The Mennonites I grew up among had a consistent “pro-life” ethic that didn’t place them easily in the service of either major political party: Most of the folks I knew were very much against abortion — but they were also anti-war, anti-death penalty and for helping the poor. A number of them didn’t like to pay taxes, but not for any Ayn Rand-inspired reason; they just didn’t want their money used to pay for America’s wars. A lot of the church’s missions abroad have been done under the umbrella of the Mennonite Central Committee, which has — sometimes controversially within the churches — focused more on helping people and less on evangelizing.
Over the years, there was a phrase I heard used to describe this overall approach to the world: “Social justice.” And until this week, I had no idea that it meant that the Mennonites are secretly in league with the Nazis. Thank goodness we have Glenn Beck to set us straight.
I’ll let Mennonites and other Christians decide if they really want to take theological advice from Beck, a Mormon whose adopted theology many mainstream Christians consider heretical, at best. I’m certainly not going to try to argue theology with the likes of Beck. And in any case, I doubt many adherents of churches that espouse “social justice” are taking their cues from Fox News, anyway.
Suffice it to say, though, I doubt that the answer to “WWJD?” would ever be to “Go Galt.”
What’s more disconcerting, though, is Beck’s framing device. He’s not merely asserting that left-leaning churches are wrong — that’s his right, though I think he’s mistaken. He’s suggesting that Americans, broadly, are about to see their freedom of religion come under assault. What’s his basis for this? He doesn’t have one, as far as I can tell. Is there some Bible-censoring program underway that I don’t know about?
And that’s what bugs me about Beck. It’s not that he has spectacularly wrongheaded opinions – it’s that he proceeds from spectacularly incorrect facts. And that he disseminates those spectacularly wrong facts from one of the highest-profile slots on television. It’s a real disservice to his audience, and to the country that has to put up with a debate influenced by so many of his acolytes.
Some of my conservative friends tell me they think Glenn Beck is full of crap. Obviously he is. But he’s influencing a large swatch of the conservative movement. And he’s doing so in a way that wrongly sows panic and fear among his audience, not thoughtfulness and vigorous debate. Glenn Beck, not churches who believe that pursuing “social justice” is the calling of Christ, is the real danger to our country.
Uncategorized, barack obama, christianity, first amendment, glenn beck, mennonites, mormons, religion