Jim Wallis challenges Glenn Beck; Falwell Jr. to the rescue!

On our friend Glenn Beck: a challenge from Jim Wallis, and support from [surprise!] Jerry Falwell Jr.

CNN.com reports:

"He's afraid of being challenged on his silly caricatures," Wallis says. "Glenn Beck talks a lot when he doesn't have someone to dialogue with. Is he willing to talk with someone who he doesn't agree with?"

Beck did not answer numerous requests for an interview.

But a prominent evangelical leader says he, too, is suspicious of churches that preach economic and social justice.

Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, a Christian college in Virginia, says Jesus wasn't interested in politics. He says that those pastors who preach economic and social justice "are trying to twist the gospel to say the gospel supported socialism."

"Jesus taught that we should give to the poor and support widows, but he never said that we should elect a government that would take money from our neighbor's hand and give it to the poor," Falwell says.

Falwell says that Jesus believed that individuals, not governments, should help the poor.

"If we all did as Jesus did when he helped the poor, we wouldn't need the government," says Falwell, the son of the late evangelical leader, the Rev.
Jerry Falwell.

It would be funny, if it weren't so tragic, to hear a right-wing fundamentalist assert, "Jesus wasn't interested in politics."


Scott said...

It is ironic to me who, in this situation, is making the church political. I'm sure it is those pastors who speak about justice to their congregations and not Mr. Falwell claiming that the current administration is Socialist....

Al said...

I almost agree with Falwell Jr. when he says: "If we all did as Jesus did when he helped the poor, we wouldn't need the government."

Shame on us for not looking after each other, so we now need the gov't to do it for us. Because we aren't willing to dip into our own pockets, we need the gov't to pick them for us.

george said...

i think jesus and marx would drank a lot of beers together! 'the love one another' clause i think is the biggest indicator that god is a fan of what we call 'social justice''

Sabio Lantz said...

This is a question of the role of government that is debated in many countries and each use their own favorite rhetoric to support their positions. Here both sides are mustering Jesus to support them.

It is the old: "What would Jesus Do?" farce. There are better ways to talk about things. Pulling God to your side simply shuts down the conversation. But hell, that is one way God-talk is used -- to shut down debate.

Peter said...

Sabio, God just told me you're wrong.


George, I agree. I can see Marx saying, "Jesus, I don't believe in you, but you've got some great ideas." And Jesus saying, "I don't believe in you either, but you've got great ideas, too." I actually do really like Marx. Mostly.

Al, I hear you. I'm just too cynical to believe the Body of Christ will do what it's supposed to be doing. So I'd prefer to pay higher taxes.

Scott, yup. I like the term "selective fundamentalist." Nobody's ACTUALLY fundamentalist, because that would mean selling your house and cashing in your 401k, giving it all away, and going to live like a hobo. And when people tell you you're wrong, turning the other cheek. And letting them kill you. I think that's an actual fundamentalist.

WKen said...

Al nailed it. If the church was doing what it was supposed to do, then we wouldn't need a welfare system.

But since we're not, we do.

For my own part, I find it interesting that people who demand that we stamp "In God we trust" on currency, make everyone pledge allegiance to a nation "under God," and ban gay marriage on religious ground balk when suddenly someone mentions using government power for helping the poor. That is what bothers them?

Sabio Lantz said...

Am I wrong, but Al and WKen's logic seems would also mean:

(a) The church does not pray enough, so no we will make the schools do it.

(b) The congregations do not tithe enough, so no we will have a state church who mandatorily collects.

(c) We don't repent enough, now will will for an Inquisitional branch of the government to "help" us repent.

God-talk does not answer the question: What is the role of the government? Are there worse drawbacks from making the government the supposed answers where other common sense methods fail?

You have to get off the "Jesus Says!" platform to encourage meaningful dialogue -- those on BOTH sides.

WKen said...

Ummmm ...


That would be the line of argument used by the Right, actually.

Were I really making a strong case for the welfare system, I would root my argument in economics (the field in which I have my degree) and then to a lesser extent in ethics. "Jesus says!" would only be a point I would use when speaking to other Christians.

This is distinguished from Jerry Falwell, Jr. (mentioned in the article above), who tends to use "Jesus says!" as his entire argument except when it would mean that he has obligations as a Christian, too.

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