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Jim Wallis’ un-Christian response to Glenn Beck

As much as I hated Glenn Beck’s call on Christians to flee churches that emphasize “social justice” — which is to say, just about every church there is — I’m still disappointed in the response of lefty Christian Jim Wallis:

“What he has said attacks the very heart of our Christian faith, and Christians should no longer watch his show,” Mr. Wallis wrote on his blog, God’s Politics. “His show should now be in the same category as Howard Stern.”*

I’m disappointed because Wallis’ response could’ve shown Glenn Beck what’s “Christian” about a “social justice Christian.” That is, it could’ve responded in a way that emulated Jesus’ exhortation to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” And maybe Wallis is doing so. But his response comes across as a piece of churlish, cheap moralizing in the vein of Bill Donohue or Donald Wildmon. It seems more interested in scoring political points than in doing God’s work in the world. It’s just uglier and less graceful — in the full meaning of that word – than you’d hope for.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m out of the church, so maybe I shouldn’t be offering theological advice to those who’ve remained. And I certainly believe Glenn Beck is an ass who needs a rhetorical slap in the face, oh, daily. But I maintain a respect for faith, even if I can’t share it. And I hate to see it cheapened by the sordid pettiness of our all-too-human politics.

* I had to rely on the New York Times account of Wallis’ words. For whatever reason, Wallis’ blog post isn’t opening up on my computer. If I find I’m erring in my response to Wallis’ words, I’ll correct the record.

  1. grabegrabe Says: Mar 12 1:00 PM

    You’re fine to offer theological advice, though I don’t think this qualifies. This is more along the lines of don’t-be-a-hypocrite or have-a-little-integrity advice.

  2. Ernesto Tinajero Says: Mar 12 3:00 PM

    Rev Wallis did not say to hate Glenn Beck, only not to support him. Mr. Beck is did not speak about Government but churches. Then Mr. Beck then further damaged his position by saying Jesus and Christianity is about “YOU.” This is a theological issue and not political. http://www.life-and-faith,org for more analysis.

  3. Kelly Craft Says: Mar 12 6:00 PM

    Joel,

    I receive Jim Wallis’ Sojourners via email daily. I too was disappointed in his proposal to boycott Benn Gleck. It seemed to be more reactionary that well thought out, measured response. I have to say that BG is not really the problem, it is the irresponsible journalism of Rupert Murdock that is the source of all this negativism. I would sanction a boycott of Fox TV, et al.

    K

    captcha: man tornados

    I messed up the previous one which was “spooky at”; how I feel when I am shoved out on faith.

  4. Tray Says: Mar 12 8:41 PM

    Remember, he also challenged him to a debate, so while the ‘i’ll just ban you right back’ idea leaves something to be desired, opening the actual debate is hopefully more insightful.

  5. Allison Says: Mar 13 12:56 AM

    Actually, Rev. Wallis had offered to go on Beck’s show and debate him civilly on this issue (http://blog.sojo.net/2010/03/12/an-invitation-to-glenn-beck/), while Beck has taken the low road and personally attacked Wallis as a “foe of capitalism.”

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