::update 3/14/2010:: followup posts here (Glenn Beck v. UMC, part deux) and here (Welcome UMC.org readers! Let’s talk about Justice!)
Again, I don’t talk partisan politics on this blog (there’s plenty of that on the internets for all of us), but sometimes things are just so egregious and misinformed that they bear discussion.
Last week, conservative talk show host Glenn Beck said the following about churches that preach “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!”~ Glenn Beck 03/02/2010
So, church websites with “social justice” huh? Glenn Beck declares that social justice is a code word for fascism and communism and everything. And people should leave churches that preach it.
If you believe him, then everyone in America better leave the UMC:
The United Methodist Church has a long history of concern for social justice. Its members have often taken forthright positions on controversial issues involving Christian principles. Early Methodists expressed their opposition to the slave trade, to smuggling, and to the cruel treatment of prisoners.~ UMC Social Principles (original in 1908)
And you’d better dig up John Wesley and flay him (h/t Kevin Watson):
Directly opposite to this is the gospel of Christ. Solitary religion is not to be found there. ‘Holy solitaries’ is a phrase no more consistent with the gospel than holy adulterers. The gospel of Christ knows of no religion, but social; no holiness but social holiness.John Wesley, “Preface to 1739 Hymns and Sacred Poems”
There is no holiness but social holiness. Any call to leave a church because of “code words” is laughable, but any call to leave a church because of a commitment to social justice is antithetical to the Gospel and ought be exposed as such.