Glenn Beck: 'Leave Your Church'
Political Advocacy Tracker is a roundup of what Christian activist organizations have been talking about over the last week.
Seeking Social Justice
Glenn Beck crossed the line when he told people to leave churches that promote "social justice," said The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good and Sojourners.
On his March 2 radio show, Beck told listeners:
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! If I'm going to Jeremiah's Wright's church? Yes! Leave your church. Social justice and economic justice. They are code words. If you have a priest that is pushing social justice, go find another parish. Go alert your bishop and tell them, "Excuse me are you down with this whole social justice thing?" I don't care what the church is. If it's my church, I'm alerting the church authorities: "Excuse me, what's this social justice thing?" And if they say, "Yeah, we're all in that social justice thing," I'm in the wrong place.
When his co-host suggested that churches may not grasp the real meaning of "social justice," Beck answered, "There's a very good chance that people don't know what it is. That's why you have to educate yourself."
Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, called for Christians to boycott conservative commentator Glenn Beck, who told his radio audience to question and abandon churches that say they promote social or economic justice.
"What he has said attacks the very heart of our Christian faith, and Christians should no longer watch his show," Wallis said.
Beck responded to Wallis on Thursday, calling Wallis "a leftist," "an operative for the Democratic Party," "an apologist communist for atrocities in Cambodia and Vietnam," and "a dedicated foe of capitalism."
Beck denied that he had advised people to leave churches because they talked about social justice:
"No, no, no. Didn't say that. I said if they are basing their religion on social justice. Social justice and economic justice are code words. Look for those code words, and then ask your church, 'What do you mean by that? What is that?' Because they're code words. And don't be sucked into that," said Beck.
He also called social justice "a perversion of the gospel." According to Beck, Jesus spoke only for individual compassion, not for governmental justice.
Sojourners launched an e-mail campaign that urges people to tell Beck that a Christian that supports social justice stands "in the tradition of the Hebrew prophets and the teachings of Jesus that demonstrate God's will for justice in every aspect of our individual, social, and economic lives."
The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, which was first to respond to Beck's statements, launched a campaign to create "a short video that will directly confront Glenn Beck and his assertion that caring about the lives of others is code-language for fascist or communist infiltration in our churches."
Beck's comments came on the heels of a new six-part video small-group study, "Seek Social Justice," put out by the Heritage Foundation, a flagship conservative organization. The video series features Chuck Colson of BreakPoint, Al Mohler of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Sean Litton of the International Justice Mission, and other evangelical leaders speaking on the meaning and importance of social justice.