Sunday, July 18, 2010

It is high time

Glenn Beck started an anti-faith campaign in March, when he linked social justice (helping the ‘least of these’) to communism and Nazism and urged his audience to abandon churches that preach social justice, saying:

"I beg you; look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes."

On May 28, on his nationally syndicated radio show, Beck read an excerpt from a Washington Post ad by Simon Greer, President of Jewish Funds for Justice. In it, Simon argued that we are at our best as a society when we put humankind and the common good first. Beck responded that "This leads to death camps. A Jew, of all people, should know that. This is exactly the kind of talk that led to the death camps in Germany."

At last, Americans of faith are telling Glenn Beck that enough is enough. This summer as Beck does a speaking tour of the United States, Faithful America – a multi-faith organization – has rallied its members to push back against Beck's false-Christian-social-justice message. When Beck makes stops in South Carolina, New York, New Jersey, and Washington D.C., the group's new radio ad will follow his trail and challenge his words as false gospel on local Christian radio stations.

The ad not only points a finger at Beck; it also challenges Christians to pay closer attention to their own Scriptures instead of blindly following Beck's version of Christianity. “Would you support a leader who said Jesus' teachings can lead to Nazism or who attacks Christian pastors for preaching the full gospel? Then why do so many Christians tune in to Glenn Beck?” the ad asks. This ad kicks off Faithful America's “Driven by Faith, Not by Fear” campaign to counter the extreme statements of pundits and Tea Partiers.

Beth Dahlman, online organizer for Faithful America, said in an interview, “He [Beck] has gone after what is at the heart of what our faith tradition says. For people in our community, there is just no way to read scripture and not think about social justice. It is our obligation as people of faith to take that seriously and to do all we can to make that good news a reality… Christians are cautioned not to praise God in one breath, while cursing those made in God's likeness in the next.” With membership already surpassing one hundred thousand, Faithful America, founded in 2004, works with America's diverse religious communities to act for justice on pressing moral issues.

In the wake of his attack on Judeo-Christian values, people of faith continue to speak out against Beck’s kind of demagoguery and advocate for real solutions to the pressing challenges facing millions of Americans. Leaders of the faith community are also standing up to Beck with an ad in Forward. The ad in Forward is sponsored by Jewish Funds for Justice which was the subject of one of Beck's most truly hateful tirades; but it is signed by more than 250 supporters of the group's work for social justice, including Christian clergy and Jewish rabbis.

“We have no illusions that our ad is going to change Glenn Beck's mind all of the sudden,” Beth Dahlman said. Faithful America's goal is to counter Beck's false messages of faith and speak the truth about what Jesus taught about caring for the vulnerable. If more Americans heed the challenge given by many leaders of Christian and Jewish faiths, Beck's ratings could continue its downward trend.

As Beck's attacks on the tenets of Christianity grow ever more vicious, these efforts are more important than ever. It is high time Christians took on false prophets like Glenn Beck.