By Tara Kozub
The recent controversy surrounding Glenn Beck’s assertions about the meaning of social justice has me confused. Why are Christian leaders like the Reverend Jim Wallis bearing false witness against Glenn Beck? Before criticizing or slandering him, they should read the full transcript containing the statements in question from the show (that can easily be found on www.glennbeck.com); and they may, consequently, find themselves guilty of rash judgment. Beck didn’t tell people to abandon their religion or faith denomination. He did, however, encourage people to leave individual parishes if said parishes touted a social justice teaching that aligns itself with the progressive movement and socialistic teachings. There is abundant truth in his admonition. Perhaps that’s why it struck a nerve and evoked such a strong response from people like the Reverend Jim Wallis.
I, for one, am grateful to Glenn Beck for shining a spotlight on this issue that is in much need of our scrutiny. Much evidence suggests that the social justice teaching espoused in the majority of churches today does not comport with Christian Truth. It is, all too often, a proselytization of socialistic and progressive policy wrapped in a distortion of the Gospel and the Truth.
As a devout Catholic, I have witnessed firsthand the hypocrisy of the social justice movement. In my opinion, it has been a scourge on Christianity and, in particular, the Catholic Church; a perversion of Truth that has had far-reaching consequences.
One only need search the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to see evidence of this at work. Just last fall, a scandal was uncovered in the social justice arm of the USCCB known as the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), whose mission, according to their website is “to address the root causes of poverty in American through promotion and support of community-controlled, self-help organizations, and through transformative education.” The CCHD annually holds a nationwide fundraising campaign in November for the purposes of supporting the above endeavors. A report on funding practices issued by the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry (BVM) a self-described “Catholic grass-roots organization ministry dedicated to the truth and action” found that the CCHD was funding such organizations as The Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), The Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP), and Young Workers United (YWU). Contrary to Catholic teaching, these organizations support and promote abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage, and legalized prostitution.
I watched in anguish as some of my Catholic brothers and sisters were led astray by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ complicity, or willful ignorance, in shaping the current healthcare legislation that from every angle, with or without an abortion amendment, amounts to anti-life legislation. This gives further evidence of the social justice movement run amuck in the name of Christianity.
We are like sheep being led to the slaughter by the very shepherds who should be protecting us. To me the timeliness of it all is no coincidence; it seems appropriate that this controversy should play itself out during Lent, the holiest season of the Catholic/Christian calendar year. Are our shepherds and religious leaders, in working with legislators to fundamentally transform our country, selling us out to the government for “thirty pieces of silver”?
There is no justice of any kind without Truth. Jesus Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. Oftentimes, people who purport to be promoters of social justice align themselves with progressive principles that, by their very nature, have no regard for God, Truth, or the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. All too often, these self-professed seekers of social justice use a false interpretation of Scripture to further their own political agenda on such issues as gay marriage, illegal immigration, abortion, global warming, euthanasia, and, currently, universal healthcare legislation.
To be true conduits of social justice, one must begin with the Truth and end with the Truth. We must understand that individual human rights come from God, not from government, and they are rooted in Natural Law. As the Declaration of Independence says, “We have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
Consequently, promoters of government imposed social justice, even our own religious leaders, seek to deprive the rest of us the opportunity to grow in the virtue of charity. As Christians we have an obligation to care for the poorest among us, to practice charity through the corporal works of mercy – to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. But true charity and social justice must emanate from our own free will. The bishops and religious leaders who preach government mandated social justice abdicate their Christian duty to practice, and cultivate within their flock a desire to live out, the Christian virtue of charity. It is not the role of government to legislate charity. In so doing, they are stealing from us an inheritance greater than what they see as a right to healthcare.
A government enforced social justice is an injustice to all – rich, poor, young, old, feeble, and strong alike. Christians and all Americans of faith and good will who look to government to legislate social justice are in grave error. They are allowing themselves to be the “useful idiots” of those with an insidious agenda. Again, this is made manifest as we watch the USCCB and groups like the Catholic Health Association or the Evangelical Sojourners who, in the name of Christian charity, advocate for social justice in negotiating for a government takeover of our healthcare. Contrary to what they profess, healthcare is not a right. Our rights come from God, not government, and they are rooted in Natural Law.
The USCCB, and every other Christian religious organization, should be doing all it can to block any government takeover of our healthcare system. But, instead, they are allowing their zeal for social justice to blind them and override their obligation to the Faith and the faithful. Their compass for social justice must center on 1) a dedication to the Truth, 2) a respect for Life at all stages, and 3) a respect for the God-given gift of individual free will. Their enthusiasm in supporting universal healthcare legislation is evidence that they have abandoned these principles and, consequently, their flock. This is a perversion of the Gospel; and it is a disgrace.
Scripture says, “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.” 1 Corinthians 26-29.
The truth of the matter is that both our legislators and religious leaders have sold us out. They slander and bear false witness against Glenn Beck and the rest of us who try to bring truth in this regard. They ignore the will of the people, dismissing those who protest as those who count for nothing.
I am not a community organizer or a union member or a religious leader of prominence. I am not a politician, a Washington insider, or a member of the mainstream media. What I am is a mom who loves and wants to protect and defend my God, my family, my country, and my Constitution. Those in authority, in both our government and our churches, may discount me as misinformed, insignificant, or merely naive about the issues at hand. But, my compass is God-centered, leading me to seek and speak the Truth in all things, to respect life at all stages, and to protect my God-given gift of free will. It compels me to defend the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, tenets of the American dream that have made our country so great and so blessed.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them.” Mt. 7:15-16
I implore all citizens of faith and good will, heed Glenn Beck’s warning. Just as we are determined to hold our elected officials accountable, we must also hold our religious leaders accountable, who purport to speak for us in the name of a distorted sense of social justice. They do not! We must alert as many people as we can to this injustice. We must inform our fellow parishioners, our neighbors, family members, and friends of the true meaning of social justice and encourage them to join with us in setting the record straight in this regard.
The Pharisees bear false witness. “By their fruits you will know them.” Mt. 7:16