TV personality Glenn Beck exerts more time and energy looking for imaginary evildoers than Rush Limbaugh ever did searching for new Oxycontin suppliers. No evangelical missionary devotes more effort to spreading the gospel than Brother Beck expends spreading fear and crackpot conspiracy theories. To the delight of his wingnut fans, the Fox News host sheds fake tears for his country (courtesy Vick VapoRub Ointment) as he demonizes individuals, political movements and even religions that don't embrace his paranoid, ultra-conservative views of Uh-Merca. His obsessive loathing for progressives borders on the comical. But Beck is a joke without a punch line, an entertainer that delivers cheap shots to the cheap seats, a pugilist who bites and hits below the belt. And he's enormously popular with a segment of society that views change - any change - with abhorrence and suspicion.
Just last week, this Fox "freedom hunter" took aim at LGBT-inclusive churches and pastors who believe that helping the disadvantaged is more important than screeching about social issues and condemning nonbelievers to eternal damnation. Sayeth the Prophet of Extremism: "I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church website. 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! Leave your church! If you have a priest that is pushing social justice, go find another parish."
Now those churches are fighting back. Christian author and social justice advocate Rev. Jim Wallis appeared on MSNBC and denounced Beck's latest ravings: "The God of the Bible is the God of justice. The poor are in the center of God's concern... Poverty breaks the heart of God. And it breaks the heart of the church. So, this is about Christians who may disagree on politics... (A)cross the spectrum, Christians are saying Glenn Beck got it wrong." Amanda Terkel writes on Think Progress: This week, Christian religious leaders have been criticizing Fox News host Glenn Beck for his controversial remarks that churches that promote social and economic justice are somehow dangerous.... The Progressive Christian group Sojourners has even launched a campaign calling on Christians to speak out against Beck.
Sojourners members aren't alone in protesting Beck's uncharitable admonitions. A United Church of Christ congregation in New York made their position clear with an outdoor sign that says: "Sorry, Mr. Beck. Jesus Preached Social Justice."
This is not a message radicals like Beck and his knuckle-dragging fan base will ever accept. They prefer to worship a hard-bitten, intansigent Jesus that values the lives of self-righteous conservatives above all others. The Christ of American fundamentalists, Mormon elders, and the Catholic hierarchy is vainglorious, money hungry, and intolerant. The followers of this two-fisted Son of a Deity cheer the misfortune of their adversaries, and only turn the other cheek when preparing to deliver a sucker punch. Theirs is a world of hate without end. Amen.