just say “no”

I don’t pay much attention to talk radio. Don’t have the energy, the time, or the desire to listen to people paid to act like they’re experts on just about any given topic and who consistently open their mouths to conclusively prove they aren’t. Not to mention the fact that simply provoking a response—any response—is, to their reckoning, a success. So I typically pay no attention to their silliness, am rarely surprised by their meanness, their small-mindedness, or their ignorance, and am never surprised by the absolute and arrogant assurance with which they utter their assertions.

But this week, I find I cannot avoid comments by one of Fox’s blathering heads, a certain Glenn Beck, speaking about social justice and the church, by implication about social justice and God. I didn’t see him or hear him. I read about others reacting against him, looked up what he said, and struggled against my preference to ignore. But in this case, you see, he chose to speak to an area of my own interest and study. And I fear that too many people these days—too many people with knowledge in various fields, don’t bother refuting silliness and distortion, lies and perversions, because it’s so obviously silliness, distortion, lies, and perversions—even though we live in times when silliness, distortion, lies, and perversions will be heard as truth—times when an individual’s partisanship predetermines his or her acceptance or rejection of perspective apparently irrespective of such things as facts or truth.

So when Beck says that social justice is not integral to Jesus and to church, and that people should leave their church if it speaks of social justice, and this at a time when conservative and progressive churches are finding common ground specifically on matters of social justice—as a minister, a student of the Bible, and a lover of church, I think: a/ I want to make sure that at our church we regularly and proudly affirm social justice as integral to the Bible, to our understanding of Jesus, God and to the work of the church in the world; b/ surely people don’t accept this guy as a Biblical scholar; c/ there are plenty of people who absolutely do accept what media personalities say just because they say it (and how scary is that?); d/ what Bible did he read … or did he read it?; e/ which community of faith is responsible for allowing him to have read it that way? … if he read it; and f/ is there anyone who holds him accountable?

… and, ah, in for a penny, in for a pound … holding up a swastika and the sickle and hammer, equating social justice with communism and nazism is just cheap, and yet obscene, grandstanding. Seems to me those who live in fear of government should fear most those who with absolute and arrogant assurance utter their assertions believing their opinion should be guaranteed as fact.

Don’t know if or how it might matter, but I’ve said, “No,” and I feel better.


4 thoughts on “just say “no”

  1. I know that I can take things too seriously, but it is important to consider the ‘harm’ and ‘damage’ all public personalities inflict on our collective ability to engage in honest dialogue, especially when facts are not important and opinions pass for so much more. It is extremely challenging to debate when differences are based on facts. It is next to impossible to do so when the ‘rules of engagement’ do not include a focus on what can be agreed upon as the facts and then to differ based on opinions that result from the aforementioned facts.

    In regards to social justice and the church, it is alarming for someone to incite church-goers to leave a specific congregation if the leadership is unwilling to eliminate a focus on social justice from the church’s focus. This is antithetical to my understanding of who Jesus was/is and would be greatly challenged by the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures that were the guides Jesus used to call into question the unjust structures of his own day.

    I am reminded of a quote by Dom Helder Camara, a champion of Brazil’s poor and a pioneer of Latin America’s liberation theology movement. “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s