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This place matters

Thursday, March 17, 2011


So Glenn Beck. Talking about this guy literally makes me nauseated. It's not his politics I have a problem with; I actually agree with this man on a disconcerting number of issues. It's that he's hateful, and he tries to drag his followers down into his ideology of hate. It's that he uses his fame and charisma to force vitriol down the throats of his flock. But it's especially the way disrespects Christianity by trying to twist Christ's teachings to serve his beliefs. He says: 

"Look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it [sic]*, run as fast as you can."

He says:
"We must make clear the definition and delineation between Gospel principals and social justice."

Beck defines social justice as "forced redistribution of wealth with a hostility towards individual property under the guise of charity and/or justice." What's funny about the statement is that, take out the word "forced," and you've got what Christ was all about. Christ echoes these words from Matthew time and time and time again:
"If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Amen**, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. It is easer for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."
Jesus, my friends, explicitly, explicitly states that "individual property" stands between people and their salvation and explicitly states that the people who follow him should give up everything - should, in a literal sense, redistribute their wealth, if they want to follow him.
Ya'll, I'm not saying we should force people to give up their wealth. I'm not even saying you have to agree with Christ about giving up everything you own. I certainly haven't. I like owning stuff. Sorry poor people, I'm keeping my X-Box. 
What I am saying is that Christ is about nothing if not social justice. Christ is about nothing if not about sacrificing the wants of the wealthy for the needs of the poor. Christ is about nothing if not giving up every last thing we have to make the world better, to end suffering, and to bring about justice. 
Find me a passage in the New Testament that says that social justice is evil. Find me a passage in the New Testament that says that rich people should keep all of their money and the poor should suck it up. Hell, find me a passage in the New Testament that shows Jesus being pro-business, anti-socialist, or opposed to sacrificing to help others. 
If you try to build your argument against social justice on the Bible, you've got one seriously flimsy foundation.
I like what my friend Lucius once said about faith, which was something to the effect of: "Anyone who tells you it's your Christian duty to do anything other than love God above all others and love your neighbor as yourself is full of it."   

* Yes, I realize that this is the sort of smug grammar-Nazism I profess to dislike, but this guy really tweaks me off, therefore, I'm calling him on the fact that "economic justice" and "social justice" are words, not word, and therefore require a plural pronoun. Yes, I went there.
**Nifty fact: Amen doesn't just mean yes. One of the reasons that Jesus was considered so radical, and so blasphemous to those who hated him, is that amen actually means something like "God says this and this is so."
Also, when Jesus calls God Abba, most translate the word as father. It actually means papa or daddy. Imagine if we were all close enough with the god of our understanding to call him or her mommy or daddy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glenn Beck is a plague of the worst sort. There's a Beck-ite senior citizen lady at the place where i'm doing physical therapy on my shoulder. There is also a nice Muslim lady who's there in her head scarf and long sleeves and pants. 2 weeks ago the Beck-ite was spewing Beckisms about how awful the Muslims and Arabs are right in front of the Muslim lady. I wanted the floor to swallow me up. When did people stop respecting their fellow man?