Last week Glenn Beck called on his cult like followers to investigate their church’s website to see if the word “social justice” anywhere. And if they found those words, they were instructed, nee ordered to leave their churches immediately. Because he says those words are code for Nazism and Communism. Yes, that’s right.
Glenn Beck called Jesus Christ a Nazi.
Glenn Beck is, in essence, saying “Leave the Catholic church.” Or, if you like, the Catholic church is a Nazi church. (Which would have surprised Alfred Delp, Rupert Mayer and Maximilian Kolbe.) Or a Communist one. (Which would have surprised Jerzy Popieluszko and Karol Wojtyla).
But Glenn Beck is saying something else, which might get lost in the translation: Leave Christianity. Again and again in the Gospels, Jesus points to our responsibility to care for the poor, to work on their behalf, to stand with them. In fact, when asked how his followers would be judged, Jesus doesn’t say that it will be based on where you worship, or how you pray, or how often you go to church, or even what political party you believe in. He says something quite different: It depends on how you treat the poor.
In the Gospel of Matthew (Chapter 25) he tells his surprised disciples, that when you are meeting the poor, you are meeting him… Ignoring the poor, and ignoring what keeps them poor, is, quite simply, unchristian. Indeed, the poor are the church in many ways.
Now, I am a Catholic. So Christ’s teachings concerning “social justice” (a term, by the way, that was not coined by any Nazi or Communist or even a wide eyed Liberal, but by Jesuit priest over 160 years ago) are quite familiar to me. But I do not know how familiar they are to Protestants or Evangelical Christians. And I say that not in an accusatory tone but rather in an ignorant one, for I was not raised Protestant and I am not an Evangelical, I do not know what emphasis is placed on Christ’s actual teachings in a Protestant church or in Evangelical circles, but I will gladly take a lesson from any of our Protestant or even Evangelical readers. But truth be told, there has always been a schism between Catholics and Protestants over Church practices, rules and emphasis (i.e. Catholics place much more emphasis on Mary, Mother of Jesus), so I truly wonder if Christ’s teachings regarding social justice, or, concerning the poor, are not emphasized by Protestants.
And if that is the case, then perhaps that is where Glenn Beck is coming from, if he is even a Protestant or was raised one (I don’t make it a practice to know or even care about the religious backgrounds or preferences of anyone). If he is ignorant of Catholic emphasis on Christ’s teachings as I am of Protestant ones, then perhaps that explains this new tirade. If he is unaware that Jesus Christ, Son of God, actually cared about the poor; and instead sees the term “social justice” as some kind of code word for liberalism or some kind of plot by the latter to take over the church, then that would perhaps explain it. I am not sure why I am bending over backwards here to rationalize Glenn Beck, because I could just simply act like the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue and call Beck an anti-Catholic bigot of the first order and be done with it. And isn’t it a tell on Donohue’s part that we have not heard anything from him concerning Glenn Beck?
Speaking of tells, this whole episode concerning Beck v. Social Justice reveals many tells. Glenn Beck is pretending today to be some down-to-earth Populist/tea bagger, but the truth is, he is your run of the mill conservative Republican who disdains the poor and favors the rich. And this whole aversion to “social justice” or “caring for the poor” is a tell of that. It betrays Beck to his cult like populist masses, who supposedly are furious about bailouts of the banks and the rich and would favor some social justice of their own. And if teabaggers are not upset about Beck railing against the horrors of social justice (and it doesn’t appear that they are), isn’t that a tell of them?
Coming back to Glenn Beck v. the Catholic Church, Beck “doubled down” on his screed this week, as Steve Benen puts it:
Today, Beck returned to the subject, insisting that the notion of social justice is “a perversion of the Gospel,” and “not what Jesus would say.” He wasn’t kidding.
He went on to say that Americans should be skeptical of religious leaders who are “basing their religion on social justice,” and explained his fear that concern for social justice is a problem “infecting all” faith traditions.
Beck’s condemnations aren’t going over well in some faith communities. The Rev. Jim Wallis, a prominent evangelical figure and president of the Sojourners network, argued yesterday, “I don’t know if Beck is just strange, just trying to be controversial, or just trying to make money. But in any case, what he has said attacks the very heart of our Christian faith, and Christians should no longer watch his show.”
“Not what Jesus would say?” But, Glenn, he said it. “It is in the Bible!!!” as many of the radical right often say when defending their positions. And I am heartened to see that the Rev. Jim Wallis, a protestant evangelical, said what he said, for it means that this truly is not yet another division between the two denominations of the same faith. All this is about is one little ignorant man with a massive Napoleon complex, who fears the poor and black people, and will scream anything, literally ANYTHING, to get people to pay attention to him. He will even scream that Jesus H. Christ is a Nazi.
I promise this is the last (and first) time I will ever try to rationalize Glenn Beck. My brain hurts. Where’s the alcohol?
Tags: Glenn Beck