by Nathan Empsall, Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 02:48:43 PM EDT
On his radio show earlier this week, Glenn Beck made it clear that his war on Christianity will continue for the foreseeable future. He has plans to target not another administration official, but prominent evangelical Jim Wallis.
He’s come up with this great system uh, of being able to have a religion just really run by the government. Or his religion running the government, I’m not sure which way it works, but he’s really for this big government kind of thing to even out all the things that Jesus came to even out…
So you go ahead and you continue to do your little protest thing, that’s great, I love it. But just know the hammer’s coming, because little do you know, for eight weeks we’ve been compiling information on you, your cute little organization, and all the other cute little people that are with you. And when the hammer comes, it’s going to be hammering hard, and all through the night, over and over, because you’ve got – this is why we’ve been working on it for eight weeks.
Wallis, a pro-lifer who eschews the term “religious left,” is the founder of the “Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace” community and magazine. Poverty, humane immigration reform, and pacifism are frequent themes in the liberal monthly, which also includes weekly Bible devotionals. I recently let my subscription lapse because the reporting is fairly shallow and does little more than cheerlead, not even preach, to the choir, but the online blogs and action alerts are insightful and thought-provoking. You can bet that Beck’s forthcoming character smears will hammer away at the fact that the magazine has given favorable coverage to Van Jones while completely ignoring that fellow Fox News host Mike Huckabee had the even higher honor of gracing the magazine’s cover.
Beck never knows what he’s talking about, but his attacks on Wallis will probably be his most uninformed yet. We already know that the man barely cracks open his Bible, but in his initial Sojourners rant, he referred to Jim Wallis as “Jim Wright” and called the Sojo blog “The Politics of God.” Its name is “God’s Politics.” Buddy, if you don’t even know your target’s name, how can we trust you to know the details?
Wallis has requested a public discussion with Beck on the meaning of “social justice,” but Beck will have none of it. I would have thought it’s because that’s just not his modus operendi – why risk your opponent throwing facts in your face when you can just stand at a chalkboard and taunt from behind the safety of a camera? But no, that’s actually not his rationale. Beck’s real reason for refusing to debate Wallis is that he believes himself too holy for that. Seriously:
Jim, I just wanted to, I just wanted to pass this on to you. Uh, in my time I will respond. My time, kind of like God’s time, might be a day or might be a week. To you, I’m not sure. But I’m going to get to it in my time, not your time.
I’m not as big a fan of Wallis as I used to be. He’s a great organizer and I heard him give a great speech about the values of Martin Luther King a few years ago, but there are others who make the same justice points in a less partisan way. He is the political face of his movement and I’m more inclined to look to the theological faces – folks like Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo. Their message does a much better job of cutting to the true values of justice. But having said that, I do know that Wallis would never compare his time to God’s time, and I do know that Wallis isn’t scared to face his critics. He is, in fact, able to respond to Beck with a more civil tongue than I’ll bet Beck even thought humanly possible:
Why is the idea of a civil dialogue such a threat to Glenn Beck? Glenn, let us please not resort to threats and attacks. To repeat, I have not and will not attack you personally, and I repeat my invitation to a civil dialogue on what social justice really means. Since you were the one to raise this issue and start this whole discussion, I just want it to end in a better and more civil way.
More than 30,000 Christian pastors and church members have written to you as Christians who believe in social justice and are asking you to reconsider your statements. This is a time for dialogue, not monologue, and I prayerfully ask you to consider my request for a conversation.