Fox News Host and conservative commentator, Glenn Beck opened up a stream of criticism when he remarked on his March 2 TV show, “I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church website. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice are code words (for Communism and Nazism). Am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!” Admittedly, these words are taken out of context, but even in the context from which they are taken they weigh heavy on the hearts of Christians in a world where most people are self-centered and uncharitable when it comes to poverty issues.
Immediately following Beck’s tirade about social justice and communism, Rev. Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, a network of progressive Christians, challenged Beck to a debate of the issue, stating, “social and economic justice is at the heart of Jesus’ message. It is doubtful Beck will respond favorably to a debate. Meanwhile, church leaders across the country are discussing the meaning of Beck’s remarks. While Wallis adamantly contends that “biblical justice involves changing structures, institutions, systems, and policies, as well as changing hearts to be more generous,” Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, disagrees, saying that Jesus wasn’t interested in politics.
Lisa Pierce, executive director of Alabama Rural Ministry based in Auburn, AL and an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church, offered the following response:
“As a founder and director of a ministry that serves the poor, economic justice and social justice for marginalized families are very close to our heart. However, it has little to do with the government, whether Republican or Democrat or conservative or liberal, and everything to do with Jesus. We can’t get away from the Bible. The book of Deuteronomy describes what the faith community should look like and the book of Amos is a stinging chastisement of people taking advantage of the poor. The church and Christians remain focused on spiritual matters. We cannot get away from the parables and teachings of Jesus that unashamedly showed Jesus favoring the weak, the poor and the marginalized. Where I would most likely agree with Beck is that the Church shouldn’t be doing the work of government nor the government the work of the Church.”
At the end of 2009, Beck promised 2010 was going to be different. He was going to stop being politically correct and start saying what needed to be said. Right or wrong, he opened up a dialogue that Christians need to pray about, discuss and decide what the mission of the church should be.
According to Sojourners the closest faith and justice church located within 100 miles of Montgomery is St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church in Chelsea.
For Glenn Beck’s defense of his statements, click here.