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Evangelical leader takes on Beck ...

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from everything i've read, i very much love progressive Christians.

we can always take pity on beck.

leslie

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I think Beck has gone too far this time. He can diss the President---that is his right---but to encourage people to leave their churches is utterly intolerant of a different point of view. Either he is playing to his audience in hopes of generating controversy and higher ratings or he has totally lost his mind, if not his soul.

(CNN) -- An evangelical leader is calling for a boycott of Glenn Beck's television show and challenging the Fox News personality to a public debate after Beck vilified churches that preach economic and social justice.

The Rev. Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, a network of progressive Christians, says Beck perverted Jesus' message when he urged Christians last week to leave churches that preach social and economic justice.

Wallis says Beck compared those churches to Communists and Nazis.

Wallis says at least 20,000 people have already responded to his call to boycott Beck. He says Beck is confusing his personal philosophy with the Bible.

"He wants us to leave our churches, but we should leave him," Wallis says of Beck. "When your political philosophy is to consistently favor the rich over the poor, you don't want to hear about economic justice."

Wallis says he wants to go on Beck's show to challenge the contention that churches shouldn't preach economic and social justice.

Social and economic justice is at the heart of Jesus' message, Wallis says.

"He's afraid of being challenged on his silly caricatures," Wallis says. "Glenn Beck talks a lot when he doesn't have someone to dialogue with. Is he willing to talk with someone who he doesn't agree with?"

Beck did not answer numerous requests for an interview.

Glenn Beck talks a lot when he doesn't have someone to dialogue with

But a prominent evangelical leader says he, too, is suspicious of churches that preach economic and social justice.

Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, a Christian college in Virginia, says Jesus wasn't interested in politics. He says that those pastors who preach economic and social justice "are trying to twist the gospel to say the gospel supported socialism."

"Jesus taught that we should give to the poor and support widows, but he never said that we should elect a government that would take money from our neighbor's hand and give it to the poor," Falwell says.

Falwell says that Jesus believed that individuals, not governments, should help the poor.

"If we all did as Jesus did when he helped the poor, we wouldn't need the government," says Falwell, the son of the late evangelical leader, the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

The term "economic and social justice" is not easy to define. It has different meanings for different people.

For some Christians, practicing economic and social justice means that churches should practice charity: setting up soup kitchens, assisting victims of natural disasters, and helping people find jobs.

For other Christians, practicing economic and social justice also means trying to change the conditions that cause people to be poor or unemployed. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. subscribed to this definition of biblical justice.

Marty Duren, a Southern Baptist Convention pastor, says some conservative Christians have traditionally thought churches shouldn't get involved in economic or social justice.

"For a long time, Southern Baptists and evangelicals were so focused on the return of Christ that what was happening in the real world was almost incidental," says Duren, who blogs at martyduren.com.

But within the last two decades, Duren says, more evangelical Christians have come to believe that the Bible calls for economic and social justice.

I definitely agree with Rev. Falwell, Junior, that if individuals helped the poor, government would not need to be involved. However, mindset depends on expecting people to be generous and, as sinful people, we are selfish and don't want to share our resources. Do we then turn our backs on those who need help? I believe that there are some who would think that we should turn our backs but those who do not agree should not be bullied by the likes of Beck into silence.

BTW, here is a blog that cites Beck as specifying that Catholics should leave their church due to their commitment to social justice. http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2010/03/08/glenn-beck-thinks-catholics-should-leave-their-church/

Another link. http://blog.beliefnet.com/beliefbeat/2010/03/christians-object-to-becks-warnings-about-social-justice_comments.htmlInteresting to cite Beck's own religious beliefs; I wonder how he reacts to conservative Christians who feel his is a "false religion". I would think Michele Bachmann, who is part of the extremely conservative Wisconsin Lutheran Evangelical Synod, a group that refuses to participate in any ecumenical activities, might condemn his religion as being "untrue".

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He must loathe UU's then, as it's one of our "Seven Principles": "Justice, equity and compassion in human relations". It's written into my church's mission statement: "Our mission is to provide a compassionate and welcoming community, inspire spiritual and intellectual growth, and serve as a beacon for social activism and service." In fact this coming Sunday is "Justice Sunday: What Poverty Does To America".

Interesting that Mr. Falwell of all people is now saying that Jesus wasn't interested in politics.

Edited by Tweety

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He must loathe UU's then, as it's one of our "Seven Principles": "Justice, equity and compassion in human relations". It's written into my church's mission statement: "Our mission is to provide a compassionate and welcoming community, inspire spiritual and intellectual growth, and serve as a beacon for social activism and service." In fact this coming Sunday is "Justice Sunday: What Poverty Does To America".

I am sure the UCC is also on Beck's sh, er, I mean, boycott list as well.

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Done. Also sent the link to the husband. Glad to see that he will be able to identify himself as a pastor on the email to Mr. B.

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I don't agree with Glenn Beck, at all, on any subject. Let me make that clear. I don't like his histrionics and I don't like the outright lies he has told, including this one. If I have to say the above a thousand times, let me do that so it will be perfectly clear where I am coming from. I think Jesus Himself was about social justice, if his first words on coming into public ministry are any indicator. I've been following the Beck/Wallis thing for a couple weeks on sojo.net

Having said that, it's my fervent hope that this doesn't become a debate of personalities; I think the more we focus on Beck vs. Wallis, the less we as Christians focus on Jesus. I hope there is a way to call out inaccuracies without it becoming a colossal contest of urinary aim and distance.

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I don't agree with Glenn Beck, at all, on any subject. Let me make that clear. I don't like his histrionics and I don't like the outright lies he has told, including this one. If I have to say the above a thousand times, let me do that so it will be perfectly clear where I am coming from. I think Jesus Himself was about social justice, if his first words on coming into public ministry are any indicator. I've been following the Beck/Wallis thing for a couple weeks on sojo.net

Having said that, it's my fervent hope that this doesn't become a debate of personalities; I think the more we focus on Beck vs. Wallis, the less we as Christians focus on Jesus. I hope there is a way to call out inaccuracies without it becoming a colossal contest of urinary aim and distance.

That is a very good point.

I've read Mr. Wallis' book "The Great Awakening - Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America". I mentioned his premise once to one of our atheist friends here on AN as a sign (for the atheist) that some Christians have decided not to focus on abortion/homosexuality - but that made no difference to him because his entire point is "THERE IS NO GOD". And we should not be trying to solve the world's problem from the viewpoint that God is real and has anything at all to do with anything!

I don't agree with very much that Mr. Wallis wrote about because he merely trades the focus on abortion/homosexuality to other issues . . . which still use their base as Christianity. That seems a bit disingenuous to me.

I don't understand WHY Christians can't have their own ideas about what to focus on - freedom to follow our own spiritual gifts whether it be educating young women about valuing themselves so much that they don't give young men the chance to use their bodies with no real commitment and respect (and conversely teaching young men to respect women) or racial reconciliation. Mr. Wallis' proposes leaving aside the issue of abortion and refocusing on poverty, global warming, terrorism, human traffickiing, health care, etc.

At the crux of all of this is teaching is STILL the love of Jesus Christ. Which makes people angry at us for poking our religious nose into their business.

Mr. Wallis is the flip side of the coin . . . .with Jerry Falwell Jr. being the other side.

At to Mr. Beck - I'm not crazy about him - he is too hysterical.

steph

Edited by Spidey's mom

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I don't agree with very much that Mr. Wallis wrote about because he merely trades the focus on abortion/homosexuality to other issues . . . which still use their base as Christianity. That seems a bit disingenuous to me.

I think his point is that in the Bible, Jesus focused on things like healing the sick and taking care of people's needs than ranting about abortion and homosexuality. If the passage from Isaiah that Jesus used to begin his recorded public ministry is any indicator, then I can understand Wallis' (and others') frustration that so many have chosen to focus the bulk of their energies on the Big Two.

I don't agree with Wallis on everything, and don't agree that if you're a Christian you must vote Democratic. Quite frankly there is enough physical and spiritual violence supported by both Democrats and Republicans. But Wallis does occasionally say something I agree with over at sojo.net. What I mentioned in the first paragraph is one of those things.

And I totally disagree with Glenn Beck that 'social justice' = 'Communism', 'socialism', 'Nazism', or some other buzzword thrown around to make people afraid. But I don't expect someone like Beck to be down with Jesus' teachings, either. He lives to instill fear of the politically 'other' in people, and that is so not like Jesus.

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