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Tilting at Windmills

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March 9, 2010

BECK TARGETS CHURCHES THAT EMBRACE 'SOCIAL JUSTICE'.... On his radio show yesterday, right-wing host Glenn Beck warned his audience about churches that care about social justice. As the deranged media personality sees it, "social justice" is code for ... something nefarious.

"I'm begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them ... are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. 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!"

I'm not a theologian, but it's my understanding that most of the world's major, monotheistic faith traditions embrace "social justice" as a fundamental pillar. Beck just encouraged a whole lot of people to abandon a whole lot of houses of worship.

This is especially true of Roman Catholics. Indeed, the very phrase "social justice" is believed to have been coined by a 19th-century Jesuit, and later popularized by Father Charles Coughlin.

With that in mind, First Things is wondering whether Glenn Beck just urged his followers to abandon the Catholic Church. Joe Carter noted, "Could Beck's claim be construed as 'anti-Catholic?' Yes and no. 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 a self-professed 'rodeo clown' advises people to leave their churches over Catholic 'code words' like social justice."

Nevertheless, this could be a real headache for Beck, especially if Bill Donohue and the Catholic League treat Beck like they'd treat anyone else who just encouraged Americans to leave churches who take social justice seriously.

Post Script: It's also worth remembering that if Beck is serious about the danger of these "code words," he may have to leave his own church, too.

Steve Benen 1:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (56)

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Comments

Uh, "social justice" isn't just something that minor figures in the Church have advanced. It's actively promoted by the Vatican as part of the Code of Canon Law.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__PU.HTM

Can. 222 §1. The Christian faithful are obliged to assist with the needs of the Church so that the Church has what is necessary for divine worship, for the works of the apostolate and of charity, and for the decent support of ministers.

§2. They are also obliged to promote social justice and, mindful of the precept of the Lord, to assist the poor from their own resources.

And it's not a secret. Many Catholic dioceses have an "Office of Social Justice" that fulfills this dictate of the Vatican.

Posted by: TR on March 9, 2010 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, I blew the formatting. The second section with the bold part is also directly quoted from the CoC.

Posted by: TR on March 9, 2010 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

It sounds like Beck wants to start a Church of Glenn Beck. Every day Beck sounds more and more like a cult leader.

Posted by: Unstable Isotope on March 9, 2010 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Fortuneately, we don't have to take Bill Donohue seriously.

Posted by: martin on March 9, 2010 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Neither Pope Bennie nor the Mormons give a happy Jesu about any damn social justice, social gospel, economic justice, the poor, etc...

Glenn's not just listening to the voices in his head with this. He is listening to the voices in the heads of his religious mentors...

Posted by: neill on March 9, 2010 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Um, Bill Donohue is the Catholic League. It's not a group of people he represents. It's just him. Also, since when does Bill Donohue give a flying f--- about social justice?

Posted by: bobb on March 9, 2010 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the link, Steve. To me the most shocking part is that *every Mormon woman over the age of 18*, including Beck's wife, is a member of the Relief Society, whose motto is "Charity Never Faileth"...

Posted by: G C on March 9, 2010 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Beck is a goat:
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Posted by: citizen_pain on March 9, 2010 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's a mistake to take anything Babbling Beck says seriously. It would be a form of mental self-abuse.

Posted by: MattF on March 9, 2010 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

I guess Beck is not a big fan of the New Testament. Or Jesus.

Posted by: Bobo Teh Clown on March 9, 2010 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

IN BRIEF

1943 Society ensures social justice by providing the conditions that allow associations and individuals to obtain their due.
1944 Respect for the human person considers the other "another self." It presupposes respect for the fundamental rights that flow from the dignity intrinsic of the person.
1945 The equality of men concerns their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it.
1946 The differences among persons belong to God's plan, who wills that we should need one another. These differences should encourage charity.
1947 The equal dignity of human persons requires the effort to reduce excessive social and economic inequalities. It gives urgency to the elimination of sinful inequalities.
1948 Solidarity is an eminently Christian virtue. It practices the sharing of spiritual goods even more than material ones.

Yes...beware social justice. It's a horrible thought, and an insidious plan to encourage people to treat each other with respect, dignity and charity. You'd think that someone as deficient in spiritual virtues as Mr. Beck might wish for others to treat him with charity and to share theirs.

Posted by: Sisyphus on March 9, 2010 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I guess he's saying to leave the United Methodist Church, as well.

Posted by: pol on March 9, 2010 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Social Justice" is code words for throwing money-changers out of temples and forgiving whores. That's the sort of thing only a DFH would do, and we can't have any of that in church.

Posted by: dr2chase on March 9, 2010 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

But has he broken the code? What do the words actually mean, according to Beck?

I mean, we all eventually learned what "culture of life" actually meant.

One implication is that the Church leaders understand the code words, which is why they are used.

Regardless of what Beck thinks the words actually mean, he is directly accusing the Church leadership of some vague conspiracy...actually even lying about their actual mission.

You really can't excuse that due to ignorance on Beck's part. The accusation itself is not vague.

Posted by: tomj on March 9, 2010 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

A new moment hasn't gone by until Mr.Beck makes yet another asinine argument of nonsense! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 9, 2010 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

The man gets paid millions to be one of the most ignorant greedy abusive fools on the planet.

Posted by: Silver Owl on March 9, 2010 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Between Glenn Beck & Rush Limbaugh, is there any sense of humanity's value? That people actually watch/listen to either of these men is mind boggling. Today's statements with regard to religion and healthcare should be enough to end their careers, but it won't be. Sarah Palin will still defend Rush, the Retard. And, Glenn Beck will still be on TV and the radio, sponsored by...?

I Surrender!

Posted by: st john on March 9, 2010 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

forgive him lord, for he knows not what he's saying (as is the case most of the time).

Posted by: mudwall jackson on March 9, 2010 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

But has he broken the code?

It's only a matter of time before he realizes the letters in "social justice" can be rearranged to spell "I Cajole It, Cuss" and realize that his very program is part of the conspiracy!!!!!

Posted by: TR on March 9, 2010 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

What is it with the crazies and overreaching this week. First Liz Cheney, and now the rodeo clown himself. I think Glen just stepped in it. It is amazing what people say if they are obligated to talk non-stop 3-4 hours a day about things they know nothing about.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 9, 2010 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Beck will backtrack on this one.

Posted by: danimal on March 9, 2010 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Actual behavior aside, I don't know of a church that proudly proclaims its opposition to social justice.

Posted by: KTinOhio on March 9, 2010 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Best. Rodeo Clown. Ever.

Posted by: koreyel on March 9, 2010 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

If you can't do social justice, what else is there for religious-minded folks to do?

All I can think of is:

1. Curry favors from the Man Upstairs.
2. Beg for absolution in order to avoid eternal fires.
3. Tithe to your megachurch so the pastor can get a new Bentley.

Anything else?

Posted by: itstrue on March 9, 2010 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Don't you see?? "Social Justice" = Socialism. Social is right there at the beginning and ends in Socialism. Same with Social Security. It's SOCIALIST!!
Same with Social Media. It will end in Socialism. That's what bloggers are trying to do, turn everyone into SOCIALISTS!

Posted by: Beck, Beck, Beck....Gone! on March 9, 2010 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

well, i knew it would happen sooner or later.

abandon your church? i finally agree with something glenn beck says.

Posted by: ahoy polloi on March 9, 2010 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

My favorite Beck song is Loser, which speaks of "forces of evil from a Bozo nightmare." Oh, sorry, my bad, wrong Beck, never mind, at least I got the "Bozo nightmare" part right ...

Posted by: Out & About in the Castro on March 9, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Beck's main religious tenet is the famous "Modified Mandatory Prosperity Doctrine". Instead of your basic Prosperity Gospel (whose major shrine is the Amway Pyramid), which says that if you join their church god will favor you and you will get rich, as long as you give the pastor money, Beck's church believes that god will only let you get rich if you've been good. Being poor or in any way unlucky or unfortunate is a sign if sin and unworthiness. Being rich is the ultimate sign of goodness. Beck worships the dollar.

Posted by: Tim H on March 9, 2010 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Well I say screw it. I'm tired of social this, social that. I'm anti-social.

Everyone should arm themselves, grab all the Dinty Moore cans they can find and head for the nearest state park or some other patch of trees that's more convenient.

Life would be much better if we all just shot on site.

Posted by: itstrue on March 9, 2010 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah but you know who really believes in social justice, don't you?
That's right, Jews.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 9, 2010 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

The theocracy that Beck is promoting is eerily reminiscent of the political theocracy established in Germany some seventy-five years ago. Fortunately for America's multiple religious communities, Beck doesn't have mass legions of brown-shirted thugs wearing jackboots on their feet and little bent crosses on their shirtsleeves.

But, as with many things, Beck is not the core problem. The vile insanity begins with his equally-revolting master, Rupert Murdoch.

Beck's just one of the upper-management minions.

Posted by: S. Waybright on March 9, 2010 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus Christ. What happened to Jesus Christ?

Posted by: MsJoanne on March 9, 2010 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

They're going to have to tear a lot of pages out of the Bible.

Posted by: Nancy Green on March 9, 2010 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, are you telling me that Beck is a Mormon? OMD, that explains a LOT!

Posted by: Pat Tibbs on March 9, 2010 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Social Justice is not a so much a comand of the Church, but of Jesus Himself in the Beatitudes and elsewhere he tells us to care for the poor, for the hunger for those who have less. Glenn Beck is definitely a very 'sick' man. To quote and old expression, 'he is more to be pitied than picked on.' He is also extremely ignorant.

Posted by: John the Elder on March 9, 2010 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

If you can't do social justice, what else is there for religious-minded folks to do?

Smiting. You left out smiting evildoers and infidels.

Posted by: dr2chase on March 9, 2010 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Before my eyes even reached the first sentence mentioning Catholics, I was thinking "isn't he inadvertantly advising people to leave the Catholic Church?" My suspicions were confirmed by the post and other comments here.

Beck is nothing but an alcoholic, drug addicted former morning zoo dj--he and Limbaugh actually have a lot in common. Future generations will laugh at how many people seriously listened to these loons.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on March 9, 2010 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Depart from me, ye accursed ....!

Posted by: Neil B. on March 9, 2010 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

12 years Catholic school which I wouldn't trade for any other. The Catholic church has much to atone for on the social justice ledger. The 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries in the Americas. Looking the other way on Croat(Catholic, Nazi Allies) mass murder of Serbs in WW2, Shunning and suppressing liberation theologists in Central and South America.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on March 9, 2010 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

As I said upthread: people actually listen to/watch Beck & Limbaugh? It Boggles...I regularly attend spiritual services, which focus on loving kindness, compassion and sharing what we have with others who have less than we do. I cannot think of one spiritual/religious tradition which doesn't have social and economic justice at its core. I am most familiar with the teachings of Jesus, but every other religion with which I am familiar shares basic tenets with authentic Christianity. It mystifies me that Beck can make these statements and not be questioned by even the most fundamental religious scholars.

If this rant does not raise some serious issues about his mental and emotional health, then we are truly losing our moral compass.

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on March 9, 2010 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

What am I missing here? "social justice" is code for what? Has anyone among us ever seen God? Oh wait, I guess that list should include Beck, Palin the palmist, Pat Robertson, duh pope, etc.

Posted by: buddym on March 9, 2010 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Too delicious. Will they choose Jesus or Glenn Beck? My money's on Beck.

Posted by: shortstop on March 9, 2010 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see, using my Glenn Beck Secret Decoder ring his message spells out ... "Drink lots of Ovaltine." Muther F---er! A G-d damned ad!

Posted by: DanF on March 9, 2010 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

This whole comment thread is hilarious. But TR sent me over the edge with: "It's only a matter of time before he realizes the letters in "social justice" can be rearranged to spell "I Cajole It, Cuss" and realize that his very program is part of the conspiracy!!!!!"

Posted by: shortstop on March 9, 2010 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Dammit DanF, I laughed so hard now I need dry pants!

Posted by: buddym on March 9, 2010 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, I happen to be the webmaster for my parish. I will be sure to add that to the website on every page front and center.

Posted by: JT on March 9, 2010 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

With that in mind, First Things is wondering whether Glenn Beck just urged his followers to abandon the Catholic Church.

Well, Beck did himself, and just like ex-smokers are the biggest anti-smoking zealots, ex-Catholics are often the biggest anti-Catholic zealots.

Posted by: Michigan on March 9, 2010 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

"...Beck just encouraged a whole lot of people to abandon a whole lot of houses of worship...."

I don't know. Seems to me that really he is encouraging churches to abandon any bit of language that progressives use when talking about religion. The ultimate goal is to take away one means by which a conservative may say "you know - that liberal next door is good at heart after all."

-Frank

Posted by: FAB3 on March 9, 2010 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, here, but I can't really joke about something like this. A year and a half ago, my social justice-oriented church, Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist, was shot up by a guy who had been living on a diet of Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage. We can talk all we want about "Who can take this guy seriously?" But it only takes a couple of people to actually take him seriously, and tragedy strikes. When I hear Beck say "progressivism is a cancer that needs to be cut out" and "run from your social justice church", the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, now. Am I being hypersensitive? Ask Greg or Linda from TVUUC--oh, wait. You can't. Because they're dead. Glenn Beck needs to STFU. Now.

Posted by: Salvador Dalai Llama on March 9, 2010 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Glenn Beck:
Jesus was a CommieIslamoAntiAmericanLiberalFascistHippie. Greed is God. Also, Jesus never produced a birth certificate. Just saying, how do we know who his real father was?!

Posted by: gocart mozart on March 9, 2010 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

And SDL, my condolances to your friends and true point.

Posted by: gocart mozart on March 9, 2010 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

The theocracy that Beck is promoting is eerily reminiscent of the political theocracy established in Germany some seventy-five years ago.

Nazi Germany was a theocracy? That's some Liberal Fascism level mesrepresentation there. When does Regnery publish your book?

Posted by: drkrick on March 10, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

I'm Mormon and Glenn Beck DOES NOT represent the tenets or ideas of the Latter-day Saint faith. He's a blow hard who besmirches my faith. It's idiots like him who misrepresent and cause problems.
Sheesh.

Posted by: Vanessa on March 10, 2010 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

The "social justice" being cheered by all you left-liberals has nothing to do with that which was preached by Jesus and is continued by the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations in this country. What Glenn Beck ACTUALLY said was that people should leave churches if they are preaching the kind of "social justice" ranted by ilk such as Jeremiah Wright: forcible redistribution of wealth by government; "social justice" which holds that the American form of government and the resulting American culture and society must be radically changed because they were wrong and evil from the beginning and therefore rotten to the core now.

Posted by: Tom on March 13, 2010 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

The "social justice" being cheered by all you left-liberals has nothing to do with that which was preached by Jesus

Really? That's funny, because the apostles in the Book of Acts were very clearly Communists -- no question about it -- and Jesus railed against the acquisition of wealth (how much does Glenn Beck make again?) and advised his followers to sell everything and give it to the poor.

Is what you're saying here leftists in this country aren't really Communists like the Apostles so our churches are not like those of the primitive churcht? Or are you justhe whining dimwit you appear to be?

What Glenn Beck ACTUALLY said was that people should leave churches if they are preaching the kind of "social justice" ranted by ilk such as Jeremiah Wright: forcible redistribution of wealth by government; "social justice" which holds that the American form of government and the resulting American culture and society must be radically changed because they were wrong and evil from the beginning and therefore rotten to the core now.

No, I watched the video and read the transcript and he didn't say this at all. He said "if your church is preaching social justice: leave it." There were no qualifiers. I can understand why you'd like to give a much more narrow and charitable interpretation to try and soften such outrageous remarks, but it's a mug's game: Glenn Beck's ability to lie, exaggerate, smear, slander, and sling snake oil will far outstrip your slavish need or ability to apologize for him.

Posted by: trex on March 13, 2010 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

I left the UMC 20 years ago. Today on the news they had a UMC bishop protesting the arizona anti-illegal immigration law that 70% of Arizonans support.

Nuff said. Ill never go back. UMC is a communist/socialist front organization now lol.

Im happy being a presbyterian. They stay out of Politics, thank god, and let us make up our minds.

Posted by: Archimedes on May 13, 2010 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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