Glenn Beck, FRC Shift Aim From 'Social Justice' to Jim Wallis
Political Advocacy Tracker is a roundup of what Christian activist organizations have been talking about over the last week.
"The Hammer is Coming"
Just when the furor over Glenn Beck's social justice comments seemed to be dying down, Beck revealed new information that set off a new chain of debate.
On Monday, Beck revealed that he had been "compiling information" on Wallis for the past two months and would be exposing Wallis' "Marxist" philosophy. Beck said it was Wallis who "picked a fight with me last week," and that he would respond at a time best for Beck, not Wallis. Wallis had previously thanked Beck for backing away from linking "social justice" to Nazis and Marxists and asked to join Beck's program to discuss the meaning of social justice.
"So you go ahead and you continue to do your little protest thing, and that's great. I love it. But just know—the hammer is coming," Beck said. "We've been compiling information on you, your cute little organization, and all the other cute little people that are with you. And when the hammer comes, it's going to be hammering hard and all through the night."
Wallis responded with another open letter to Beck reiterating his request for dialogue.
"Glenn, let us please not resort to threats and attacks," asked Wallis. "Since you were the one to raise this issue and start this whole discussion, I just want it to end in a better and more civil way."
On Wednesday, Beck warned again of an impending exposé on Wallis and his "spread the wealth social justice nonsense," this time on his TV show. He called Wallis a Marxist and a "Jeremiah Wright on sedatives."
"You can hide behind all the sweet words now. But after thirty years America will know," said Beck.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), also took aim at Wallis. Perkins questioned whether Wallis was a "wolf in shepherd's clothing."
"[Wallis] has been the Left's main proponent of merging the biblical idea of justice with the liberal agenda to transform America into a place where the government orchestrates all facets of the economy," Perkins said. "To those who wish to cloak political liberalism in the guise of biblical language, beware. Being a wolf in sheep's clothing is something Scripture strongly condemns."
Sojourners Chief Operating Officer Chuck Gutenson critiqued Perkins's response, including his use of "a cartoon of a drooling, fang-toothed caricature."
"It really would be cool if we could have a debate about ideas that [doesn't] involve trying to score cheap rhetorical points by moving to name calling and personal attacks," he said.
What is Social Justice?
Glenn Beck's original comments on social justice continued to reverberate among Christian advocacy groups. As Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, remarked, the controversy's public nature resulted in "far more heat than light."
But as activists respond to the continuing controversy, they are also answering the question, What is social justice?
Mohler called comments like Beck's "nonsense." While he acknowledged that some have used the term "social justice" for political purposes or to distract from the gospel, Mohler said it is important to work for justice.
"The Gospel is not a message of social salvation, but it does have social implications," said Mohler. "Justice is our concern because it is God's concern."
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told the Associated Baptist Press that if Beck were right, Christians would need to leave Southern Baptist churches. The Baptist Faith and Message statement calls Christians to make Christ supreme in both society and their individual lives.