Liberal evangelical Jim Wallis and conservative Mormon Glenn Beck are in a feud. Actually, it’s not much of a feud. Even though Beck has the Fox “News” Empire behind him and is willing to bear false witness against Wallis, Beck is no match for a man who has spent nearly forty years working on behalf of real social justice, not the kind caricatured by the king of kindergarten theology on his daily television show.
…while social justice begins with our own lives, choices, and sacrifices, it doesn’t end there. Those of us who have actually done this work for years all understand that you can’t just pull the bodies out of the river, and not send somebody upstream to see what or who is throwing them in. Serving the poor is a fundamental spiritual requirement of faith, but challenging the conditions that create poverty in the first place is also part of biblical social justice.
As for Beck’s emphasis on “voluntary” charity—he managed to tell his audience that he gives plenty of money to his church and the poor—Wallis explained to him what really shouldn’t have to be explained:
…voluntary church action can’t provide health care for millions who don’t have it, or fix broken urban school systems, or provide jobs at fair wages, or protect our kids from toxic air, water, and toys, or fix a broken immigration system that is grinding up our vulnerable families, or keep banks from cheating our people. All that requires commitments to holding governments accountable to social justice, and advocating for better public policies.
At the end of his piece, Wallis urged his own “supporters” not to attack Glenn Beck.
No way, Jim. In the spirit of the pissed-off Jesus, who made a whip and drove out first-century Wall Street bankers from the Jerusalem temple two thousand years ago, calling them “thieves” because they were exploiting the poor, I will continue to attack Beck and his exploitation of frustrated, pale-faced folks who turn to him in hopes the cultural changes swirling about them can be thwarted.