by Nathan Empsall, Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:18:42 PM EST
Last week I highlighted Glenn Beck’s call for people to leave churches where the pastor talks about “social justice,” equating those churches to Nazism and Communism. His words, I said, weren’t just a distortion of the phrase “social justice” or the umpteenth example of his omnipresent specious logic but also proof that he understands neither the role of a pastor in a church nor the role churches play in their parishioners’ lives.
One thing I momentarily avoided, however, was a discussion of Christ’s actual teachings. James Martin, S.J. shows no such hesitation in America Magazine and nailed the subject beautifully in yesterday’s post, “Glenn Beck to Jesus: Drop Dead.” The Jesuit Martin focuses on Catholic social teachings through the centuries but broadens his article at the end to include all Christians and even Jesus Christ Himself.
Glenn Beck is, in essence, saying “Leave the Catholic church.” Or, if you like, the Catholic church is a Nazi church. (Which would have surprised Alfred Delp, Rupert Mayer and Maximilian Kolbe.) Or a Communist one. (Which would have suprised Jerzy Popieluszko and Karol Wojtyla)…
But Glenn Beck is saying something else, which might get lost in the translation: Leave Christianity. Again and again in the Gospels, Jesus points to our responsibility to care for the poor, to work on their behalf, to stand with them. In fact, when asked how his followers would be judged, Jesus doesn’t say that it will be based on where you worship, or how you pray, or how often you go to church, or even what political party you believe in. He says something quite different: It depends on how you treat the poor.
In the Gospel of Matthew (Chapter 25) he tells his surprised disciples, that when you are meeting the poor, you are meeting him… Ignoring the poor, and ignoring what keeps them poor, is, quite simply, unchristian. Indeed, the poor are the church in many ways.
Something Martin didn’t say but that I have learned as a result of this latest Beck flap is that the term “social justice” was even coined by a Jesuit priest in 1840. So yes, Glenn Beck is calling the Jesuits and anyone who went to their schools a bunch of Nazis. And more than that, since it is the book of Isaiah that tells us to "Cease to do evil, leard to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow," he is also saying that all Jews and Christians are Nazis. Because on Fox News, only Nazis and Commies define "good" as seeking justice for the oppressed.
Politics Daily also picked up on Beck’s quote yesterday. As of this writing, David Sessions’ article has 616 comments and 588 retweets. Maybe this time Beck finally went too far for his own good?