Glenn Beck has now decided to tell you what church to go to. In a recent episode, reports Politics Daily, Beck tells listeners to leave churches that preach social justice, equating efforts to help the needy with fascism and communism:
Fox News personality Glenn Beck set out to convince his audience that “social justice,” the term many Christian churches use to describe their efforts to address poverty and human rights, is a “code word” for communism and Nazism. Beck urged Christians to discuss the term with their priests and to leave their churches if leaders would not reconsider their emphasis on social justice.
“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!”
This is, of course, a direct affront to what many in the religious community argue is the duty of all religions—to help the poor and the needy. In a recent essay for The Huffington Post, Richard Hughes points out that the kind of rhetoric exemplified by Beck is exactly why so many believers still fail to pursue the common good:
These positions on poverty and war—so typical of many (though not all) fundamentalist and evangelical Christians—become especially shocking when one begins to grasp just how completely at odds with the Bible they really are.
Arguably, the theme most central to the biblical text is the Bible’s vision of the kingdom of God—a metaphor that tells us “what this world would look like if and when God sat on Caesar’s throne,” as biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan puts it. The phrase, kingdom of God—or its equivalent, kingdom of heaven—appears over 100 times in the New Testament text. And while the actual phrase, kingdom of God, never appears in the Hebrew Bible, the concept of the kingdom of God appears there with great regularity. It’s really not hard to grasp the biblical meaning of the kingdom of God, since the Bible almost always employs that phrase (or concept) in support of two ideals: peacemaking (including the rejection of war) and justice for the poor.
Watch the full Glen Beck clip here.