Glenn Beck Attacks Pastors, Doesn't Understand What Church Is

If you Google “church ‘social justice,’” you get 2.3 million results. “Faith ‘social justice’” yields  2 million, and “Judaism ‘social justice’” gives 1.2 million more. The Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis even has an “Office for Social Justice.”

According to Fox News’ resident bigot Glenn Beck, the Archbishop of St. Paul and most of those other webmasters are all either Nazis or Communists.

"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, the idea, hang on, am I advising people to leave their church... yes!... If you have a priest that is pushing social justice, go find another parish."

Code words? When you actually ask the Minnesota Catholics what they do, they’re pretty up front about it: “We base our activities on the biblical and theological foundations of Catholic social teaching… We emphasize the ‘option for the poor’ by pursuing issues which address the dignity and rights of people who are socially, politically, or economically disadvantaged.” 

But no, it is impossible, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that such people are telling the truth. We know this because there was once someone else who meant something different by "social justice." Do you know who that someone else was?


Specious logic aside, Beck’s quote proves he doesn’t understand what church is even ABOUT, not if he thinks it’s the pastor’s occasional choice of language that defines the place. Something that was lost during 2008’s kerfuffle about Pastor Jeremiah Wright is that church is about far more than the Sunday sermon. Pastors come and pastors go, but congregations remain. Church is about community and family. It is about learning and worshipping together in order to grow in ways we never could as individuals. It is not just about filling the lives of those inside the church, but about making a difference in the church's larger community - social justice. In fact, at the church where I currently work, a survey conducted during a recent priest transition said only 55% of parishioners consider the sermon an important part of their church experience. Music and youth opportunities were around 80%.

The fact that Beck would encourage people to leave a church because a pastor or priest defines certain justice Scriptural passages – passages Beck may wish don’t even exist – with two particular words shows that the man knows absolutely nothing about faith, church, or Scripture. While I don’t want to question his personal morality, it’s only going to get harder not to regard him, and his network, as false prophets or charlatans.

If you’re a person of faith and would like to push back against Beck, the New Evangelical Partnership, run by the former Vice President of the conservative National Association of Evangelicals, is trying to raise $5,000 to produce and distribute a video using Matthew 25 to respond to Beck.

Missing Luke

Written by Alan Jenkins, Executive Director of The Opportunity Agenda.  This post originally appeared at Our Future.

I learned last week that my friend and law school classmate Luke Cole had died in a car accident while vacationing with his wife in Uganda.  Luke was an incredible guy with an infectious positive energy about him and the belief that he could change the world for the better.  In a number of big and small ways, he did.

Luke became an environmental justice lawyer before most of us in the public interest legal field even knew what environmental justice was.  He didn’t invent the concept, but he realized early on that communities of color—from American Indian reservations in the West to hog farming communities in the South to inner-city neighborhoods in the Northeast—were struggling with common problems of multiple environmental hazards and inadequate environmental protection.  He realized, too, what government and private research would eventually confirm: that the racial character of these communities was the greatest predictor of the level of environmental degradation they would suffer.  Greater than class.  Greater than region of the country.

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The Return of Fairness in America

The budget proposals seek to reverse the rapid increase in economic inequality over the last 30 years.

That was the byline in the New York Times story by David Leonhardt entitled Obama's Budget Plan Sweeps Away Reagan Ideas. I had to take a moment and cry when I saw the byline. Sweet tears of pure joy. For the past ten years of my life, as my friends can attest, this has been my oft-repeated charge - the United States is headed for disaster if income equality continues to rise. I've been invited to parties on the condition that I don't talk about income inequality and gini co-efficients. And so to read this, my thoughts ran so this is what it feels like to win and it is truly sweet. Even as I write, the tears continue to stream down but I don't care because this is post that I have been waiting to write in celebration and one that I can write off the top of my head for my one issue is restoring fairness in the distribution of wealth. Reversing income inequality in this country and then beyond our shores is that which matters most. Undoing neo-liberalism. Undoing Reaganism. Undoing Thatcherism. This is why I am progressive because income inequality needs to be reversed. Fairness in America matters.

The budget that President Obama proposed on Thursday is nothing less than an attempt to end a three-decade era of economic policy dominated by the ideas of Ronald Reagan and his supporters.

The Obama budget -- a bold, even radical departure from recent history, wrapped in bureaucratic formality and statistical tables -- would sharply raise taxes on the rich, beyond where Bill Clinton had raised them. It would reduce taxes for everyone else, to a lower point than they were under either Mr. Clinton or George W. Bush. And it would lay the groundwork for sweeping changes in health care and education, among other areas.

More than anything else, the proposals seek to reverse the rapid increase in economic inequality over the last 30 years. They do so first by rewriting the tax code and, over the longer term, by trying to solve some big causes of the middle-class income slowdown, like high medical costs and slowing educational gains.

Just how far have we fallen during that three-decade era of economic policy dominated by the ideas of Ronald Reagan and his supporters? Well, a UN report last year on urban poverty found that out of the world's 120 major cities New York was found to be the ninth most unequal in the world and Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, and Miami had similar inequality levels to those of Nairobi, Kenya and Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. In western New York state nearly 40% of the black, Hispanic and mixed-race households earned less than $15,000 compared with 15% of white households. The life expectancy of African-Americans in the US is about the same as that of people living in China and some states of India, despite the fact that the US is far richer than the other two countries. Is this right? Is this America? It is the America that Reagan has wrought and that President Obama seeks to undo. Undoing Reagan, how sweet the sound.

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Vermonters: Tell us your healthcare horror stories

Burlington - The Vermont Workers' Center's "Healthcare is a Human Right" campaign is looking to hear from Vermonters about their healthcare horror stories.

For months volunteers for the Vermont Workers' Center have been surveying Vermonters from all across the state, about their experience with the healthcare community. The results have been clear: Vermonters believe that healthcare should be a human right.

The state, however, has come up woefully short on this issue. More than 11 percent of all Vermonters are without health insurance, including more than 11,000 children. Thousands more are woefully under-insured, and cannot afford their costly premiums and co-pays, which are only rising as the cost of healthcare soars.

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Fun Thought for the Day

A co-worker saw a license plate frame that said: "My next license plate will be made by Bush and Cheney." Now isn't that a pleasant thought?  Happy Monday!

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