“Every generation needs a new revolution.”
-Thomas Jefferson

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
-Martin Luther King Jr.

Staceyann Chin, National Equality March 10/10/09 photo: Ed Needham

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why We Love Jim Wallis and Pray for Glenn Beck.

Have you been following this? We have.

We nearly had a collective coronary at The Deal last week when l'enfant terrible, Glenn Beck, announced that "social justice" was a "perversion of the bible" and a "code word" for communism and nazism. We scoured the Book of Mormon for corroborating testimony, and while we found some crazy stuff, we found nothing THAT crazy.

Really, next to "love" or "compassion," what truly captures the essence of the gospels like "social justice"? Was not Jesus, arguably, the most significant social justice activist in history? Seriously, what IS this guy smoking?

As usual, our friend Jim Wallis, responds beautifully in his column for the Huffington Post:

"Dear Glenn,

Since I challenged your claim that "social justice" was a code word for Communism and Nazism, and your calling on Christians to leave their churches if their pastors preach social justice, you have begun to modify what you are saying -- and I appreciate that. You said social justice was a "perversion of the gospel," and I countered that to assert that, instead, it is at the heart of the gospel and part of the core meaning of biblical faith. And the church authorities you wanted Christians to turn their pastors in to would all agree that social, economic, and racial justice are integral to the message of Jesus.

But now you've moved from labeling social justice as Communist or Fascist to saying that it only means "big government" and that it violates the separation of church and state. Then you said that some Christians mean Marxism by that term and some do not. Finally, you said that if social justice means "empowering" people to act individually, then that might be okay. Well, that's progress, but there's still some need for conversation here. Christians can have different views of the role of government but still agree that social justice is crucial. Very few who believe that are Marxists. And while we all preach empowerment to live out the gospel, we don't think the meaning of social justice should be reduced to just private charity. Biblical justice also involves changing structures, institutions, systems, and policies, as well as changing hearts to be more generous. So there is still a lot to talk about here.

I am glad to see you are beginning to recognize the deep richness of the term "social justice." I and my organization, Sojourners, have committed 35 years to exploring this and to working with Christians across the spectrum to deepen their commitment to this essential, biblical concept. Now that you're willing to admit that social justice is more than just a code word, we have a wonderful opportunity for the two of us to sit down together and have an open and public discussion on what social justice really means and how Christians are called to engage in the struggle for justice.

Why don't we do that, on your show, or in some other venue? And let's make this a civil dialogue and not engage in personal attacks on each other -- which is never helpful in trying to sort out what is true. So let's talk about the heart of the matter. When would you like to get together for this conversation?

Jim Wallis"

We at The Deal cannot wait! C'mon, Mr. Beck, bite.

Read the article in it's original at the Huffpost here.

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