Sunday, March 28, 2010

Glenn Beck's Jesus

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1: 17)

It’s hard to imagine that it is possible to read the Bible and not come away with the impression that God is deeply concerned with the care and service of those most in need. Indeed, it is often explicit and unambiguous on this point:

“Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice” (Deut. 24:17)

“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy” (Ps. 82: 3-4)

“He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" declares the LORD.” (Jer. 22:16)

Apparently, Glenn Beck has never read the Bible, or if he has, he hasn’t understood what he read. Beck has been advising his audience to leave their churches if those churches dare to speak of social justice. The words ‘social justice,’ according to Beck, are code words for . . . wait for it . . . Communism! Or Nazism! One or the other or maybe both, perhaps: Communazism! So, real churches do not engage in the evil that is social justice.

Beck is a convert to Mormonism, but apparently no one in that church explained to him the Mormon faith. As the New York Times reports:

“Even Mormon scholars in Mr. Beck's own church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in interviews that Mr. Beck seemed ignorant of just how central social justice teaching was to Mormonism.”

Hmm. “Mr. Beck seemed ignorant.” Sounds about right.

The website Bread For the World, a Christian organization dedicated to ending world hunger has begun a petition to urge Beck to stop making these kinds of inflammatory statements. Of course, Glenn Beck IS inflammatory statements, without them he would have nothing to offer and there would be no show. So the petition is unlikely to go very far to change his behavior, but if you are so inclined it can be found at the Bread For the World website.

I don’t think Glenn Beck would like Jesus if he ever decided to skim through the New Testament. I mean the guy counsels rich people to give away all their money to the poor. Talk about redistribution of wealth! What kind of Jesus is that? I wonder what Glenn Beck imagines when he thinks of justice? If social and economic justice are evil, what's left for an extremist libertarian? Street justice! Instead of compassion and care for the poor, I imagine Glenn Beck's Jesus is a kind of cosmic vigilante. Brian McClaren posted this hilarious video of a Gandhi sequel on his blog recently. Just replace Gandhi with Jesus and you get the picture. "He's back and this time He's apocalyptic!":


gail Hildebrandt said...

Hi Jason - loved your blog as usual. Here is my prayer for Easter, thinking about my friends, family and my church family.
Great creator, loving God we thank you for this past year of coming together, learning and connecting with each other in a common goal to grow and become more of the person you would have us to be. We will keep trying to understand the differences among people and strive to achieve nobler relationships with those around us, near by us and world wide. It is my prayer that this earth and those living on it, accept each other for who we are, thus with hard work and fortitude we will hopefully stand up for that which is right and try to make the world a better more promising place, so that peace might come to those who have been praying for it, for such a long time. Give us hope that the future will bring happiness and prosperity to all and especially to those who are in need. Through the Jesus we love. Amen

Jason E. Smith said...

Beautiful. Amen.