Is “social justice” a Christian code-word for “communism and Nazism”? Fox News’s Glenn Beck says so, and evangelical leaders are striking back

Fox News personality Glenn Beck has told his viewers to leave Christian churches that preach social justice. Now evangelical leaders are striking back, with Jim Wallis leading the way.

But Jerry Falwell Jr. is backing up Beck, who says that “social justice” in church rhetoric is to be considered a code-word and cover-up for “communism and Nazism.” Read about it here or here.

What do you think? Is there a place in the preaching and life of the church for social justice? Is correcting social inequities part of the “good news” of the gospel?

11 responses to “Is “social justice” a Christian code-word for “communism and Nazism”? Fox News’s Glenn Beck says so, and evangelical leaders are striking back

  1. Well said, Chris. My hope is that this is not just a tempest in a teapot and Christians will be motivated to do something Christlike. It’s all fine to be reactionary and stand up on the side of our “right” but we also need to show that we believe what we say. So the best way to prove the Glenn Becks of this world wrong is to go live out the gospel – feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, visit the prisoner. Live as gently on earth as we can, so that we can say when the Master returns, here is what is yours, with interest.

  2. I’m British. What authority does Glenn Beck have to tell Christians what they should or should not be doing? He’s not even a member of a Christian Church himself. Why would people like Jerry Falwell Jnr who is at least an orthodox Christian in most of his doctrinal theology, support Glenn Beck’s unchristian rants? Surely Christians are supposed to love their neighbours as themselves, love their enemies and do good to all. As a so called Christian Nation one would expect the US Government to actively support those ideals. Do some American Christians have a different Bible to the rest of the World?

    • Good points, all.

      I just want to note that the issue for Beck, Falwell, and others like them is not whether the Bible tells us to love our neighbors. It’s whether Jesus and the Bible tell us we should work politically against systemic evil. The modern critics of the social gospel say “no.” I still think they’re wrong, but let’s not caricature their position. This is not an attack on you Ayla, by the way, just a tendency we have when we are faced with this sort of anti-social-gospel position; “love our neighbors” is where we all agree. It’s the “how” that we disagree on.

      One place I think these critics of a social gospel get off-track is when they point to Jesus and say: “He didn’t work for social change; therefore we shouldn’t.”

      Well, Jesus didn’t live in the same sort of social reality that we do. Nor did he have the same personal mission we do. Hierarchical, authoritarian, patriarchal (etc.) assumptions reigned in his time. And his business was not to run local crusades against these things, but to save the world through his death and resurrection.

      So when we see him not addressing systemic evil directly–although of course he did in the resurrection and atonement, at least indirectly, and he had some choice words about justice for the Pharisees who tithed mint and cumin but didn’t address the plight of the poor–then we must allow (1) for the social distance between us and his time and (2) for the difference between our human mission and his divine mission.

      How dare we assume that his, and Paul’s, clear teachings on justice for the poor, the equality of all persons before God, etc., should not be translated in our own situation into modes and actions that are most appropriate to our own situation? Yeah, let’s just tell all the women to shut up in church, too, because Paul once, within his own cultural context, had harsh words for a certain group of women. . . .

      ‘Scuse me while I calm down a bit . . .

  3. It’s hard to see how the message of the Gospels isn’t to take care of your neighbors, especially those neighbors less fortunate than yourself. What else does “do unto others…” mean?

    One can certainly draw a line from social justice to liberation theology to Marxism, but I very much doubt that Glenn Beck knows enough about church history to draw that line, and even if he did, it is only one of many lines that can be drawn from social justice. Most of the others lead to Christ, not to Karl Marx.

  4. Normally my only exposure to Glenn comes from the Colbert Report and the Daily Show on Comedy Central. But, i spent a considerable amount of time listening to him and other conservative commentators a couple of weeks ago while NPR was doing its annual fund drive. While I listened i learned:

    1. Public schools are government brain washing tools
    2. Mental health screening is a government tool for ‘attitude correction’
    3. the health care proposal is the ‘doomsday device’
    4. ‘progressivism’ is the devil
    5. Jesus main teaching was “help those who help themselves”
    6. Compulsive disorders are character flaws
    7. Everyone (who’s really American) comes standard with a perfectly operating moral compass that assures that they will do the right thing in any and all situations–everyone who doesn’t is either lazy or liberal.
    8. another great depression would have been better than the bailout
    9. talking is better than listening
    10. i should be afraid of everything

    I’d have more, but i have homework…:sigh:

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