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Christians Object to Glenn Beck’s Warnings About ‘Social Justice’

Coverage has snowballed in the week since conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck called on Christians to “run as fast as you can” if their churches preach about social or economic justice, which he defines as code words for Communism and Nazism. Summarized in Laurie Goodstein’s New York Times story today, angry backlash has come from a range of Christian leaders and organizations, ranging from the outraged Sojourners antipoverty group to offended members of Beck’s own Church of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons).


GetReligion’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey complains the coverage so far has focused on predictable reactions from Beck’s usual opponents, although several evangelical and conservative Christian groups also prominently advocate some form of social justice on their Web sites and in their charitable activities.

Interestingly, this includes Beck’s own church, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Frank Lockwood, at Bible Belt Blogger. After searching the official LDS site for the terms “social justice,” “economic justice,” and “social gospel,” Lockwood has advised the Fox News personality to “head for the hills!”


Do you agree?

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posted March 12, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Wow, while not being Christian myself, I was always under the impression that Jesus taught compassion and care. Apparently in some Christian sects, Jesus isn’t thought in the thought of love, compassion, and caring for the needy but rather a man carrying a sword.
Personal experience has shown me that those sects that think of Jesus as carrying a sword really do not care for others unless it’s those of their particular sect and grace is only limited to them.
really sad but look at the polarization of Christianity in the U.S.
One is about peace and love, and the other is about war, killing and control in the name of Jesus. I wonder which side Jesus would prefer?

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non-metaphysical stephen

posted March 12, 2010 at 10:29 pm

The conservative demagogues have no interest in Christianity. When was the last time any of them actually spoke about trying to be a disciple of Christ? They’re more concerned about the USA than about the Kingdom of God here in our midst.
We shall know them by their fruits — and from what I can tell, their fruits are withered and rotten….

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Social Justice Mormon

posted March 13, 2010 at 10:06 am

Mr Glenn Beck is a well known TV personality, viewed by tens of millions of people. He has made his viewers well aware that he is a member of the LDS Church. Therefore it ought to be of great concern to us when Mr. Beck, in such status, repeatedly is expressing personal views that harm the Church.
Lately Mr. Beck claimed that people should “run” from a Church if it is expressing concern for social justice, since concern for social justice stems from Communism and Nazism within the church.
Indirectly he is saying that the LDS church opposes social justice. (Or if it does not, then people should run since the Church is evil.)
Since I know that the Church cares for social justice… I hear him, indirectly, claiming us to be Communists and Nazis.
I know that the church neither can nor should regulate what its members say in public… However, I believe and hope that if any other member was reaching out to such large part of the public, maybe through a book, claiming the LDS church to be full of Nazis they would be excommunicated.
Therefore I can see no reason not to excommunicate him.
If he is not excommunicated or if the Church does not disassociate itself from him by issuing a statement in which the public is made aware that his religious views are not backed by the leaders of his religious affiliation – the LDS Church – I would like to know why he deserves special treatment as a member OR why social justice is evil?
(I encourage everyone agreeing with this to address this issue with the Church authorities – so we can clear the name of our beloved LDS Church, in the eyes of the Christian community.)

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Tom Degan

posted March 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

It always saddens me to see a “Child Left Behind” – all grown up. Glenn Beck would be a text book case. A year ago on his unintentionally uproarious FOX Noise program, Beck told his television audience:
“First they came for the bankers, and I did not speak up because I was not a banker. Then they came for the A.I.G. executives, and I did not speak up because I was not an A.I.G executive.”
He then looked the camera dead in the eye and ominously told his clueless viewers that eventually “they” (He never specified exactly who “they” were) would be coming for them. It was a gross perversion of the famous Martin Niemoller poem. It was a none-too-subtle effort to compare the Obama Justice Department’s prosecution of corporate criminals to Hitler’s persecution of the Jews seventy years ago. Nice.
Glenn Beck is an idiot. The fact that he has such a huge audience is all the proof you need to make a case for the jaw-dropping stupidity of so many Americans. It’s kind of funny, really.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

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better than you

posted March 13, 2010 at 11:58 am

Hey, the Mormons lied about gays in California (cf. Prop H8). Why shouldn’t a Mormon lie about his own faith to gain points on the ‘right’?
Typical of religious haters,sadly.

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posted March 13, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Do I believe that, as his critics have structured it, Beck doesn’t care about issues of social and/or economic justice, that he doesn’t care about equity under the law, about homelessness, poverty, illness, etc? No. What I think is that Beck, who has a tendency toward hyperbole and a flair for the dramatic attempted to voice, in a somewhat ham-handed way, a legitimate concern. What concern? A concern of churches being co-opted for partisan political purposes.
To the extent that words have explicit and implicit meanings, and to the extent that they are symbols that carry within them various meanings, specific terms such as “social justice” and “economic justice” do have a history. This is why I say the issue is really a semantic one. Unless I’m mistaken, it’s not social or economic justice per se that Beck was referring to – after all, what church worth its salt isn’t concerned with justice – but rather the specific terms and the connotation they’ve come to carry, specifically within the socio-historical context with which Beck commonly deals.
Beck’s critics should take care to not engage in the same kind of clumsy, caricatured analysis they accuse him of practicing. Otherwise, they become guilty of the same transgression as him.

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posted March 13, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Glenn Beck is a shock value person. He speaks to peoples fears and anxieties and gets them all riled up! I don’t understand why people pay attention to him. Maybe they just like a “boogyman” story every night.

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Ron Krumpos

posted March 13, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Believing in social justice and promoting it are good Christian acts, as well as good Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Pagan acts. It should be obligatory for all of us if we are to be truly human.

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non-metaphysical stephen

posted March 13, 2010 at 10:26 pm

@JVSharpe: “a legitimate concern. What concern? A concern of churches being co-opted for partisan political purposes.”
My own opinion is that conservative politicians co-opted the Christian church in the U.S. for partisan political purposes decades ago. Beck is himself continuing the practice of pretending to appeal to Christianity for the sake of a nationalist agenda that has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. (See also Limbaugh, Coulter, O’Reilly, et al.)

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posted March 14, 2010 at 6:15 am

Beck is a bit of a blow-hard but his message has value. Christians hav to be careful with politics and politicians who want to expand government.
Beck is only showing the historical precedents that looked and sounded good to may at the time but ended up being dark and somewhat destructive to liberty.

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better than you

posted March 14, 2010 at 11:48 am

“his message has value”
I disagree. Telling individuals to “run from” any Church that preaches soical justice has nothing whatsoever to do with either “politics or with politicians who want to expand government”. His messge is anti-Christian, pure and simple.

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Your Name

posted March 14, 2010 at 9:52 pm

@ goodguy:
Not all Christians who advocate for social justice issues are also advocates for bigger government. Be careful, friend, you might be painting with far to broad a brush. Social justice is within the realm of governments in that they can implement programs for the betterment of their people (access to health care, housing, etc), but it is beyond the realm of government in that the government can’t force individuals to be just.
As for “historical precedents”, they show exactly what I am talking about: the government cannot force individuals to be just. Even the Communist regimes could not legislate morality. Government is part of the answer, but not all of the answer. Doing justice relies first and foremost on God, and His compassion acting through us, sometimes independent of man’s government.

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posted April 4, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Beck is a media prostitute being pimped by FOXNoise. His opinion is best left to the void of space. He will say anything to get attention, and the more he is quoted, the more the FOXNoise cash registers ring. He belongs in the same pasture pile as Phelp’s Phools.

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