Glenn Beck Warns of Creeping Christian ‘Communism’

March 17, 2010 at 8:00 am (Christian news) (, , , , , )

Glenn BeckGlenn Beck, the Fox News commentator known for his tearful rants in defence of American liberty and against the evils of liberalism, has told his audience that it may be time to abandon most of the Christian churches.

In recent radio show, that was broadcast on more than 400 affiliates, he told his listeners to leave any church that uses the phrases “social justice” or “economic justice.” “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. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!” He went on to say, “If you have a priest pushing social justice go find another parish. Go alert your bishop and tell them. [Ask them] are you down with this whole social justice thing?”

Later, on his Fox television broadcast, he noted that both the communists and Nazis subscribed to the philosophy of “social justice.” While social justice is part of many Protestant and Jewish traditions, Catholic commentators felt Mr. Beck’s remarks were specifically targeted at their church.

“What he said was dangerous because it’s a  continuation of the idea that charity is equivalent to socialism and addressing the structures that keep people poor is equivalent to communism — when in fact it’s a constitutive part of Christianity,” said Father James Martin, an editor at the Jesuit magazine America and the author of the just releasedThe Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything.

“[Mr. Beck] is a major figure with a huge following radio and television on a popular network; he’s not some fringe figure with a tiny little blog. So what he said calls for a response.”

In his commentary, Mr. Beck implied that the phrases “social justice” and “economic justice” would not be part of the New Testament. But Fr. Martin said that Jesus spoke specifically about social justice without having to use the exact term. “When Jesus tells his followers [in Matthew] what it’s going to take to get into heaven, he doesn’t talk about what church you go to or how you pray or how often. He talks specifically how you treat the poor.” Over the past 150 years, Fr. Martin noted, successive popes have written encyclicals specifically on economic and social justice.

In the Huffington Post, Fr. Martin posted a piece titled, “Glenn Beck to Jesus: Drop Dead.” In the article, Fr. Martin wrote:

lenn Beck’s desire to detach social justice from the Gospel is a move to detach care for the poor from the Gospel. But a church without the poor, and a church without a desire for a just social world for all, is not the church. At least not the church of Jesus Christ. Who was, by the way, poor.”

Joe Carter, an editor at First Things, a magazine that expresses orthodox Catholic, Protestant and Jewish views, also felt that the Mr. Beck’s commentary was a broadside against Catholicism.

Mr. Carter noted that the Church’s own document, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, states that “a large part of the Church’s social teaching is solicited and determined by important social questions, to which social justice is the proper answer.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church also gives a chapter to the issue of social justice, he added.

“Could Beck’s claim be construed as anti-Catholic? Yes and no,” Mr. Carter wrote. “I think if anyone else had made the remark it would have been hard to dismiss the anti-Catholic undertones. But Beck is a special case: He is too prone to say any dumb thing that pops into his head and too ignorant about history and religion to truly understand the implications of his statement. This doesn’t excuse him, of course, but it certainly is reason not to be too shocked when aself-professed ‘rodeo clown’ advises people to leave their churches over Catholic ‘code words’ like social justice.”

Richard Land, a major conservative spokesman and the head of the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said most Christians should be troubled by Mr. Beck’s words.

“Did he ever hear of, Do unto others as they would do to you? Or, Love your neigbour as you love yourself? I mean those are fairly basic. The story of the Good Samaritan [in the New Testament] is clearly about our obligation and responsibilities to those who are less fortunate and those who are victims.”

He said his own denomination also stresses Baptists to work for the good of the social order.

“When hearing about social justice, anybody my age would think about Martin Luther King. Dr. King was all about social justice. And thank God he was.”


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