Yesterday, after all the brouhaha with Sojouners and Glenn Beck, I found myself listening to Glenn Beck to see what he would answer Jim Wallis, and the rest of the Christian challenge to his attack on "social justice."
I found two interesting items.
First, I found that he has a slippery handle on theology, and I expected that, what surprised me was his attack on the American progressive movement of the 19th and 20th century.
He showed a curious hate for Woodrow Wilson, more curious was his lack of mentioning that the first progressive president was actually republican Teddy Roosevelt, and the second was republican William Taft. What Mr. Beck was saying was that the Progressives of that era were actually closeted Marxists, Socialists, and Fascists. So, the great social movements of Temperance, Suffrage, and others social reforms were part of the a great communist plot. His technique is to read a passage by one of his targets and then say they use the same words that Marxists used. I am not sure if is taking out a play out Rush's playbook, making the word, "progressive" a suspect to his listeners the way Rush made "liberal" suspect for his. He has to rape history for this. He has to ignores the roots of the Progressive movement in the Second Great Awakening and the Abolitionist movement.
Back to the first point of having a weak understanding of theology. He reminded Jim Wallis of the separation of Church and state, which I had a hard time following in this context. The thinking was since Rev Wallis is a spiritual adviser to President Obama, his criticism of Mr. Beck was invalid. He says that any church interested justice was just interested in government control. When he say that I wonder if he includes Operation Rescue? His logic does.
Further, he does not mention the the criticism of him for the Catholic Church, and his own Church of Latter-day Saints. He, though ties, the Catholic Church to Liberation Theology and to American Black Theology. He follows up with stating the Catholic Church helped the Marxist movement in Latin America. All of his rant started to be come more like a two year old's temper tantrum.
Finally, he says that Jesus was not concern with politics. I will write soon about the Politics of Jesus, later.
It is suffice to say by his logic, since he thinks any religious person who speaks social justice, would included in its list Mother Teresa and the Pro-life movement.
I end with his interview with Joel Osteen. This is funny as it Mr. Beck is pulling a Rodney King, "why can't we just get along," Contrast with his rant. Does he understand theology? You tell me.