Yesterday’s post on Glenn Beck netted 20 comments, 12 retweets, and a mention on UMReporter. Maybe I should try partisan sniping more often to get more readers. Naah, the ends don’t justify the means, don’t worry.
But the responses here and elsewhere have been enlightening as to just how many people are looking for a reason to avoid talking about justice and society’s ills due to a suspicion it’s code language for Democrats. Is that the true audience of Beck’s remarks? People who are looking for a reason to leave their church that encourages them to set society to rights? Being a pastor, I know all it takes is a little backup to self-justify behavior. Sigh.
But to revisit the issue, today (March 11th 2010) Mr. Beck addressed the issue again:
Today, Beck returned to the subject, insisting that the notion of social justice is “a perversion of the Gospel,” and “not what Jesus would say.” He went on to say that Americans should be skeptical of religious leaders who are “basing their religion on social justice,” and explained his fear that concern for social justice is a problem “infecting all” faith traditions.
Here’s his specific words:
“There are members [of Beck's church] who preach social justice all the time. It is a perversion of the Gospel. Nowhere does Jesus say, “hey if someone asks for your shirt, give your coat to the government”…That’s not what Jesus would say. You want to help out, you help out. It changes you. That’s what the Gospel is all about you…you, you change it, not have the government dictate it.”
Again, Mr. Beck makes the same mistake: equating social justice as a code word for the Democratic platform. From the blogtalk I’ve witnessed, it’s an equating of social justice with the social welfare programs so bitterly hated by that edge of politics. But as talked about 18 different ways on the internets, social justice is beyond Beck’s comprehension in scope and its reflection of the Gospel.
- Jim Wallis, Sojo.net
- Jim Winkler, UMC’s ‘social justice’ guy
- Philosophy over Coffee
- Rev. Abi
- Rev. Nathan Mattox
- Dr. Richard Beck
- Eugene Cho
I like all of these, but I like what Eugene Cho says the best:
But [Cho's church] Quest does speak (and attempts) of pursue mercy, justice, and humility not because they are code words for some sort of agenda but because they are central to the Triune God. How can you read the Scriptures or examine the life and ministry of Christ and not sense that mercy, justice, and compassion – particularly to those who are marginalized – aren’t dear to the heart of God?
Please don’t leave your churches just because they have the words “social justice” on their website. If you want a good reason to leave your churches: Leave if the gospel of Christ isn’t being preached and lived out. And thankfully, justice is an integral part to the gospel of Christ.