by Nathan Empsall, Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 05:46:41 PM EST
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.