Eugene Cho

i’ve got two words for glenn beck

By now, most of you have heard the brouhaha regarding what Glenn Beck said on his radio and TV show recently:

“I’m begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”

Well, in light of my non-verbosive response to Pat Roberton’s devilish comments about Hait, I’ve got two words for Glen Beck:

Seriously, what do you think about what he said?

Okay, I have more than those above two words. Here are some brief thoughts:

1] Stuff gets lost in translation and the words “social justice” are classic examples. Unfortunately, these terms are thrown around as often as I rupture my Achilles tendons. Do people know what they mean because these words likely mean different things for different folks? I have had people get upset because their assumptions and presumptions about those words or my views. And while I rarely use the words “social” and “justice” together, the latter is an integral part of my understanding of the whole Scriptures. For example, I had several folks at my church get upset when I agreed to be on the cover of Sojourners during the last election season since Sojourners is associated by some as “those liberal folks that have left their Christian roots…”

2] But did GB really say that those words are “code words” for communism and Nazism? Even if you’re a supporter of Glenn Beck, you have to call that out as ridiculous. No?

3] I don’t personally like Glenn Beck. He may make the occasional “valid” points but he’s an example of extremism that’s not good but it’s apparent that in our sensationalistic culture is what captures the headlines, the air waves, ratings and -> money (viewers, advertisers, etc). Sadly, ‘centrists’ don’t get too much attention from folks. Maybe I should label myself as an “extreme centrist evangelical missional influence?”

Is he entitled to an opinion? Of course…but it does amaze me how “popular” he is.

4] Quest doesn’t have the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ anywhere on our website (to my knowledge) but we still have our share of folks that leave our church citing numerous reasons. Personally, I have been called a liberal, a heretic, an evangelical, a conservative, an angry asian man, a megalomaniac, a communist, and some other things but never a Nazi (just wanted to clear that up just in case you had doubts).

But Quest does speak (and attempts) of pursue mercy, justice, and humility not because they are code words for some sort of agenda but because they are central to the Triune God.

How can you read the Scriptures or examine the life and ministry of Christ and not sense that mercy, justice, and compassion – particularly to those who are marginalized – aren’t dear to the heart of God?

5] Please don’t leave your churches just because they have the words “social justice” on their website. If you want a good reason to leave your churches:

Leave if the gospel of Christ isn’t being preached and lived out.

And thankfully, justice is an integral part to the gospel of Christ.

Consider the words of Christ as he directly or indirectly explained the gospel to the disciples of John the Baptizer – who was so thoroughly convinced that Jesus was the Messiah and the One that he had been preparing the way for.

But Christ surprised him. He preached and more significantly, lived out the Gospel and was ushering in a Kingdom that he could not fully grasp. Get this: John the Baptizer was no theological or spiritual lightweight but he just missed it which is why he sent his disciples (while he was imprisoned by Herod) to ask Jesus:

“Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” [Luke 7:21]

To which, Jesus replied:

“Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” [Luke 7:22]

That’s a beautiful Gospel. That’s good news…

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110 Responses

  1. thyquill says:

    I can’t tell much of the context of Beck’s message by that one quote above. Eugene, you should read more about Beck, and listen more to get a contextual overview of what he’s saying.

    Without knowing what he meant by the surrounding comments but knowing his ideology, I would suspect that he’s saying there are people in this world that put social justice and economic justice above freedom, that is, they value things like income redistribution (as if we don’t have enough of that already) and civil liberties up on a higher priority than freedom.

    Without freedom we have none of the rest of the ancillary benefits in my view.

    • dritta says:

      thyquill –
      As I read the gospels, I cannot find anywhere that Jesus valued his own freedom, particularly over the needs of others. He called us to be servants, and gave up his own freedom as he died on the cross.

      Giving up grace for “freedom” seems a particularly poor choice. Glenn Beck’s obsession with it seems far from the heart of God.

      • Tim says:

        He might not have spoke of his personal freedom, But yet he railed against the ruling class, The Pharisees who were oppressing people with the law.

        God delivered them out of Egypt and gave them a structure to rule themselves. Exodus 18:13-26

        Go to http://www.biblegateway.com and type in freedom in the keyword spot. One major thread in the bible is freedom.

      • D says:

        Jesus never said be servants to the American Government… I believe that is what Glenn’s point was. If you are called to be a servant it’s to God.

    • Andy M says:

      The individualistic American ideal of “freedom” is not present in the scriptures nor was it a value that Jesus presented to his followers. Jesus promoted loving and serving other people, including and in particular our enemies.

      On the other hand, the fight for civil liberties is about freedom! It is the fight for equal treatment without discrimination because if someone is being discriminated against then they are not free the same as the discriminator.

      The people promoting income redistribution likely do so because they see the poor people of this country or the world as not as “free” as the wealthier people. Economic poverty is a limitation of freedom in many ways.

      If you support true freedom, then you should support those things. Debate about the details, but the overall point of those movements is freedom.

      • Tim says:

        A. It’s not freedom if you take away what someone else has earned. Show a verse for that. Look at the story of the talents.
        B. Income redistribution isn’t biblical or am I wrong? Scripture?
        C. I live and work with the urban poor and many people are exploited for political power by hanging a few dollars in front of them while not addressing their real issues.

        • Andy M says:

          @Tim,
          A. The Old Testament laws required that the people give to the Temple, the Temple being at the time the Government, the Government being an entity that existed for the benefit of the people, specifically for the protection and support of the poorest people. Did God mean to take away their freedom by requiring his people to give to the poor, even through the government of the time?

          Honestly, I appreciate your point of view, because I think you are using the word “freedom” closer to it’s more pure form. Look back at my post and read, “the individualistic American Ideal of ‘freedom’ is not present in the scriptures”. You are right that a key theme in the Bible is freedom, but “freedom” as often spoken by Americans means something very different than what Jesus meant by the term.

          B. Income redistribution being right or wrong? Might depend on exactly how it would be done. Military force, wrong. Individual and communal giving, right and ideal, but less likely.

          But anyways, my point wasn’t really in support of income redistribution. I just believe that the reason that people who do support it do so because they believe that poor people are not as “free” as the wealthy. In many ways, I would tend to agree with that. But I may disagree greatly as to how it could be done.

          C. I don’t doubt it. And if it is social justice we work for, then it is those kinds of practices that we work to stop.

          • Tim says:

            Income redistribution being right or wrong? Might depend on exactly how it would be done. Military force, wrong. *if you don’t pay whatever they say you go to jail. I think that is forced.

            There is nothing unbiblical about wealth and it’s not my job to judge anyone else’s giving only my own. I think there is a verse for that.

            It’s easier for my to say that people I feel are rich should give more and not looking at how I can.
            http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/22652.html

            The top 5% pay 60% of the taxes
            The top 10% pay 70%
            The top 25% pay 56%
            The top 50% pay 97%
            The bottom 50% pay 3%

            People are paid to be poor under the illusion of charity and lifting them up. I experience this often as I watch people take advantage of the poor.

            Do a little research and check out when the social programs in the US started. Look at how the % poor have grown as the programs have grown.

            • Andy M says:

              A soldier with a gun doesn’t follow around an IRS tax collector to enforce taxes. So it isn’t militarily enforced.

              We have a republic, and our government gives us more say in how things are done than most other nations in world history. We are taxed, because we chose to be taxed, not because some disconnected government that we have no influence on forced it upon us. If we don’t want to be taxed, then we should change that, but also expect that all the benefits that have come from the taxes to disappear. And if it is some disconnected government that we have no influence on, then why talk about it at all? The only option at that point is to either submit, or rebel.

              It truly isn’t my place to judge another person for their giving, or lack of. But then, what was it that the Biblical Prophets did when they criticized Israel and Judah for neglecting their poor? Was that judging, or was that speaking out against injustice? I haven’t said that any rich people are damned because they aren’t giving enough. I’ve merely said that they are not giving nearly enough, and that the system that has allowed them to amass so much wealth is unjust and unbiblical.

              • Tim says:

                A. If you don’t pay you go to jail. I know taxes are needed but I am against wasted taxes in the name of good. If someone is bad at what they do you don’t keep giving them more money.
                When billions add up throughout all of the programs it becomes TRILLIONS.

                Here is one example. Medicare and Medicaid made an estimated $23.7 billion in improper payments in 2007. These included $10.8 billion for Medicare and $12.9 billion for Medicaid. Medicare’s fee-for-service reduced its error rate from 4.4 percent to 3.9 percent. (U.S. Office of Management and Budget, 2008)
                Medicare and Medicaid lose an estimated $60 billion or more annually to fraud, including $2.5 billion in South Florida. (Miami Herald, August 11, 2008)
                Wasted. The US GDP for a year is 15 trillion dollars. our national debt by 2011 will be 14.1 Trillion. How is Debt biblical? Just curious do you live among poor people?

                B. Are you a profit?

              • Andy M says:

                The answer is not get rid of programs, the answer if to fix the programs. I’m against wasteful spending as well, but you seem to be pushing to cut out the social programs completely and I can’t agree with that.

                I’m not trying to say that I’m a prophet, I’m simply pointing to the Prophets in the Bible who rose up at the times where the gap between the rich and poor was greatest. The current divide between the rich and poor is unbiblical. I agree that debt is unbiblical, but I also say that having a few insanely rich and masses of poor people is also unbiblical.

                Your answer to these problems is an individualistic answer, but it is a systemic problem. It is a problem in our economic system, and requires a systemic answer.

    • Tim says:

      Here is some context:
      STU: Because I’m looking at our transcript and, you know, maybe we transcribed it wrong, but you you said social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, the idea hang on, Stu is saying that I’m advising people to leave their church? Yes! If I’m going to Jeremiah Wright’s church. In other words, when you said something, I asked you in your ear to clarify it.

      Rejected bumper sticker item for the Glenn Beck Studio Store…

      GLENN: Oh, my gosh.

      STU: Which you did immediately afterwards by saying you referred to Jeremiah right’s type church, a Black Liberation Theology or Marxism or church that’s turned into a political arm.

      GLENN: Yeah. Religion scholars say the term social justice now listen. This is a defense if you know history, this is their defense? Religious scholars say the term social justice was coined in the 1800s, codified by successive popes and adopted widely by protestant churches in the 1900s.

      PAT: After the progressive movement had kicked in. Jeez.

      GLENN: For the love of Pete. Marx started in 19 1848. All of this stuff started percolating, all of Nietzsche comes along, everything, it’s redistribution of wealth. I’ve told you this, the progressive movement started with people like Woodrow Wilson whose father was a preacher! They perverted Christianity! “The concept is that Christians should not merely give to the poor but also work to correct unjust conditions that keep people poor.” Yes! You’re exactly right. We should as Christians do that. But then there’s that added little step of having the government do it, not you. “Many Christians consider it a reoccurring theme in scripture. Mr. Beck himself is a convert to Mormonism, a faith that identifies itself as part of the Christian family but nevertheless rejected by many Christians. Philip Barlow, Arrington professor of Mormon history and culture at Utah State University said one way to read the book of Mormon is a fast track on social justice.” Yes, that is one way to read it.

  2. “Social Justice” is tricky, because churches have a hard time balancing it with it’s other calling, spreading the Gospel. Evangelicals see “social justice” as the thing “liberal” churches do in lieu of evangelization. Social justice churches see “evangelization” as what evangelicals do to justify themselves and not perform their responsibility of caring for the poor.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      which is why i think we ought to lean more towards “justice” –

      and everything that we do as Christians should be in response to the revelation of Christ to the world and our lives.

      • Jim says:

        Help me out here, pastors. Isn’t the original word that is translated “justice” in many texts the same as the the word “rightoeusness.” If that is so I believe justice is probably much closer to our core calling a the Kingdom than we let on. By the way “justice” is by it’s nature “social” so there’s no need to say social justice unless your just wanting to ingratiate yourself to one political perspective. I’d stick to preaching justice and leave it at that..

        • Tim says:

          Good thought Jim, I think we need to think through the words we use. If a Progressive is using words like SJ and a Christ followers are using words like SJ how are people supposed to see the difference between a secular vs Jesus. I just see the church embracing SJ and although it sounds like a good thing it means different things to different groups. SJ to Progressives (it’s roots) (http://www.jstor.org/pss/2126139) (http://www.ssa.gov/history/fcspeech.html)
          means TAKING from the haves by force and giving away their property to people they feel are have nots. (This is not justice) In my neighborhood we get our doors kicked in and our homes robbed, we live across the street from drug houses, i know girls that are beaten, mothers that are addicts, dad’s that are dealers, families with 5 fathers, 150 schools are under investigation for pushing kids through and cheating on the standardized tests, our kids in the hood can hardly read, child prostitution is rampant, trash is out of control, abuse is all around us, We drive through prostitutes and pimps to go help kids with their homework because their parents are checked out and I can go on and on and on. We live here in SW Atlanta and to be honest I don’t get to see very much justice here because our churches have fled to the burbs. Anytime I hear the words SJ I wonder if it comes from people who live among and have relationships with the poor or from a coffee house christian or missional tourist that doesn’t understand what really happens here.
          Not trying to offend anyone but justice to be is standing up for these communities in the communities.

    • Josh says:

      Perhaps the pursuit of “social justice” issues and evangelization are not mutually exclusive terms. Perhaps pursuing social justice is evangelism. The heavily “evangelical” church stresses making converts and learning to behave “morally” and this is a vibrant faith. Look at the life of Jesus, it was radically different. . why? b/c he cared for the poor, sick, and widowed. He associated with groups of people that culture shunned = social justice.

    • Tim says:

      I live and care for the poor in SW Atlanta I am also an Evangelical. I don’t see SJ as liberal but I see gov. with their version of SJ that is redistribution of earned wealth (the bible isn’t against) and redistribution of property.
      SJ sounds great until you know where it comes from. It began with Marx in 1889 and was picked up by Father Coughlin in the 30’s. It was and is part of the progressive agenda.
      http://www.ssa.gov/history/fcspeech.html

  3. Jonathan says:

    @thyquill

    I’m not sure I understand your point. First, with regards to income redistribution, income inequality has increased by nearly 20% since 1967 here in the US. When you consider that approximately 1 billion people worldwide live on less than 1 dollar a day (adjusted for purchasing power parity, in other words, they can buy exactly what we can buy for 1 dollar), it’s pretty clear that no, in fact we don’t have enough, or at least the right kind. The Biblical mandate is given by Paul, writing in II Corinthians 8:

    Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.”

    As for your 2nd point, I’m unsure what you mean when you say that some are valuing civil liberties above freedom. Specifically, how is that possible? Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t civil liberties a vital aspect of freedom?

  4. Tony Lin says:

    I use the word “Biblical Justice” instead of social justice, for the very reason you pointed out in #1. It could mean anything to anyone. For the same reason, I don’t use the term “Evangelical” to describe myself.

    I’m personally very put off by people who try to “hide” Christ from public discourse. Like Christian radio stations claiming to play “inspirational music” instead of Christian music. I don’t know, I haven’t listened in a long time. Maybe they’ve done away with Christ and just play a lot of feel good music. My point being, if your reason for fighting for justice is Biblical, then just say it. If people get offended, at least they get offended by the Biblical revelation of Christ’s call to justice.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      good comment, tony. much to ponder even in that short comment.

      so, how do you “describe yourself?”

      • Tony Lin says:

        I like to say that I’m a “Convinced Christian.” Most people ask what that is so I get a chance to explain. Convinced because I wasn’t always sure but now I am. So I’m a convinced Christian.

        From the pulpit I say “Gospel Christianity” or “Gospel-centered” Christian, that my life is defined by the fact that I deserved damnation but got Salvation by the grace of God.

    • dritta says:

      I’m not sure you escape the ambiguity by using the word “biblical”. Does this mean that adulterers get stoned? There are many people who understand very different things from that word…

    • Tim says:

      Love it Tony! Well said. i also like how you describe yourself below.

    • I realize this reply is about 7 months late, but I had to chime in about the notion about Christian radio. The Christian music industry, if anything, has done the exact opposite of what you’re describing here, Tony. If anything, the word ‘Christ’ has been used to create a subculture of music catered towards the Christian market. There was backlash to this since there began a debate that it doesn’t make sense to categorize music as such (“Christian”), since it doesn’t describe the genre. That is why the radio stations started describing the music “inspirational” (which doesn’t really serve its purpose either), not to take Christ out of the airwaves. Also, what exactly is music that doesn’t have ‘Christ’ in it? It is necessarily ungodly? Why is it implied that feel-good music is wrong and not Christ-like? Does everything we do and say have to explicitly wave a banner that says Jesus? Does it matter what we call it? Social justice, biblical justice, evangelical, Christian, Catholic… if we’re motivated by the GOSPEL, there is nothing to prove. We know for ourselves and we act based on our convictions. That is enough.

  5. Chris says:

    I found his “argument” so ridiculous that I can’t really begin to think about how to refute it (except to build an explanation for why we care about social/Biblical justice at all, from scratch).

    For one, I’d like to see the Glenn Beck-approved list of churches in America that blatantly oppose social justice.

    • Tim says:

      The problem is that SJ means TAKING from someone and giving it to someone else. How is that Biblical?

      • Kjel says:

        TAKING from someone and giving it to someone else? This is something that ALREADY happens in places where power is stratified. It is silly to think that people with power wouldn’t do everything possible to accumulate more power. Ignoring selfishness is one of the main reasons communism will never work. Ignoring selfishness is also a reason there is such an imbalance in compensation the United States. Power seeks power. Wealth seeks wealth.

        SJ as I view it is a way to level the playing field for all people. It doesn’t seek to make everyone equal(people clearly have different gifts, callings, dreams, desires, and work ethics). Rather, SJ seeks to change the institution of power and create an environment where people have the opportunity to seek self determination.

      • Andy M says:

        Does the term have no value just because some people use it that way? I am guessing that there are many people, including myself, that would use the term as it should be used. As I see it Social Justice is justice for everyone, in particular in protection of the poor because of their vulnerability.

        Who is given the power to level the field? We the people. We have a government that, while flawed, has checks and balances and is set up that the people of the country can influence it. It is set up so that it should by design work by majority rule, except for when majority rule infringes upon the rights of the minority.

        And note, just because I am completely for Social Justice, I do not expect, nor wish, that everyone be at the exact same level of wealth. I am not a communist, nor socialist. But I believe strongly that the gap between the rich and the poor is ridiculous and sinful. Should everyone have exactly the same, no, should 20% of the population control 80% of the wealth, no.

        • Tim says:

          I think the term SJ has 2 meanings.
          To the church it means helping the poor through compassion. This in itself is a good thing but there are people using the same language today separate from the church

          To progressives it means taking from someone who has earned it and giving someone else’s property to someone who has not.

          The danger is the origins of SJ original meaning is still alive and well today. http://www.ssa.gov/history/fcspeech.html

          The top 5% pay 60% of the taxes
          The top 10% pay 70%
          The top 25% pay 56%
          The top 50% pay 97%
          The bottom 50% pay 3%

  6. Kevin says:

    This is a prime example of the Right trying to control the Church through fear, too. Also, it should be noted — many conservatives believe Beck is a mainline Christian and they support him, but the truth is he’s Mormon. Their “gospel” is very different than that of the Bible. They interpret the Bible and who Christ is very differently than we do. So it’s no surprise to hear something like this come from Beck. It’s both politically charged and Biblically inaccurate.

    • Edmond says:

      >So it’s no surprise to hear something like this come from Beck.

      I’m a Mormon, and I was surprised by it. But on the other hand, Glenn Beck makes many, many Mormons like me cringe almost daily.🙂

      The LDS church doesn’t really use the term “social justice” much in teaching the gospel, however. I can’t guess why, but they do invite members to follow the example of Jesus Christ as portrayed in the New Testament and as alluded to in Mosaic law.

  7. glen beck is just making money playing a game (in my opinion) but he brings up a disease in the church. the class wars have no place within the Family of God.

    I believe we are devote our lives to struggle for love and justice, for the sake of the gospel. I believe we are to freely give. But its to our detriment if we let any ideology define our brother or sister as a “them” or an “other”. We can’t let anyone convince us that we are Right or Left first and christians second.

    • The Chiz says:

      EXACTLY. He is Stephen Colbert without realizing he is Stephan Colbert. And his followers don’t realize he’s Colbert either. He has managed to become a pastische of Parody.

    • Tim says:

      Do you watch the show? By your statement it sounds like you don’t.

      • Andy M says:

        Does it matter? His post doesn’t say anything about Glenn Beck that would be doubted by many people. Like others have said, Glenn Beck is an entertainer, not a news person, though he may try to look like one. He has a show because it makes money, makes Fox money, makes him money, otherwise he wouldn’t be on the air.

        The rest of his post was his own thoughts, which are not based on whether he watches Glenn Beck.

  8. rachel says:

    I agree with Matt. It’s very obvious that Beck is putting on a show ala Rush L but with his own take on being radical.

    Those dudes make me so mad. I think they make Jesus mad too, but that’s just my opinion.

  9. Grace says:

    PE, I love this post. Thank you for your words.

  10. prentice says:

    It seems to me that GB may not have a holistic ecclesiology thus becoming extremely presumptuous. Nonetheless, I dont feel like you need to adhere to the Christian faith nor claim allegiance to Christ to acknowledge that this world is broken, people suffer and there are needs, therefore justice is needed (and required within a biblical framework). So why is seeking justice in society so wrong? Perhaps he has an issue with terminology? Perhaps the words “social justice” has been lost in translation.

    Ill be the first to confess that politics is not my area of expertise (for better or worse) so I wont even go there but in my understanding of the Gospel and more specifically, the Trinity wether in a social/economic/relational view, we we will always land in the areas of justice, sacrifice, generosity, mercy and humility.

    • Tim says:

      Where does the bible give anyone the right to TAKE something from someone who earned it and give it to someone who hasn’t? Isn’t that thou shall not steal. That is what SJ does. Unless there is another def. I don’t know about.

      • Kjel says:

        Right back to the “earning” again. Capitalism is a system that allows for someone like Carlos Slim Helu (yes I know he’s Mexican but the issues are similar…not to mention Liberation Theology has roots in Latin America) to earn an average of $27 million a day over the last 2 years while much of the country gets by on $2 a day. Is he really 13.5 million times more important than a rural farmer? Does he really CREATE that much more value for the world?

        Perhaps if our capacity to “earn” wasn’t this distorted there wouldn’t be nearly the need to talk about Social Justice.

        • Tim says:

          a. There is nothing biblical about your argument.
          b. Capitalism has brought more people out of poverty than any other system in the history in the world. That is why the French put the statue of liberty here to say to France look what the poor and unwanted can become in America. We see a perverted version of capitalism today.
          c. If you look at the history of the US you will find that the number of poor began to rise dramatically with the social programs of the 30’s and it’s gotten worse the every year since.
          From the President: By 1928 even the president, Hoover, was claiming that America had all but rid itself of poverty. The nation was fulfilling a previous president’s pronouncement: “The business in America is business” – Calvin Coolidge.
          d. Wealth has nothing to do with worth.
          e. I want to see justice too but justice is the church/people moving into poor neighborhoods living among and loving people to show them how to get out of poverty. They need friends not programs.

          • Andy M says:

            A. Where are the scriptures that promote Capitalism like you do? I haven’t seen anything like that, if anything the early church seemed much more socialistic than Capitalistic. Not that they gave to the government, but rather that they pooled their money to take care of everyone.

            B. We do not have pure Capitalism in the U.S., never have had it. If we did there would not be any government control on business. Our government has had to step into the world of business in order to protect workers from unfair wages, unsafe conditions, to protect markets from being dominated by single corporations that would unfairly raise prices, and various other problems that have arisen from bad business practices and the wealthy taking advantage of the poor. Capitalism has it’s benefits, but please do not defend it as an ideal.

            C. Is that because poverty actually increased, or that we finally were keeping track of it? You may be right, you may be wrong. I’ve seen enough information to be able to doubt statements like yours in either direction.

            D. In Capitalism, which you promote so strongly, wealth is supposed to be directly connected to worth. The more you work, the more your worth, the more you have wealth. And the opposite is supposed to be true as well.

            But I agree, worth should not be based on wealth. The poor should be just as worth our time and effort as anyone else.

            E. I agree, but while I want that to be true, I see no problem in also promoting good social programs to help the poor as well. Because the truth of it is that there is not enough of us in this country who truly wish to do that to actually get it done. If the people of this country would do it, then I agree, there would be no need to have any programs or government intervention. But as things are, that is not how it is happening. So in the absence of my ideal, I promote social programs that will help the poor as well.

            • Tim says:

              This is how I view the poor now that i live among the poor. To put all of this into words and small sentences is impossible
              http://beltlinebikeshop.com/2009/11/12/what-is-poverty/

              Capitalism isn’t the problem, sins of man are the problem “greed” and capitalism are not equal.
              Capitalism makes what Bill Gates is doing possible. All the NP’s possible. The wife of Ray Kroc able to give 1.5Billion to the Salvation Army. http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jan/21/local/me-kroc21
              Rich people are easy targets.

              • Andy M says:

                Capitalism as we have it allows there to be a gap between the wealthy and the poor unheard of in history. I say that is unbiblical. The Prophets of the Old Testament rose up in the times when the gap between the rich and the poor was the greatest.

                There is such a thing as systemic injustice. You focus purely on individual sins, none of which I deny. But you support a system, that with all it’s benefits, systemically makes the rich wealthier, and the poor poorer.

                The rich are easy targets, much of the time because they should be targeted. To whom much is given, much is expected.

                Capitalism did not make Bill Gates what he is. Capitalism merely made him a multi-billionaire, and thank God that he, unlike most other million and billionaires, has decided to commit his entire fortune to doing good, not just a little bit of it. Capitalism makes him richer, it says nothing about him spending his money on helping people. That came from God, his conscience, his upbringing, whatever, not from Capitalism. If it had, then why aren’t all the millionaires and billionaires giving away most of their fortunes in the same way? Look it up, they aren’t. You can’t use Bill Gates as a posterboy for the extremely rich, most of them give just enough money to make it look good but not put a dent in their fortune. I’m not saying that all of them are like that, but most are. Warren Buffet is another who has gone against the trend, but do realize that they are not typical.
                http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/02/weekinreview/02johnson.html?_r=1

                Honestly, I’m not against wealth. I am not saying and have not been saying that everyone should have exactly the same. I’m saying that our system of a few people controlling most of the money, is ridiculous and unbiblical.

  11. Seth says:

    @Tony

    “Convinced Christian” and “Gospel Christianity” sounds incredibly elitist. Why is there such a priority to put a label on absolutely everything? When are we the church going to start putting more time energy into living out the gospel (i.e. “justice”) than we do labeling?

    • Tony Lin says:

      Seth, there is nothing wrong with labels. Labels are a part of life, it’s the wrong labels that is the problem. But if you don’t label yourself, someone else will (like GB). The Bible is filled with “labels”, the Sermon on the Mount “labels” a bunch of people. We are called to be witnesses, that requires that people know what/who you are witnessing to.

      • Andy M says:

        Labels, while making discussions easier, most often creates an “us” and “them” mentality. Labels make assumptions, like if you are labeled, or label yourself, as a Republican, then people will attach all kinds of ideas and things to you that you may or may not agree with. Labels confine us to particular sets of ideas, and I personally just don’t see much benefit to them. Most often when someone I’m talking with uses some kind of label, I have to ask them further questions in order to truly see what they believe or what they think, because I’ve found that different people using the same label are often talking about very different things.

        In my opinion, being a “witness” isn’t a label, its a description of action. You can be a Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, etc, without any action, but you cannot be a “witness” without action.

    • Tim says:

      If you understand the origins of SJ that it came from Mark in 1889 and was picked up by Father Coughlin in the 30’s (google it) he had a radio show with 30-40 million listeners. It is part of the Progressive platform which if you don’t know has led to many of our countries problems today.

      If you want a better understanding read the book The 5000 year leap.

  12. Marissa says:

    Great points. During Lent, as a small group, we are reading through “Hope Lives” by Amber Van Schooneveld. Last night’s discussion centered on the biblical theme of God’s heart for the marginalized, for the poor, for the oppressed. You can’t not see it – from the provisions of the law to the message of the prophets to Jesus’ living among and care for the poor.

    Thanks for this.

  13. Amber J. says:

    I really had no idea who Glenn Beck was, So after reading the quote you posted I wikied the guy. YUCK! This guy is sooooo obviously just saying what ever it takes to rile people up and making money off of it! I’m going to choose to ignore him like ignoring a bully in grade school. God tells me to love and take care of the poor so I do. There is nothing political about that.

    A thought just popped into my mind… If super conservative Christian’s just did what the Bible says and took care of the poor then they wouldn’t have to worry about the government making them do it through taxing us to subsidize our crappy welfare system. Sounds like FREEDOM to me. I know people would argue that it is more complicated then that, but I really don’t think so.

    I’m officially done thinking about this guy, he is so full of #*!@ it’s coming out his ears.

    • Tim says:

      Where is Taking what someone what someone else has earned biblical? I live among the poor in SW Atlanta, so I have some sense of the problems poor people face.

  14. Seth says:

    Tom, I would agree that some labels are obviously necessary. My problem is when the label becomes more important than the action. If actions speak louder than words, then I don’t need to say “biblical justice” because justice is biblical. I find it a bit narcissistic to slap a “Christian” term on top of an already Christian philosophy just to make one feel separate.

  15. Brett says:

    I think our society would do well to remember that Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Colbert, etc. are ENTERTAINERS (I know Limbaugh doesn’t like that term, but that’s exactly what he is, Michael Steele had it right). They are no different than Jim Rome or Dan Patrick with sports-talk radio (in fact, I like where Jim Rome stands on most issues better than those other jokers). The driving force for each of them is ratings and sponsors, not truth!

    • Agree says:

      I think this is the best perspective on Beck (and Limbaugh … and Olbermann and crew, as well, on the left). If you view them as entertainers, their modus operandi makes much more sense (and it makes their various “statements” much easier to stomach … and disregard). For background, consider the fact that Beck tours the nation with a one man show that is mostly a stand up comedy act.

      The problem is that much (not all) of their viewing/listening audience aren’t in on the entertainer/pundit distinction and take in their views uncritically.

      • Tim says:

        Agree…. Seriously?

        Brett, Is there an instance where you can say what Glenn said about someone on his show wasn’t true although entertaining?

        • BWM says:

          Tim – to be honest, it’s been awhile since I stopped listening to him.

          But, I think a good example is the recent fallout over Congressman Massa. I think that in the lead-up to the show, Beck was really hoping to blow the lid off the current administration, and saw Massa as the catalyst… “change the course of our nation’s history” or something like that. So, no the actual interview didn’t provide such a moment.

          A lot of what Beck says is half-truths… and a lot of it is conspiracy theorist-type methodologies that are quite frankly easy to construct, but rarely true.

          I don’t mean to be elitist at all in how I say this, but Glenn Beck has no degree or any level of prior experience in any aspect of government (to include DoD), but people treat him like a prophet. It’s strange to me, because I wouldn’t provide the same credence to someone regarding any other profession (medical, lawyer, military, etc) just because they had read a bunch of books in the library and possess a degree of charisma.

          And while I’m ranting a bit, I would also say that when you look at his mannerisms, and fear-based rhetoric, it really reminds me of televangelists… the tears… the looking into the camera. And, to be honest, I don’t listen to many of those folks either.

          Aloha,
          Brett

        • Kjel says:

          Fascism = Nazism ?? I think not.

          • Tim says:

            You have to think of Fascism and Nazism as 2 separate track heading in the same direction away from freedom. Fascism we saw in Italy and Nazism we saw in Germany. Neither one ends well.

        • Agree says:

          Actually, yes, I’m quite serious in saying this. And I’m fairly confident in the statement, given that Beck himself is quoted in a Time magazine article on him (written by the Time TV critic) as saying he views his own show as “the fusion of entertainment and enlightenment.”

          http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1890174,00.html

          I’m also confident in this statement because Beck’s background is not in politics or government at all — it’s in Top 40 radio. He was a DJ and morning drive-time show host up until 2000.

          • Tim says:

            And almost all of the founding fathers were self educated. If someone does radio or TV it doesn’t invalidate them as anyone can learn and better themselves. Instead of reading what other people said about him i went and read the shows transcript.
            From what I can tell he was railing against radical churches like Jeremiah Wright’s. Read the transcript and I would love to get your thoughts.

            • Agree says:

              I’m sorry — I should have put a finer point on my statement. Beck was a Top 40 morning radio “shock jock” who did not gradually move into political radio at the top of his game as lateral move due to his shifting interests. Instead, he only moved into “issues oriented” political radio after his morning show was canceled in 1999. Many of his tactics remain similar to those of the “shock jock.”

              In addition, his former morning radio partner is on record as saying Beck was always discussing the need to get into the syndicated talk show market to make a living, as Top 40 DJs were being phased out by a new automated playlist system called Prophet. It is easier to get a political talk show syndicated than a Top 40 show, and that is the step he took once his morning show was canceled.

              I am not saying that most of his statements are inaccurate or untrue, and I am most certainly not saying that his background disqualifies him from being in the public arena. I am saying that his background and career progression seem to inform his current modus operandi. From what I can see, his motivation for making extreme statements (accurate or not) is primarily to play to his audience (and build/maintain his ratings) through theatricality and titillation, rather than convey the issues or engage in reasoned discourse (compare the popularity/ratings/number-of-headline-grabbling-statements of Beck to that of someone like Charlie Rose). His career progression points to him capitalizing on the public’s fear and need to be entertained to further his own career first. From all appearances, he appears he has continued to use the methods of the “shock jock,” only instead of pranks and potty humor, he’s tapping into fear and political demagoguery to shock/entertain/build his audience.

              With morning radio, it’s clear that the “shock” is for entertainment value only. With political television, it’s a little harder for the viewer to discern.

              • Agree says:

                The last sentence there should actually be:

                With political television *broadcast on what is presented to the public as a “news channel” (and a “fair and balanced” one, at that)*, it’s a little harder for the viewer to discern.

              • Tim says:

                First I want to say I am not defending him. He’s a big boy I am sure he can defend himself. Second it’s late so all grammar errors must be forgiven. That being said. I have been watching his show since I first commented to this blog and I haven’t seen anything related to playing on peoples fears YET but I will keep watching.

                I think I am smart enough to spot shock entertainment as I have logged in a lot of TV hours in my life and I am very qualified to do so. That being said. I caught the last half today and he was talking Faith, Charity, and hope. I read the transcripts from the social justice show and I understand the context of what he was saying.

                He seems to quote Thomas Jefferson all the time…
                Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.
                Thomas Jefferson

                I will now apply this to every area of my life including Mr. Beck and issues like we are discussing. I am just a Christ follower much like you I am sure seeking to make sense of this crazy world. But I will question things like SJ as it means different things to different people some very good and some very bad.
                It carries with it 2 different meanings. From questioning comes reason and reasoning brings fourth wisdom as it make all of us stronger when we do so.

                These are questions from Glenn’s site I copied. I am not looking for you to answer them but I don’t find anything wrong with asking these questions? These all seem fine to me. I would want to know this no matter who was governing. Again I realize he has been on the air for a while and I have just began to skim the surface in reading through his material.
                Tomorrow he is supposed to be talking about faith, hope, and charity again and I will try to catch the whole show to see what’s it’s about and the depth of his content.

                Here are the questions:

                Question with Boldness

                You need to start asking questions:

                Day 1

                – Can we survive this debt? If yes, how?

                – Why the rush on health care reform, cap-and-trade?

                – Who is writing these bills?

                – Will Washington read and understand the bills?

                – Why are you called “grassroots” if you are for, but “Astroturf” if you are against?

                – Our unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is close to $100 trillion. Is there any way to pay for these programs without bankrupting America?

                – We are in so much debt, why spend more borrowed money on cap-and-trade and health care programs before we stop the flow of red ink?

                – The stimulus package funneled billions of dollars to ACORN: How does giving billions of dollars to ACORN stimulate the economy?

                – If it was so important for Congress to pass the stimulus bill before they even had time to read it, why has only a fraction of the stimulus money been spent six months later?

                – Former President Bush said he had to abandon free market principles in order to save them; how exactly does that work?

                – Why won’t member of Congress read the bills before they vote on them?

                – Why are citizens mocked and laughed at when they ask their congressman to read the bills before they vote on them?

                – Was the “cash for clunkers” program meant to save the Earth or the economy? Did it accomplish either?

                – How did Van Jones, a self-proclaimed communist, become a special adviser to the president?

                – Did President Obama know of Van Jones’ radical political beliefs when he named him special adviser?

                – The Apollo Alliance claimed credit for writing the stimulus bill; why was this group allowed to write any portion of this bill?

                – If politicians aren’t writing the bills and aren’t reading the bills, do they have any idea what these 1,000-page plus bills actually impose on the American people?

                – If the “public option” health care plan is so good, why won’t politicians agree to have that as their plan?

                – If town hall meetings are intended for the politicians to learn what’s on our mind, why do they spend so much time talking instead of listening?

                – Politicians are refusing to attend town hall meetings complaining, without evidence, that they are scripted. Does that mean we shouldn’t come out and vote for you since every campaign stop, baby kiss and speech you give is scripted?

                – Why would you want to overwhelm the system?

                – Is using the economic crises to rush legislation through Congress what Rahm Emanuel meant when he talked about not letting a crisis go to waste?

                – What are the president’s “czars” paid? What is the budget for their staffs/offices?

  16. danderson says:

    Isn’t Glenn Beck Mormon? While I don’t listen or anyway condone what Beck says, it is problematic that the Left has co-opted a Christian value and secularized it to such an extent that there is little power of the Gospel left in it. As Paul says: If I give all I have to the poor and have not love, I am nothing (paraphrased from my bad memory). The Christian Right has largely removed Social Justice from an important part of the Gospel’s power; while much of the Left focuses too exclusively on the Gospel without the accompanying power of the Cross.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      danderson,

      you seem to have a better pulse of things than i do as i don’t track w/ this as much.

      who are the equivalents of the glenn becks on the left that have secularized the Gospel?

      • danderson says:

        eugene,
        I only know because the Sojo bloggers made it aware. I didn’t know either before yesterday.

        I’d say the Jesus Seminar people. Also, in my line of work as an educator, I constantly come across the social justice mantra by people who disdain Christianity but believe they have the way to “peace, love and justice. Any thoughts on how to get through to such groups?

        • Jim says:

          Certainly anyone advocating liberation theology seculared the gospel by definition.

          • Andy M says:

            That just isn’t true Jim. There are many people who advocate a liberation theology but are not secular, myself included. What is the Gospel if it does not liberate us, in particular does not liberate those people under oppression?

            You may be using the term from a different understanding of it than myself, most likely. But the term does not imply by mere definition a secularized Gospel.

    • Tim says:

      STU: Because I’m looking at our transcript and, you know, maybe we transcribed it wrong, but you you said social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, the idea hang on, Stu is saying that I’m advising people to leave their church? Yes! If I’m going to Jeremiah Wright’s church. In other words, when you said something, I asked you in your ear to clarify it.

      Rejected bumper sticker item for the Glenn Beck Studio Store…

      GLENN: Oh, my gosh.

      STU: Which you did immediately afterwards by saying you referred to Jeremiah right’s type church, a Black Liberation Theology or Marxism or church that’s turned into a political arm.

      GLENN: Yeah. Religion scholars say the term social justice now listen. This is a defense if you know history, this is their defense? Religious scholars say the term social justice was coined in the 1800s, codified by successive popes and adopted widely by protestant churches in the 1900s.

      PAT: After the progressive movement had kicked in. Jeez.

      GLENN: For the love of Pete. Marx started in 19 1848. All of this stuff started percolating, all of Nietzsche comes along, everything, it’s redistribution of wealth. I’ve told you this, the progressive movement started with people like Woodrow Wilson whose father was a preacher! They perverted Christianity! “The concept is that Christians should not merely give to the poor but also work to correct unjust conditions that keep people poor.” Yes! You’re exactly right. We should as Christians do that. But then there’s that added little step of having the government do it, not you. “Many Christians consider it a reoccurring theme in scripture. Mr. Beck himself is a convert to Mormonism, a faith that identifies itself as part of the Christian family but nevertheless rejected by many Christians. Philip Barlow, Arrington professor of Mormon history and culture at Utah State University said one way to read the book of Mormon is a fast track on social justice.” Yes, that is one way to read it.

  17. BWM says:

    I think it points to the danger of any faith being hijacked by people who have both ulterior motives, and focused knowledge of bits and pieces of truth (without the broader picture, or necessary context).

    We live in VA, and my daughter goes to an evangelical Christian high school… it’s really interesting to watch how her teachers and parents of other students listen to conservative political pundits with equal or greater earnestness than they listen to their pastor on Sundays. After the State of the Union address, my daughter was bombarded with pundit-derived talking points because she has the audacity to support our President. Of course, her perspective becomes evidence of something missing from her spiritual life (and you can see where this ends up). (BTW, she’s headed to U-Dub in the fall, and very excited)

    Like it or not, parishoners all across our country made being “anti-social justice” an issue at their churches this past week… all because of their faith in the truth of entertainers (as Brett said)… It’s really a shame.

  18. Michelle says:

    Great blog, Eugene! I love Glenn Beck, however I don’t agree with every extreme he goes to. Still love his concept of America, though. As for you, you’re obviously just an angry asian man. 😉

  19. Rachel says:

    Glenn Beck gets ratings by overstating his points. He’s correct that religious Socialists use euphemisms like “social justice” because they sound more palatable. But not everyone who uses the term is a socialist.

    I wouldn’t run away from a church just because it had the words “social justice” on its website, but I would pay attention more closely to see whether they teach that it should be achieved through government redistribution (entitlement programs, etc.) or by the Body of Christ.

    Taxation, Liberty, and the Bible
    http://www.covenantnews.com/selbrede090125.htm

    Is Socialism Biblical?
    http://www.americanvision.org/article/is-socialism-biblical/

    • Andy M says:

      My opinion is that the Body of Christ is indeed to be who works for social justice and such, but that does not necessarily mean that they cannot have anything to do with the government.

      Looking at the Old Testament, though of course there are big differences, the government that the Israelites had, much of which came from God’s Word to His people, was to tax the people to be used for the benefit of the nation as a whole, and to have laws set up that protect and support the poor, like leaving the corners of fields for the poor to pick food from.

      Individual generosity was indeed heavily promoted within Judaism and Christianity, but so was government responsibility.

      I’ll read stuff from those two links later if I have time.

      • Rachel says:

        Government PROTECTING the poor (justice) is a VERY different thing than TAKING rightful property from one man by forced taxation for the purpose of GIVING it to another (redistribution). I see NO instance of government being authorized to redistribute wealth in the scripture. We have another word for that: stealing.

        Notice that even with the gleaning laws, landowners weren’t required to gather all the grain and give it to the state so the state could drop it off at the front door of the poor. Instead, they were simply required to leave the leftovers behind, and the poor had to take responsibility to come gather it themselves. Otherwise, it would rot on the ground. This preserved not only their work ethic, but their dignity.

        You should read “Uncle Sam’s Plantation” by Star Parker. She became a Christian after living for years on the government dole, and shares how government entitlements create unhealthy and unbiblical dependency and hurt the very people it claims to help. She explains how REAL Christian charity is the solution.
        http://www.amazon.com/Uncle-Sams-Plantation-Government-Enslaves/dp/1595550151/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268668809&sr=1-1

        • Andy M says:

          Unlike some other places around the world, the U.S. taxes pay for a bunch of things that we would not likely get otherwise, like roads and various services. To a certain extent, we pay for our own benefit and for the benefit of all. And because all citizens have access and use roads, it is only fair for everyone to pay for them together.

          I am not forced to pay taxes, I am perfectly happy to. I can’t say that it was always so, and I can’t say I like everything that it pays for, but the reason that I have always paid them is because our previous generations made the decision that our nation was better off to come together on certain things to benefit everyone. They could have decided otherwise and we wouldn’t have much of what we have now. You might argue that we would be better off, and that might be a good discussion, but that isn’t where we are.

          I agree that we shouldn’t just throw money at people hoping that they will take care of themselves and stop being dependent. But I have heard of government funded programs that work with people to help them be independent and thrive, and they work. Just because something is connected with the government, it doesn’t mean that it HAS to create dependency.

          I agree that we need people, particularly Christians, to be charitable and giving like we are called to be. And I agree that that is our primary call. But why can’t I, as a Christian, also support good government programs that will help people, considering the fact that most people in this country, including the “Christians” aren’t going to do anything serious about helping their neighbors? Most Christians, if they give any money at all, only give to their church, which usually uses a majority of that money for facilities, which is fine, but usually are focused more on the people already in the church, which is often not the people who need the most help.

          As far as redistribution goes. Here are my thoughts, and I’m sure you will disagree which is fine. I would rather have this government, which is not a Christian government, tax the wealthy and use that money to help poor people, even if they don’t do it well, than let the gap between the rich and poor continue to increase. It has been shown that the richest Americans do not give all that much of their money to charities, and I mean proportionally. I read the other day somewhere that people in America with incomes over $1 million gave about 3.6% of their wealth away in 2003, which was a decrease from previous years. I believe that when God gives wealth he gives responsibility, and I don’t think that our wealthiest citizens are being responsible.

          If it is a choice between a secular government that taxes the more wealthy to benefit the poor, or doesn’t tax anyone and let’s the wealthiest people and/or corporations do whatever they want, I choose the first. It isn’t ideal, it isn’t perfect, it isn’t what I want or I’m sure what God wants, but out of the choices given that is what I choose.

          Oh, and I’ve worked for a Christian non-profit, and they don’t always do much more than create dependency either. But it is still good that they do what they do.

          • Tim says:

            http://www.usdebtclock.org/
            Look at our debt to GDP. If you owe more than you make how can you pay for it? 12 Trillion in debt for teachers, police, fire, and roads? I would like a second quote please.

            I have no problem paying taxes either I do have a problem when the money is used poorly.

            Part of responsible charity is never doing for someone what they can do themselves.
            As far as programs that work. In 2008, over 50 million Americans will receive nearly $614 billion in Social Security benefits.
            The total cost of all federal assistance programs — including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and various welfare programs — accounts for nearly ONE-HALF of all money spent by the federal government. That is a doubling of the percentage that obtained in the 1960s.
            http://usa.usembassy.de/society-socialsecurity.htm
            It’s clearly not improving the situation after 50 years of doing the same thing.
            All these programs started with the New Deal.

            Americans set charitable giving record http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19409188/
            I know were not perfect it’s a fallen world and if we all gave it would exceed this amount 10 fold. America and capitalism make this possible. What other system in the history of the world has ever done for the poor and unwanted what America has? That’s what the statue of liberty stands for. Look what Americas doing!

            *God gives wealth he gives responsibility, and I don’t think that our wealthiest citizens are being responsible.
            http://www.ssa.gov/history/fcspeech.html

            The top 5% pay 60% of the taxes
            The top 10% pay 70%
            The top 25% pay 56%
            The top 50% pay 97%
            The bottom 50% pay 3%

            *Oh, and I’ve worked for a Christian non-profit, and they don’t always do much more than create dependency either. But it is still good that they do what they do.—I agree 100%

            • Andy M says:

              You don’t mind paying taxes? I thought you said it was “forced” and “stealing”? You seem to feel so strongly about that, I’m kind of surprised if you don’t mind it that much.

              12 trillion in debt is not just from teachers, police, fire, and roads. I personally think that if we cut funding for anything first, it should be the military. I have a friend in the military, and by his account they are disorganized and wasteful with their resources, and they are a huge part of the federal budget. I’m sure that isn’t the case everywhere, but everywhere he has been has been pretty much like that.

              I don’t like how the government spends much of the money they use in social programs, but I suggest smarter programs, not elimination. This may not be so, but your arguments seem to push towards eliminating the programs (I don’t know if that is true, and I won’t make that assumption, I’m just stating that your arguments make it ‘seem’ that way). We need innovative and creative programs that work. But current politics usually gives us only two options, business the same as we have done for the last 50+ years, or nothing.

              Yes, Americans give. But how well do we give proportionally? I would argue that we give the most, primarily because we have the most. For example, if a community of ten billionaires give .01% of their incomes to charity, they will by their sheer wealth easily outgive a community of 1,000 people with average incomes giving 50% of their wealth.

              I apologize, but I am tired of hearing the argument that American’s give more than anyone else. We give more simply because we have more. I’m glad that we give what we do, but it isn’t nearly enough, and the “America gives more than anyone else” argument just makes it easier for us to justify our apathy towards the more unfortunate.

              As far as what America is doing. We do many great things, but we do many terrible things as well. We are an economic empire and most things we do around the world are only done because it benefits us, economically or politically.

              “I don’t think that our wealthiest citizens are being responsible”.
              Now, I’m sure you disagree with me here, but in my opinion, I would rather that our government receive some of that money so it can be used to at least try to help the poor, even if they do it poorly, than for some tightfisted billionaire to sit on it making himself more money. Given that choice, that is my preference. I would really rather that the billionaire would freely give his money and use it responsibly, but in the absence of such virtue I’m ok with the government trying to use it.

              • Tim says:

                I know taxes are necessary and I am not against them I am against waste. We waste hundreds of billions in the name of doing good.
                We give the most proportionally to our incomes compared to all other countries by 10 fold.
                Do you realize that the world operated the same way for 1000’s of years until America. Our system while not perfect has done more to bring the entire world up economically. If someone was getting paid 1 dollar a day and now makes 10 in their country because there is a tshirt factory there is that bad?
                What responsibility do other governments have to take care of their own people?
                Do you understand what the rest of the world was like over just the past 100 years? Communism didn’t leave Europe until the 80’s

                “I don’t think that our wealthiest citizens are being responsible”. How much do they deserve to have taken from them and redistributed? 60% 70%

                PS. You didn’t address anything I posted earlier so here it is again.

                Part of responsible charity is never doing for someone what they can do themselves.
                As far as programs that work. In 2008, over 50 million Americans will receive nearly $614 billion in Social Security benefits.
                The total cost of all federal assistance programs — including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and various welfare programs — accounts for nearly ONE-HALF of all money spent by the federal government. That is a doubling of the percentage that obtained in the 1960s.

                IT”S NOT WORKING. If the car has a blow engine you don’t keep putting new tires on it every 2 years along with regular scheduled maintenance. Could these programs be the reason the gap is growing? If you get enough money not to improve yourself why would you bother trying?

                The rich are easy targets.

              • Andy M says:

                You don’t need to repeat yourself. What am I supposed to address? That the social programs don’t work? I got your point of view a couple days ago. Your argument is to scrap the programs, my argument is to FIX the programs. The answer to bad programs is not NO programs, but GOOD programs. The answer to bad government is not NO government, but GOOD government. The answer to bad religion is not NO religion, but GOOD religion. Lets fix the problems rather than just trying to scrap them.

                Plus, fixing the programs is more likely to happen than scrapping them in the current political climate. Democrats are not going to allow scrapping it, and if anyone had any sense they would try to fix it. But no, we end up arguing about whether to scrap them or not.

                Your t-shirt argument has a problem. While I’m sure that there are some companies that have upped their wages to their foreign workers, there are just as many or more who pay the workers the exact same, and the profits go to the owners. And we as human beings have responsibility for them, even if they are in a different country. We can’t be naive and believe that everything we buy was ethically produced. Capitalism creates competition, which means the whoever can produce a product the cheapest wins, and so cheap or slave labor is the winner of the day.

                The rich are easy targets, because they make themselves so. I’m curious why you defend them so strongly? But my real question is, why do you believe that we shouldn’t criticize or question the actions of others? I’m not saying that we should judge them, in the sense that I could say that rich people go to hell, I’m not saying that. I want to know what you think the Biblical prophets were doing when they criticized the leaders of Israel and Judah? They didn’t criticize them only in spiritual religious terms, but in how they treated the poor. They didn’t just criticize the individual leaders, but the system the leaders had created in the Temple and such. Why did God lead those prophets to do that, but we can’t be critical of our system which makes rich people insanely rich, and doesn’t help the poor? Please explain.

  20. Matt says:

    maybe they need to revise goodwin’s law…
    The more Glenn Beck speaks about something, the more likely compare something/someone to Hitler/Nazi’ism….

  21. […] don’t have anything else to add to what has already been said by people like Scot McKnight, Eugene Cho and Bob Robinson. What I wanted to do here on Elemental Children’s Ministry was throw out […]

  22. Bob Robinson says:

    Beck believes that words like “Social Justice” and “Economic Justice” are “code words” for Communist and/or Nazi ideas that will take over the country. No, they are biblical concepts that we must not allow the likes of Beck to distort and malign.

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ demands that Christians engage in justice issues. As members of the Kingdom of God, we seek to cooperate with our Lord and Savior to bring God’s kingdom values into this fallen world, bringing redemption to all of society’s fallenness – serving individuals to help them find the righteousness offered by Christ, as well as serving society to bring about social justice. This is the fullness of the redemption that Christ offers in the New Creation, initiated with his death and resurrection. This is the “Gospel of the Kingdom of God” that Jesus taught.

  23. Bill B says:

    Maybe Glenn Beck is doing the Church a favor?? May get a good housecleaning?? Separating the REAL Jesus-followers from the pretenders.

  24. elderj says:

    The use of the term “social justice” is indeed somewhat problematic, not because the Bible doesn’t speak of defending the widow and orphan, caring for the poor, or looking out for the foreigner, but rather because many Christians do not think through all of the implications of what SOME advocates of “social justice” desire, and many more are altogether too indulgent of the sins of the poor while railing against the excesses of the rich.

    The chief sin of the poor is often envy and greed. Is the envy and greed of the poor somehow less despicable than that of the rich? How is it an injustice that one man has some $13 millions and others have very little? How big does the divide have to before injustice can be said to be occurring? Is a $40,000 difference too much? $30,000? Further, who are we to judge another man’s servant? It is before the Lord that he stands or falls. Someone commented that “if Christians gave money, the government wouldn’t have to” as if evangelical Christians (who are often poorer on average) don’t already give far more per capita to charitable causes as an expression of their faith.

    While it is true that God commands his followers to be generous and compassionate and just, it is also true that at least some the foundations of modern capitalism find their roots in Christianity as well.

    christians should be careful an what bandwagon they jump lest they end up somewhere they didn’t expect.

    • Tim says:

      I don’t think the Bible speaks of SJ. I think the poor, widow, orphan should be such a part of every believers lives. It should be normal not a cause. Not to be rude but I am curious how you know the chief sin of the poor is envy and greed?

      The second part of your argument is flawed as well. I don’t even know where to start. I wish you would come live in my neighborhood for a year and see if you believe the same thing at the end of it.

      I think we need to think through the words we use. If a Progressive is using words like SJ and a Christ followers are using words like SJ how are people supposed to see the difference between a secular vs Jesus. I just see the church embracing SJ and although it sounds like a good thing it means different things to different groups. SJ to Progressives (it’s roots) means TAKING from the haves by force and giving away their property to people they feel are have nots.
      (http://www.jstor.org/pss/2126139) (http://www.ssa.gov/history/fcspeech.html)

      (This is not justice) In my neighborhood we get our doors kicked in and our homes robbed, we live across the street from drug houses, i know girls that are beaten, mothers that are addicts, dad’s that are dealers, families with 5 fathers, 150 schools are under investigation for pushing kids through and cheating on the standardized tests, our kids in the hood can hardly read, child prostitution is rampant, trash is out of control, abuse is all around us, We drive through prostitutes and pimps to go help kids with their homework because their parents are checked out and I can go on and on and on. We live here in SW Atlanta and to be honest I don’t get to see very much justice here because our churches in the 70’s fled to the burbs.
      Anytime I hear the words SJ I wonder if it comes from people who live among and have relationships with some grasp of the poor or from a coffee house christian or missional tourist that doesn’t understand what really happens here.
      Not trying to offend anyone but if you want to talk about justice be part of standing up for these communities in the communities.

      • James says:

        Why would you assume that people aren’t standing up for these communities in the communities?

        • Tim says:

          I can’t speak to what anyone here is doing and would never assume anything. What I do know is my community and in it I don’t have to assume I just have to walk out side. There are not many people here I know a small handful. Believe me we are actively seeking people out.
          Few examples of our hood.
          http://www.wsbtv.com/video/22605457/
          One small example and one lot there are 1000’s of places like this not to mention hundreds of lots with 1000’s of tires. Just in SW Atlanta
          Animals are thrown out with trash on our streets

          Kids prostituting.

          Non of this is meant to prop myself up as anything righteous but it comes from a broken heart.

      • elderj says:

        Dude… did you miss the fact that I was agreeing with you??

  25. Brian Rants says:

    In what is a bit of a semantics war, this might bring some clarity

    – Justice: the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness
    – Social: of or pertaining to the life, welfare, and relations of human beings in a community

    Put those together and you get: “righteousness, equitableness, [and] moral rightness”…“pertaining to the life, welfare, and relations of human beings in a community.”

    Justice is the point. Justice brings freedom. We should fight for fiscal justice (righteous business practices), social justice (righteous living in our communities), legal justice (fair courts)…etc.

    Let’s clean up our own house (the church) before we even get to what the government’s role might be. In fact if we do our role, the government might not have ANYTHING to do (like the early Christian’s reputation for taking care of all the poor, Christian or not).

    • Tim says:

      They sound great .
      Who and what defines fiscal justice (righteous business practices)?

      Social justice (righteous living in our communities) What does this look like? Who determines what is righteous?

  26. […] Eugene Cho has a nice commentary on Glenn Beck’s recent remarks about the communist churches in America. […]

  27. Agree says:

    If anyone is still checking the comments on this post, Jon Stewart apparently did an extended impersonation/caricature of Glenn Beck to skewer a number of aspects of Beck’s persona, a la Jimmy Kimmel’s impersonation of Jay Leno (video included in article — contains some more vulgar sexual references for those who want to avoid that and also appears to show some disdain for religion in general and Christianity in particular, if you’re offended by that):

    http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/19/the-daily-show-with-glenn-beck/

    Stewart briefly takes on the “social justice” bit from Beck’s show (at about 2:30 in the video), though he focuses on the part where Beck traces the term back to communism and Nazism, rather than the comments to/about the Church.

    Stewart is the doppelganger of Beck in many ways, in that he is the liberal example of mixing entertainment and news/politics, though he clearly identifies more with the entertainment aspect (the show airs on Comedy Central, not a news network), while Beck identifies himself more with the political aspect. But Stewart also has a political viewpoint that he is clear in trying to get across as well … just like Beck.

    All that said … it’s pretty funny.

  28. […] Eugene Cho on Glenn Beck’s assertion that churches concerned about social justice are crypto-Nazis. Almost as good as Jon Stewart. […]

  29. edsel says:

    “if christians were christian, then i would be a christian too”, Mahatma Gandhi.

  30. […] person, group, team, church;  that other misguided and self-righteous quasi-Christian, borderline heretic, and religious legalist; the other person on the fence on that hot theological issue; the […]

  31. […] written in the past about Glenn Beck and the whole “social justice” brouhaha and as I return from vacation, I’m in no mood for a slew of intense comments and […]

  32. […] have my thoughts and views and I’ve shared some of them like my thoughts on Glenn Beck, or Arizona, Immigration, and Xenophobia, and while I’ve received my share of disagreements […]

  33. […] I’ve Got 2 Words for Glenn Beck […]

  34. […] two words – depending on the circles you  roll with – are either really bad news or really good […]

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One Day’s Wages

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The family that karaokes together stays together. #ChoFamilyKPopFamily Family time in one of my favorite cities in the world - especially when the exchange rate is so favorable. Thank you, Vancouver, for being such a great refuge for our souls for the past 20 years. #QuestVancouver It's the day after...that day.
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It's never that perfect or easy but that we get to try to do these things is reason enough to be grateful to the One who gives us life.

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#PreachingToMyself This is what real life looks like after a crazy couple weeks. Grateful for this woman. I love her. She's gonna scream at me for posting this pic. #ThoseSocksThough Grateful for the opportunity to encourage 2500 youth leaders & pastors at the @youthspecialties conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Had prayed for wisdom to encourage leaders and courage to navigate a word for leaders post election about empathy and compassion for the unseen, marginalized, and those experiencing real fear.

Also, what a joy to have my church's youth pastor, @cobycagle, also here teaching. Some years ago, I was a youth pastor for several years in California, Korea, NY, and NJ. They were meaningful years but filled with challenges and loneliness. Sometimes, I felt unseen and insignificant - in comparison to "real" adult ministry. As a lead pastor now, I want to make sure I don't make those mistakes of overlooking our youth and children's ministry and their volunteers and staff. 
Pastor Coby, Pastor Katey, Pam, Jalle, and Jasmin: We see you. We appreciate you. We are grateful for your presence and leadership at Quest and beyond. Thank you and all of our amazing volunteers Wow. So proud of our 13 year-old son. When he began the trumpet in middle school, you could say it was a little painful. But this cat has got some groove. He's taught himself the piano, guitar, and really come along on the trumpet.

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