Tag Archives: Glenn Beck

Poetic Justice for Beck’s Social Justice Rant

tea kettle with boiling water

“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!”

Why run?  “Social justice” codes for Nazism and communism says conservative commentator, Glenn Beck.  And he does not care if this pisses you off.  If anything, his notoriety is helpful.  “I could give a flying crap about the political process … We’re an entertainment company,” he said in a Forbes magazine cover-page article this month. In the 12 months leading up to March 1, 2010, his company Mercury Radio Arts brought in $32 million in revenue.  Five million daily viewers are in love with his Fox News show.  His wildly irresponsible statements are helpfully cataloged with a generous profile on Dickipedia — a wiki of dicks.  Here are some highlights:

“I’m thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it.” (2005)

“When I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I’m just like, ‘Oh shut up.’ I’m so sick of them because they’re always complaining.” (2005)

“The only [Katrina victims] we’re seeing on television are the scumbags.” (2005)

Not listed but equally ridiculous:  “This President, I think, has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture” (2009).

“I don’t necessarily believe that [what Beck says] is reflective of his own personal politics — I don’t even know if he has personal politics,” says Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers, a trade magazine devoted to talk radio. “I see him as a performer.”

Performer he may be, but for much of the American religious world, the social justice slam was the last straw.  All hell broke loose; many in the American religious establishment turned their firepower on Beck.  From Scott Trotter, a spokesman for Beck’s own Latter-day Saint community:  “Public figures who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints represent their own views and do not speak for the church.”  Evangelical leader Jim Wallis, on his blog GOD’S politics, said, “the Catholic Church, the Black Churches, the Mainline Protestant churches, and more and more Evangelical and Pentecostal churches including Hispanic and Asian-American congregations all consider social justice central to biblical faith.” He then called for Christians to boycott Beck’s show.  Beck qualified his comments by denying them: “No, no, no. Didn’t say that [tell people to leave their churches if they talked about social justice]. I said if they are basing their religion on social justice. Social justice and economic justice are code words. Look for those code words, and then ask your church, ‘What do you mean by that? What is that?’ Because they’re code words. And don’t be sucked into that.”

In an April 6 Huffington Post article, Hollywood Seventh-day Adventist Church pastor Ryan Bell talked about meeting with filmmakers at his church to create PSAs responding to Beck: “Our goal is to help people understand what social justice is and its place at the center of Christian faith.”  Here is the first of these that can be viewed at socialjusticechristian.com

If anything good came of Beck’s comments, its this: American Christianity proved that it was up to the challenge of fighting back against conservative attempts to shape its narrative and quell the struggle for social justice.  Religion is fundamentally not right wing or left wing.   And faith has no quarrel with social justice.

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Bjorn Karlman

Conservative Xenophobes Schooled on Latinos

immigrant crossing

Anti-immigration Republicans were dealt a hearty smack in the face by American Conservative editor, Ron Unz in the March 01, 2010 issue of the publication.  Conservative bigots have argued for years that crime statistics prove recent Latino immigrants are dangerous.   In His-Panic / Talk TV sensationalists and axe-grinding ideologues have fallen for a myth of immigrant lawlessness, Unz looked at federal crime rate statistics and found that such conservative claims are the result of lazy, prejudiced thinking.

Bumbling dolts, ensconced in thinly veiled white supremacist justifications of know-nothing hate, have made claims that crime stats prove that the incarceration rate for Hispanics is 150% that of Caucasians.  Rather than resorting to flimsy liberal gabble about how this stat does nothing but prove the prejudice of the American legal system, Unz actually analyzes the crime data.

His findings?  When the “data are controlled for things like age (the Hispanic population tends to be younger and more male than the white population) and location (some states incarcerate everyone at higher-than-average rates), the Hispanic incarceration rate is within a few percentage points of the white incarceration rate—and in some states, it’s lower.” (Slate, Feb 18, 2010)

Attacking xenopobic, conservative anti-immigration fear-mongering, Unz asks, “… are these concerns rooted in the same excitable and ideological mindset that produced endless stories of Saddam’s notorious WMD, with activists and their media accomplices passing along rumors and personal beliefs in pursuit of a political agenda rather than bothering to determine the facts? Does America face a Hispanic crime problem or merely a Hispanic crime hoax?”

This is an entirely valid question.  Why do we put up with axe-grinding, numbnut imbeciles like Dick Cheney and his relentless campaign to justify his disastrously irresponsible, nightmarishly isolationist and utterly fear-based foreign policy?  An embarrassingly pronounced flank of conservatives love nothing more than inciting fear in their followers. When you take this kind of fear and turn it against immigrants (as Glenn Beck and his various incarnations do), the results spell an indisputable megaflop for basic human relations and intercultural respect.

Then there’s the flipside of all this.  Let’s not forget Ron Unz himself is a conservative. Obviously, it is equally lazy to label all conservatives as fanatical, enthnocentric dum-dums.  “Conservatives aren’t anti-immigrant, they’re anti-criminal, much like liberals are anti-tax filing.  Loving your country enough to request that anyone who wishes to be a member abide by their immigration laws, is not anti-immigrant, and making such an assessment by accusing the entire conservative philosophy as being racist is… well … anti-intellectual,” says Rusty Weiss in News Busters.

Fair enough.  But if the conservative gripe is with crime rates, then perhaps it would behoove Republicans prone to blanket pronouncements to actually study the data instead of quivering over the dangerous world beyond their white picket fences.

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Bjorn Karlman