Glenn Beck – Social Justice, USA
7/5/10; (3 Items)
Glenn Lee Beck (born February 10, 1964) is an American conservative radio and television host, political commentator, author, and entrepreneur. He is the host of The Glenn Beck Program, a nationally-syndicated talk-radio show that airs throughout the United States on Premiere Radio Networks. Beck is also the host of a self-titled cable-news show on Fox News Channel. As an author, Beck has gained success with six New York Times-bestselling books, with five debuting at #1. Beck is also the founder and CEO of Mercury Radio Arts, a multi-media production company through which he produces content for radio, television, publishing, the stage, and the Internet. Beck has become a well-known and polarizing public figure, whose provocative views have afforded him media recognition and popularity, along with controversy and criticism. To his supporters, he is a conservative champion, defending traditional American values from secular progressivism, while to his detractors he is notorious for conspiracy theories and incendiary rhetoric.
2. Glenn Beck, Immigration, and Social Justice
After Glenn Beck said “social justice is a perversion of the gospel” and a “code” for Marxism, communism, and Nazism, I invited him to a public dialogue to discuss the true meaning of social justice, which I said was at the heart of the gospel and integral to biblical faith.
In response, Beck promised on his radio show that “the hammer” would be coming down on me and my organization, and that he would devote a week of his television show to bringing me down. I took that as a “no” to dialogue.
But I would still like to have this discussion with Beck. Since he has attacked the whole concept of “social justice,” I think it would be a great opportunity to have a serious public conversation about what biblical social justice really means. But since he has so far refused to have that conversation, I have decided to go ahead with it anyway — even without him — with the hope that he will eventually join the discussion. In the meantime, let me take some of the things he has recently said about social justice and begin to respond to him. And I hope he will take this as an open and standing invitation to a civil and moral dialogue with him about the topic of social justice. This is a challenge to Glenn Beck to have a real and honest two-way public discussion.
So Glenn… you recently talked about the new Arizona law requiring all state law enforcement officers to ask for identity documents of anyone they have “lawful contact” with and “reasonably suspect” of being undocumented, and to detain them if they are. Many fear racial profiling and are concerned that the only people required to carry papers will be those who might look illegal, i.e. have brown skin. The new law also makes it illegal to “harbour” or “transport” undocumented people, or even to be found with them. This has made many Christian clergy and church workers say the new law would make Christian compassion and ministry illegal, and if it does, they won’t obey it.
You are vigorously in favour of the new law. But I would suggest that the solution to the 12 million undocumented workers now in this country isn’t demanding identity papers and threatening deportation, but working to change the conditions that lead people to come here without papers in the first place. Decades of neglect and irresponsibility by both parties – liberals and conservatives – have created this inhumane and complicated problem. We have had two invisible signs on our southern border: “No Trespassing” and “Help Wanted.” Those conflicting messages have ensnared many vulnerable and sometimes desperate people. And now we need to fix that broken immigration system that is grinding up vulnerable families.
You said, “America, this is what you have to understand: equal justice, not social justice. Equal justice of the law demands that law-breakers not be rewarded for their illegal activity, that instead they be treated like everyone else,” and that “equal justice” means when anyone comes to the United States illegally, they should be deported.
3 Christians for Social Justice
Jim Wallis; 5/10
Jim Wallis is editor-in-chief of Sojourners.
Glenn Beck picked a fight with the nation’s churches when he said that “social justice” is a “code word” for “communism” and “Nazism,” and that Christians should leave their churches if they preach, practice, or even have the phrase “social justice” on their Web sites. Contrary to Beck’s claim that “social justice is a perversion of the gospel,” he has now learned that Christians across the theological and political spectrum believe that social justice is central to the teachings of Jesus, and at the heart of biblical faith. Because Christians couldn’t “turn in” their pastors to “church authorities” as Beck suggested (the pope would have to turn himself in to … himself), many have started turning themselves in to Glenn Beck
as “social justice Christians”-50,000 at last count.
The news networks, the cable and radio talk shows, and even Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have reported or spoofed Beck’s attempt to discredit the whole concept of social justice, but all that seems to just make him angrier. What he doesn’t realize is that a commitment to social justice unites churches of different doctrinal and political beliefs; if Christians were to leave those churches, they would have to leave their Catholic churches, black churches, Latino churches, evangelical and Pentecostal churches, and mainline Protestant churches. Beck’s own Mormon Church’s theologians and leaders have made it clear that they too believe social justice is integral to their faith, and that they disagree with the famous talk show host and want it known that he doesn’t speak for them.
Most would agree that the term has sometimes been used to support ideologies of the Left and the Right, but a range of people from liberal ministers to Southern Baptist theologians have defended the integrity of social justice as core to Christian faith and have disagreed with Beck’s attack. In fact denominational leaders are reporting that their pastors are actually preaching more on social justice than before, just because Beck told them not to. Social justice as a personal commitment both to serve the poor and to attack the conditions that lead to poverty is one of the most passionate beliefs of a younger generation of Christians, and one of their most compelling attractions to Jesus Christ.
But I’ve learned that to merely challenge Beck’s attack is to be called “Marxist” on his show, to hear warnings that “the hammer will fall” on you, and to have him threaten to devote a whole week of his shows to bringing about your demise. The first episodes of the Beck “hammer” began in late March with more distortions — some quite humorous. My personal invitation to a respectful, civil conversation was only met with more threats and name-calling.
Jesus does in fact call us to social justice, but he also said that we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. So whatever Glenn Beck does, we will not attack him personally. And we have urged our supporters not to attack him personally either, but rather to pray for him, for us, and for our country, which is being harmed by an increasingly poisonous public discourse.
Martin Luther King Jr., an apostle of social justice, regularly reminded his followers that non-violence must be both of the “fist” and of the “tongue.” Even those of us who easily reject the violence of the fist sometimes fall into the violence of the
tongue, as the downwardly spiralling discourse of the U.S. Congress and the public debate over contentious issues show us almost every day. Adherence to that spiritual discipline of non-violence is most tested at times of conflict and criticism, especially when one’s views and statements are being distorted and even fabricated by the kind of “research” for which Fox News is famous.
Beck now suggests his concern was really the association of the phrase “social justice” with “big government” And he adds that when social justice just means individual charity it is “permissible” to him. It’s a good thing that Beck is scaling down that rhetoric, if not his attacks on those who have challenged him. If he had, from the beginning, just made an argument for small government and private charity, none of us would have responded to him.
The debate over the role of government is a good and healthy one, as is discussion about the relationship between personal and social responsibility. People of faith who believe in social justice come from across the political spectrum, so they would, of course, apply the term in different ways to different political issues. They vote Republican, Democrat, or Independent; and they have varying views of government — both smaller and larger than my own. We make progress together when we agree to public policies that are smart and effective government. Even the conservative Heritage Foundation now has a series of videos on “social justice” The key for people of faith is to stand up for the poor, even against wealth and power when necessary.
So let’s stand up to Glenn Beck — it may be the moment to launch a new movement of Christians for Social Justice.
Christianity, Justice, USA