the term with their priests and to leave their churches if leaders would not reconsider their emphasis on social justice.
“I’m begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”
Later, Beck held up cards, one with a hammer and sickle and other with a swastika. “Communists are on the left, and the Nazis are on the right. That’s what people say. But they both subscribe to one philosophy, and they flew one banner. . . . But on each banner, read the words, here in America: ‘social justice.’ They talked about economic justice, rights of the workers, redistribution of wealth, and surprisingly, democracy.”
Dear Mr. Beck – with all due respect, this was an incredibly idiotic thing to say, and even more so to actually believe.
Does Acts 2:42-47 look like Communism to you? If so, then I’m happy to be a Communist. Do all the Bible passages that allude to the early followers of Jesus’ work and concern with the poor wreak of Nazism to you? If so, then I’m happy to be a Nazi.
Do you realize that “social justice” is defined differently depending on who you talk to? That the term “economic justice” means different things to different people, viewpoints varying widely from church to church and member to member?
Your comments were irresponsible and stupid.
Neither the American political machine (regardless of your chosen brand) nor Democracy is God – Jesus is. He cares for the poor and the outcast, and He’s shaking His head at you right now.
Thanks to @seanpalmer for bringing this to my attention.
Well, if that’s what he wants to believe it is … then I’m guilty as charged.
Someone needs to tell him that there’s a HUGE difference between free churches taking care of people, pooling their money, and preaching social justice in Christ than the government preaching whatever it does in order to squelch the freedom of the churches. Last I checked, churches were not connected to the government, but are rather protected by the Constitution, and even in the most hard-line politically conservative view, are the ones who are SUPPOSED to do this job in the government’s place– along with other free, non-government orgs who choose to join in. Duh?
Yeah, me too Trey.
Toethumbs – good points. To be fair, there are some liberal churches and Christian authors highly involved in left-wing politics that probably ARE promoting unhealthy ideas and calling them “Bible,” but those churches and authors are rare and in the minority. For Beck to 1) neglect to define exactly what he means by “social justice,” and 2) make an overarching accusation that any church with the term “social justice” on their website should be labeled Communist or Nazi is just ridiculous.
He ought to retract this statement.
To most people I know, social justice simply means taking care of the poor. Nothing more, nothing less.
It’s just the latest in a string of one million idiotic, ignorant, and fear-mongering statements from Glenn Beck. Nothing to see here, move along.
There is a bigger picture issue here that also concerns me. Because Fox news is equated with Gospel-like truth in the minds of many followers of Christ, these kinds of statements have the potential to mislead and confuse Christians (I think many would agree that conservative Christians make up the majority of their viewers). Don’t get me wrong, sometimes Fox news has great points, as do other stations as well, but Fox has been one of the pioneers of a new era in news media, the “personal opinion promulgators” (my term for it). Instead of news being focused on facts, as was once the standard in the industry, now the focus is on the apparent wisdom and persuasion of the speaker (e.g. Bill O’Reilly). This is dangerous and demonstrates where our culture is headed and where it will take Christians if we don’t stay rooted in Christ. We need to remind each other that “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him” (1 Cor. 1:27-29) Amen!
Trevor, “personal opinion promulgation” is not new. ABC, CBS, NBC-all have engaged in it for decades. They just never owned up to it. It was inserted into “news reporting”. Their opinions were reflected in what stories they did or did not cover, how they did or did not cover those stories, on who was allowed to speak in the stories, the words chosen in the stories,etc. Its called bias. I spent almost a decade in the TV news business, and I saw how opinion was inserted into news all day long, without the honesty of informing the viewer what was fact or opinion. FOX News does a great job in labeling opinion “opinion”. And for all the hysteria of right wing bias in their actual news reporting, you find contrived and out of context evidence to support the claim. But what really sets FOX News apart is the f-a-c-t that they present BOTH sides of an issue in 99% of what they do. I think Beck is the only show they have with no guests or opposing viewpoints presented. That’s one program out of how many? I think its the other networks who are dangerous. Time and again they get busted promoting hoaxes, false stories-and they definitely provide one sided reporting. At least with FOX opinion is labeled as such, and they have enough debate for people to see both sides of an issue.
Thanks for sounding off, Cary. I’m afraid you may be right.
Trevor – it is very interesting the shape the news media has taken today, huh? Great Scripture too!
Trevor is absolutely correct and these statements by Glenn Beck are just one example of how fear is being used to drive political agendas.
What bothers me is that I have visited with a few Christians whose Bible’s remain dusty in their home yet continuously have these opiniated news shows running constantly and it is not surprising that they always wanted to talk about the political issue of the day rather than how God has been at work.
Here is the real question that must be addressed: Will Christians allow life to be shaped by Jesus or by the political pundants of the day?
Grace and peace,
Thanks for driving it home Rex! That’s the question I pray will be the end result of this discussion. After all, whenever a discussion can end at the foot of the cross God wins!…….And he will always win in the end. I am convinced that God knows judo. Just as a judo expert can use the offensive force of his opponent against him, God can take something seemingly sad, bad, ugly, stupid, disastrous, ect. and turn it into something good. All of us who were reborn are a testament to that!
Yes, thank you Rex 🙂
Thanks for posting this, Wes. I spoke out against Beck’s simplistic generalization in other places but never got around to blogging about it. For Fox to claim a “fair and balanced” motto, they certainly were neither on this matter. Beck is right to push back against the decline in our country, but he defeats his purpose by making irrational statements like he did in opposing “social justice.” As you pointed out, those words don various meanings depending on who speaks them. It’s like saying anyone who loves their mom is risking being incestuous. He needs to tone down the rhetoric, but I guess sensationalism sells. He never was this extreme when he was on CNN; I wonder why Fox doesn’t reign him in.
I said something about this on my own blog (yes that is a shameless plug :-)) but it used to be common to hear Christians speak about having their Bibles out during the sermon so that, like the Bereans, we could make sure the preacher’s sermon was congruent with God’s will. Maybe it is time that Christians start watching these news shows with their Bibles open as well.
Grace and peace,
What Glen said was partially true. There are many churches with Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, United Church, Congregational, etc on the door that teach Government run healthcare is good, abortion is needed, anyform of sexual aberation is fine, etc. In other words they are sucked into the godless “progressive” mindset. These are the churches he is talking about. Unfortunately Glen does not know how to differenciate in the protestant world. Much of what he is saying is right on target. For many who have sucked in everything their secular, or even in some cases Christian college professors have fed them, are now blinded to considering that much of what they were fed at school and other media is hogwash.
There is certainly fear mongering going on – such as global warming doom, 30+ million without health care access, etc. I don’t think Fox is involved in this where as the other media are. There are many things that are worthy of fear – politicians running up huge debt, repeated lying by this administration on health care “reform” and congressional leaders, etc. which could very easily cause huge problems for everyone. Currently 50% of people in our country do not pay income tax so they don’t care how the money is spent. They only care about how much money gets doled out to them by the government. These are issues of huge concern in our country today. Should Beck be silent on these facts?
The ultimate problem with Beck, the many other news commentators on Fox, CNN, etc…, and the many politicians is that they are fighting to preserve the wrong kingdom. For Christians, who should be concerned with the Kingdom of God rather than the little so-called kingdoms of this world, the question of social-justice should not be about what form of government (limited, big, democratic, social, etc…) but whether or not justice is being done as God intends for all of his creation. God’s interest is justice not bureaucracy and bureaucratic forms and what a shame it is when we Christians allow the pursuit of justice to be hijacked by our social-political bureaucratic preferences.
Grace and peace,
K. Rex Butts
Did everyone here miss the point? It sounds like you listened to the left wing media and not Glenn Beck because Beck made it clear as to what he was saying and he’s right. Unfortunately, progressives (and socialists do the same) use the Bible in a twisted way to support their vision of Utopia. Jesus did not preach socialism or social justice. He taught that you give to those who do not have, but you do NOT steal to give it to those who do not have. The point is, the government stealing to give to the poor does nothing for the condition of the person if the “giving” did not come from the heart. Not to mention, you need to be willing to contribute. I hate to tell everyone this, but Beck was spot on. Please listen to what he said in its context because he did not say run from Churches who want to give and he made this point several days in a row. Here’s my example. Does your church insist you give a tithe? If they do, something’s wrong. The person should give from the heart and not be forced to. The beautiful thing about this LIBERATING freedom is that you want to give more than 10%. A person truly giving from the heart will give everything. This is not a socialist approach, since socialism is a facade which takes from people all in the guise that they are “giving”.
J Black is correct and understands what Beck is getting at – too many people are looking to the government to implement giving – when all this does is result in theft,covetousness and class warefare – which is NOT what the Gospel is about. Christ said “seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you” – in doing so you will be following correct principles and you will have a life that is successful in God’s eyes..you may get rich – maybe not – but you will have peace in whatever state you are in..
[…] I’m noticing a pattern here. When the folks at Fox News stick their noses in church business, they tend to blow it. […]