Sunday, March 14, 2010

Is Social Justice Really the Heart of the Christian Faith?

So the folks at Sojourners are up in arms because of Glenn Beck's statement that "social justice" is code-word for communism. He further says that if you go to a church that pushes "social justice," you should leave. Now, I refuse to take church attendance advice from a Mormon, but I do appreciate his larger point: namely that it's stopped being about caring for the poor and it's become more about the government monstrosity caring for the poor, the widow, and the needy. The church's role in fulfilling Jesus' command has been relegated, in my opinion, to begging our congressmen to feed the monster and make it bigger so that the poor can please get something to eat.

Jim Wallis, who's been running Sojourners for ages said on his blog, "What he has said attacks the very heart of our Christian faith, and Christians should no longer watch his show."

I have spoken on the perversion of "justice" before, so this is nothing new for me. But I am increasingly frustrated by the abuse of this word, and so for me, Beck's comments certainly reflect sentiments that I have harbored for a number of years.

Listening to Wallis' response to Beck makes me wonder if he is simply resorting to hyperbole by saying that social justice is really the heart of the Christian faith. Actually, since I have some experience with reading Sojourners, I don't think it is hyperbole. Which is sad.

On the blog, Wallis points to Luke 4:18-19 to justify his statement that social justice is the "heart" of the Christian faith.
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Where, in these verses, does Wallis find even the slightest suggestion that social justice is the heart of what we as Christians believe?

[As always, do I need to say that I'm a huge fan of "social justice" if we mean by it that that church should privately help the poor, as James said true religion consists in?]

1 comment:

  1. I think what Beck meant by the "social justice" comment was that we should run from our church if they are promoting social justice as communism. I think everyone is blowing this WAY out of proportion just for drama. I think it's a way for these "churches" that are being interviewed are using Beck's comment to get attention.

    I do agree with you about Wallis though. I hate it when people quote the bible for their own good and twist the meaning so it means what they want it to. Leave it as God has written it and to mean what God has meant it to mean!


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