Conservative pundit Glenn Beck has compared advocates of social justice to Nazis and/or communists, and has advised Christians whose churches are involved in social justice ministries to flee…immediately.
“I beg you look for the words social justice or economic justice on your church Web site,” he said. “If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words…” for Nazism or communism. “If you have a priest that is pushing social justice, go find another parish.” Beck is quoted in an ABC News story by Hanna Siegel appearing online today.
Siegel also quotes Beck’s executive producer, Stu Burguiere: “Glenn strongly opposes when… leaders use ‘social justice’ as a euphemism for their real intention — redistribution of wealth.”
But God seems to be down with that idea. Remember the story of the rich ruler in Luke 18:18? He asks Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life, and Jesus responds,
Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven…”
Perhaps they haven’t read Exodus lately, where God leads a group of enslaved people to freedom. Or the words of Jesus spoke when he ushered in his ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor….” (Luke 4:16), or the beatitudes:””Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.” (Luke 6:2021) Or the prophets. If there is one thing the prophets make certain, it is that God is concerned about the well-being of society’s least powerful.
HERE ARE FIVE QUICK EXAMPLES – and you don’t have to dig deeply into the Bible to find them.
- “[L]earn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow,” (Isaiah 1:17);
- “The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and princes of his people: it is you who have devoured the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor? says the Lord God of hosts” (Isaiah 3:13-15)
- “For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals — they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and push the afflicted out of the way…” (Amos 2:6)
- “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on Mount Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,…The Lord God has sworn by his holiness: the time is surely coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks.” (Amos 4)
- “..let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24)
But the most telling reason isn’t in the words of the prophets, it’s in a parable told by Jesus called “The judgment of the nations.” (Mt. 25:31)
Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. …Truly, I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
Social justice is a code phrase — for mercy.
To read Hannah Siegel’s story, click here.
For articles on Christian Socialism, try www.beepwire.com/x-10271-Charlotte-Episcopal-Examiner~y2009m9d3-Can-a-Christian-be-socialist-A-Christian-socialist-primer-Part-I and www.beepwire.com/x-10271-Charlotte-Episcopal-Examiner~y2009m9d4-Christian-Socialism-a–primer-part-II