Beck targets churches that embrace ‘social justice’

BECK TARGETS CHURCHES THAT EMBRACE ‘SOCIAL JUSTICE’…. On his radio show yesterday, right-wing host Glenn Beck warned his audience about churches that care about social justice. As the deranged media personality sees it, “social justice” is code for … something nefarious.

“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!”

I’m not a theologian, but it’s my understanding that most of the world’s major, monotheistic faith traditions embrace “social justice” as a fundamental pillar. Beck just encouraged a whole lot of people to abandon a whole lot of houses of worship.

This is especially true of Roman Catholics. Indeed, the very phrase “social justice” is believed to have been coined by a 19th-century Jesuit, and later popularized by Father Charles Coughlin.

With that in mind, First Things is wondering whether Glenn Beck just urged his followers to abandon the Catholic Church. Joe Carter noted, “Could Beck’s claim be construed as ‘anti-Catholic?’ Yes and no. I think if anyone else had made the remark it would have been hard to dismiss the anti-Catholic undertones. But Beck is a special case: He is too prone to say any dumb thing that pops into his head and too ignorant about history and religion to truly understand the implications of his statement. This doesn’t excuse him, of course, but it certainly is reason not to be too shocked when a self-professed ‘rodeo clown’ advises people to leave their churches over Catholic ‘code words’ like social justice.”

Nevertheless, this could be a real headache for Beck, especially if Bill Donohue and the Catholic League treat Beck like they’d treat anyone else who just encouraged Americans to leave churches who take social justice seriously.

Post Script: It’s also worth remembering that if Beck is serious about the danger of these “code words,” he may have to leave his own church, too.