Glenn Beck has again managed to make headlines, this time for his issuing of a warning call to Christians. He said, “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 [for Nazism]. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes! If you have a priest that is pushing social justice, go find another parish. Go alert your bishop and tell them, ‘Excuse me are you down with this whole social justice thing?’”
Okay, so I have to admit that I found it irresistible to search LDS.org, and admittedly not much came up. But there were some talks, including one from Pres. Faust who says that it is unfortunate that it is taking so long to “bring full economic justice to women.” Ouch.
But doesn’t Beck (and other neo-cons) argue against the government trying to redistribute wealth? Does he now not want churches trying to help achieve social justice? And what is “social justice,” anyways? Roger Ebert from the Chicago Sun Times wrote, “I think it [social justice] involves civil rights and liberties. It involves a trial in a fair legal system. It involves freedom of speech and the practice, or non-practice, of religion. It involves a living wage and decent working conditions. As my father often repeated, ‘A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.’ Which of these areas does Glenn Beck believe the Communists and Nazis excelled in?”
Beck’s comments reveal a troubling undertone to the neo-Conservative movement: that social justice and helping the poor is somehow bad. Consider, for example, what Mary Matalin, who was a former political strategist for Pres. Bush, said the other night on The Colbert Report. In typical Colbert fashion, Colbert began the interview by saying, “First off, why are you wearing a cross? You know Jesus preached social justice, it makes you look like a Communist.” She answered, “Yes, he did. He also preached about fish. Don’t give out fish. You don’t work, you don’t eat.” Colbert was quick to remind her that Jesus actually said, “I will make you fishers of men. I don’t believe that Jesus said, ‘If you don’t work you don’t eat.’ I believe he said ‘Sell everything you have and give your money to the poor, and you shall find the kingdom of God,’” but you know…I believe in your paraphrasing.”