Monday, March 08, 2010

Glenn Beck urges Mormons to leave the Church

Last week on Glenn Beck's radio program, Beck said the following:

"I'm begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. 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!"
You can listen to the longer audio here.



Well a quick search on the LDS.org website brings up a handful of instances where "the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' [are] on [our] church Web site":

James E. Faust (1986): "It is unfortunate that it is taking so long to bring full economic justice to women. The feminization of poverty is both real and tragic. That is why you should work very hard to prepare for your future by gaining some marketable skills. The struggle to improve the place of women in society has been a noble cause, and I sincerely hope the day will come when women with equal skills will be fully equal with men in the marketplace."

James E. Faust (1995): "When we preach the gospel of social justice, no doubt the devil is not troubled."

LDS Church News (2007): "In November 2006, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was presented with an award named in [Mother Teresa's] honor, recognizing “the achievements of those who beautify the world, especially in the fields of religion, social justice, and the arts.”

Some guy named Chris Conkling (1971): "Some skeptics see the Bible as the enemy of history and science without realizing that, in part, it made science and history possible. Surrounding Israel were religions of accommodation that merely sought to help people survive in, not change, their worlds. In contrast, “Judaism … affirmed that [history] was a meaningful process leading to the gradual regeneration of humanity.” By introducing the concept of linear historical progress—the idea that because history is leading to a millennial state, our actions matter in helping create a better world—the Old Testament inspired great changes in human history. Whereas other religions of the period never “produced a major social revolution fired by a high concept of social justice, … ‘the prophets of Judah were a reforming political force which has never been surpassed.’”

Well Mormon fans of Glenn Beck, I guess it's time for you to follow Beck away from the Church.

Though to be fair, there is also a negative use of 'social justice' from a cold war era red-scare article by some guy named Richard K. Gardiner (1971): "First, however, it must be pointed out that after the war Britain adopted an order of priorities somewhat different from that of other European countries. Rather than concentrating primarily on recreating industrial and economic wealth, the first postwar government in Britain put its energies into creating a system that would seek to do greater social justice. To this end the national health service was created and the whole welfare state came into being."

Of course, these are the only times that the words 'social justice' and 'economic justice' show up in a search on LDS.org. They, of course, represent a small fraction of the many many many times that Church leaders have advocated for social justice.

Finally, let us not forget the social and economic justice most powerfully advocated by King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon:
16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
. . . .
21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.
24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.
25 And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.
26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.

With all the Mormon testimony bearing that Glenn Beck seems to do, I wonder if he has actually read the Book of Mormon. Or perhaps he really did become a Mormon just so he could have sex with his wife.

23 comments:

  1. Ridiculous that he would say that. Positively ridiculous.

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  2. Good stuff. Except for the 1995 James E. Faust quote. He seems to be skeptical of the gospel of "social justice":

    I wonder how much we offend Satan if the proclamation of our faith is limited only to the great humanitarian work this church does throughout the world, marvelous as these activities are. When we preach the gospel of social justice, no doubt the devil is not troubled. But I believe the devil is terribly offended when we boldly declare by personal testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he saw the Father and the Son; when we preach that the Book of Mormon is another witness for Christ; when we declare that there has been a restoration of the fulness of the gospel in its simplicity and power in order to fulfill the great plan of happiness.

    His double negative makes it a bit unclear.

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  3. Steve, I think that was an unintended double negative. With the article as a whole, it seems clear that Faust is saying that, for him, living the social justice aspects are not enough. However, that is not to say that Faust downplayed the gospel as social justice. Given his active participation in the democrat party, it seems clear that he highly valued the gospel as social justice. As the SLTrib reported Faust saying:

    "I am a liberal in terms of human values and human rights. I believe what is says in the Book of Mormon that God loves all of his children equally, black and white, bond and free, Jew and Gentile, and the Lord likewise has compassion for the heathen. As a result I like to see all people enjoy every advantage, every blessing, every opportunity that comes to them by reason of citizenship."

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  4. I have a hair dryer. I'd be happy to help un-baptize you... ;-)

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  5. What a moron.

    But you know what? TBM Glenn Beck fans won't even bother looking at the website because they assume the church would *never* promote social justice or any "socialist" ideals.

    Great post

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  6. The person who posted this and the people who buy into it are simply people unable to think for themselves.

    The Gospel does advocate ideas of 'social justice' and 'economic justice.' The difference between the Gospel version of SJ and EJ is that is based on VOLUNTARY and INDIVIDUAL expression.

    SJ and EJ as despised by Beck and other free-thinkers is the kind perpetrated and enforced by government agencies.

    If you choose to share your wealth as King Benjamin encourages then that is your choice. No one is forcing you. When you are taxed, legislated against, and legally threatened and coerced into giving your money to the poor... that is when it becomes evil.

    A church that FORCES versus ENCOURAGES these actions is just as despicable.

    Please, PLEASE try and think a little before blindly spouting off pointless rhetoric.

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  7. That was funny Ryan. You should comment on my blog more often. Haha!!

    Faust's quote was about economic justice for women was totally about "VOLUNTARY and INDIVIDUAL expression." Haha.

    Yeah, and the Zion ideal is totally just "VOLUNTARY and INDIVIDUAL expression." Just as the United Order was about "VOLUNTARY and INDIVIDUAL expression." Haha.

    You accuse me of pointless rhetoric, but then say such utterly stupid and pathetic nonsense such as" "A church that FORCES versus ENCOURAGES these actions is just as despicable."

    How stupid are you? Are you Glenn Beck in disguise? Do you really think that there are churches that FORCE an "SJ and EJ [that is] perpetrated and enforced by government agencies."

    Your own pathetic and waste-waste-of-my-time rhetoric isn't even cohesive.

    Ugh. What church out there "FORCES" any kind of social and economic justice???

    I was joking about you posting more. Please don't. You're a nonsensical nut.

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    Replies
    1. Actually, between the two I find your answer to be the more pathetic. At the very least 'Ryan' proclaimed his thought in such a manner that he did not come off a pompous and Ill-mannered being. If you are going to go about telling someone that their way of life, beliefs, and right to speak their mind is wrong then I would suggest that you say it in such a manner that it will encourage them to your point of view rather than merely be pointlessly insulting and wasting effort on your part. There such a thing as manners, sir, and they have existed long before you. I would suggest you explore their depths and see if you have gleaned anything from them. As for your allegations, I am entirely unimpressed, both in the inexperience with the group that you are attacking and with the manner you went about it once more. I highly doubt that you will do anything to properly address what I have written, so, how about this. I dare you to be better. As a person, I know that you can be. So, keep your beliefs and accusations and all else, but do remember, these are not just names. They are people, people who live and breath and feel and hope. And no matter how childish and idealistic the idea might be to some it is not something to be brushed off as a small detail, despite how casually our society treats it. You say you want to reveal things to others, display your opinion to the world? Then do that and when someone challenges you, show the character that you did not display in this reply. I dare you. Best wishes,
      Jade

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  8. Furthermore Ryan, while you are accusing me of not thinking for myself, you have completely bought into Beck's utterly stupid and chimeric notion of SJ and EJ in contemporary churches. You have to be a freaking idiot to believe Beck, but rather than thinking for yourself, you nurse from Beck's breasts and take in his milk without question.

    His attempt to equate Christian SJ with Nazism and Soviet Socialism is completely false. Like Beck, I am positive that you have never read Ignacio Ellacuria, Gustavo Guttierez, Jon Sobrino, the Boff brothers, or any of the other fathers of modern liberation theology.

    Ugh. Such stupidity and blink Beck loyalty.

    What a joke.

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  9. cool blog, very interesting, but only at the expense of sincerity; C'mon, when you take specific statements from specific people, without giving a lot of context, or not allowing any room for common human error and mistakes, or just looking at the big picture in general, you're doing exactly what Glenn Beck does.

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  10. Dearest narrator,

    First, thank you for posting my comment. I honestly didn't think you would. I would also like to thank you for your quick response. I wish you had perhaps read for understanding a little more before blasting me so intensely but hey, you can't have everything.

    I also would like to point out your original post and my first comment contained no reference to Beck's attempt to equate Christian SJ with Nazism or Soviet Socialism so I am at a loss as to why you are arguing that point with me.

    My point, if I might be allowed to re-emphasize it, is that there is a world of difference between the SJ and EJ advocated by Jesus Christ and as taught in the Gospel compared to the modern rendition of the phrases.

    Jesus Christ and His Gospel lay down principles that, if followed, lead to personal peace and happiness in this life and the same in the life to come. The Gospel's advocated principles are completely voluntary. If one chooses to believe as Jesus taught and do as He did one is free to. There is no coercive part.

    Therefore, the giving of one's wealth, time etc to the poor and less fortunate (as urged by King Benjamin in the quote you posted) is a choice. An individual and personal choice to do so.

    The kind of SJ/EJ demanded by modern liberals is something completely different. The modern liberal demands that the government create legislation that FORCES a 'distribution of wealth.' No one is given a choice. You are taxed to pay for schools, food, clothing etc of people you don't know and will never meet. You do not get to choose if you wish to contribute, you do not get to choose who receives that money, and you do not get to choose how that money is spent.

    In essence, the modern liberal's demands for SJ/EJ remove choice from the equation. Christianity advocates choice.

    Beck's denunciation of churches that support SJ/EJ is a denunciation of churches that support SJ/EJ THROUGH GOVERNMENT AGENCIES and not through their congregation's free will and choice. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has never demanded of me to donate money. I have been asked and encouraged but never forced. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has never demanded of me political action in the name of SJ/EJ.

    I hope my post has cleared up some of the confusion that hopefully was real and not merely invented so you could make a scene responding to my comments. I am confident that you are intelligent enough to see the distinction made and understand the essential and inherent evil of forced SJ/EJ.

    Sincerely, Ryan

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  11. My point Ryan is that you have completely swallowed Beck's chimeric vision of social justice. Not only that but you have, without thinking or researching for yourself, bought into his fear-mongering and utterly stupid and false application of that chimeric vision to Christian churches who call out and preach for social justice.

    Your comment seems to be completely ignorant of the fact that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (as well as the early Christians) instituted communal societies that forced people to give all of their excesses to the public good in order to participate in the community.

    Your comment seems to be ignorant of that fact that Jesus was far more than going around teaching basic aphoristic principles, but was directly opposing the oppressive systems of his dead with the Jewish communities and particularly the Roman empire.

    Your comment seems to show that you have completely bought in, without thinking, into Beck's chimeric and false understanding of liberation theology--the basis for many of the modern Church's push for social and economic justice. Your comment seems to show your utter ignorance of the liberation theology movement.

    Your comment clearly shows your inability to make a distinction between Stalinist communism and democratic social equality.

    Your comment shows that you are the one who is ignorant and buys into Beck's nonsense without doing any thinking for yourself. Your comment shows that you were a complete and utter fool, coming in and trying to tell me that I did not know what I was talking about.

    Go read some books.

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  12. Oh dear. Bad troll is bad.

    Lets see if I can learn something by asking a few questions instead of sharing my views.

    1. Do you sir believe it is acceptable for the Federal Government to tax the whole and/or certain portions of the population to provide such services as welfare, schooling, food, clothing etc to a group(s) of people that the Government deems needy?

    2. Do you sir believe that man does not have the inherent right to choose to do good works or ill, within the bounds of the Natural Law, but rather should be compelled by neighbor, nation, and comrade into doing as the 'society' seems fit?

    3. Do you sir believe that the Constitution of the United States of America and the corresponding Bill of Rights stand as the greatest testament to temporal government as yet created by man?

    4. Do you sir believe this country still adheres to the Constitution of the United States of America?

    Perhaps if I knew the answers to these questions I would be better prepared to understand your train of thought and your position.

    Now, in short response to a few points of your comment I find lacking in truth...

    Joseph Smith and Brigham Young created Christian societies that followed the teachings of Jesus Christ. Yes, the Law of Consecration was in place. Were non-mormons ever subjected to that law? No. Only people who willingly joined the Church and believed its teachings practiced it. If you didn't want to share your goods no one forced you.

    Also, as to your comment to go read books, I am well versed in Rothbard and Mises. These two thinkers clearly express the Natural Law and man's inherent right to life, liberty, and property. I strongly believe in those teachings as well.

    Thank you good sir.

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  13. 1. Yes.

    2. I think you are presenting a false dichotomy.

    3. At it's time, yes. I haven't compared it to other later constitutions, so I can't really say. However, I'm open to the possibility that other later constitutions (such as in Japan, Germany, and other countries) that were modeled off of our own might be better fit for a modern society and modern economy.

    4. I believe that the country adheres to the constitution in a manner that many of the original fathers intended it--as a flowing document that needs to be interpreted for it's time. I think it's ludicrous to think that the constitution should be interpreted today (with 50 UNITED highly interdependent states and a strong inter-state and inter-national corporate investment based economy) as it was 230 years ago (with 13 largely independent self-governing nation states and a very localized private-based economy), which also a very different standard of living, the grossest economic inequality ever, and drastically improved understanding of civil right and human equality.

    As far as Smith and Young's communalism goes, like with them, if you don't want to participate in the choices of our democratically elected representatives, you are free to vote differently or get out of the community.

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  14. Well then, mainly judging by your answers to 1 and 4, I've decided it might just be best for us to agree to disagree.

    The kind of taxation and legislation I queried about in question 1 is the kind of thing that the Founding Fathers were, by and large, against. Federal support of special interest groups is, in my view and the view of most of our nation's creators, an injustice.

    Also, my view of the Constitution and our 'modern' situation differ from yours.

    I believe the Constitution is still viable today. I believe our current political situation is laughably compared to the Constitution. Even a cursory reading of the type of government defined by the Constitution reveals that our Federal government long ago out grew whatever 'checks and balances' were placed on it by the Constitution. Our top-heavy, nationalistic government does not represent, except in the most superficial of manners, the limited Federal government set forth in the Constitution. State's rights have nearly ceased to exist and local communities have even less. The Federal government is the arbiter of right and wrong, of education, of commerce, of infrastructure and basically all other forms of American life.

    Judging from your expressed views as compared to mine I feel as if we cannot even come close to an agreement. I feel as if I represent the classical values and ideals as embodied in the Constitution whereas you represent a modern movement away from those values of self-determination and accountability to something more centralized and enforced.

    I don't necessarily agree with your ideas, but I agree with your innate right to express them. I just wish that when you chose to express them you would recognize that they do not mesh with the traditional American ideals. Perhaps they represent a new era of American ideas but they certainly deviate from the Constitution.

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  15. "I just wish that when you chose to express them you would recognize that they do not mesh with the traditional American ideals."

    This is where your ignorance shines. Again, you are buying into Beck's fairy tale without trying to think for yourself. The notion of some paradigmatic unified "traditional American ideals" is a myth. It's a chimeric fantasy dreamed up to push and impose a particular ideology. Any cursory reading of the American fathers shows that they were an eclectic lot who had a plethora of different and often strongly opposing visions of and for the constitution and America.

    Cut the nonsense.

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  16. Nonsense? These people who had differing ideas were able to table their differences and forge a nation. They recognized that their ideas and opinions were not necessarily superior. They created a nation where all sorts of ideas and philosophies could exist TOGETHER.

    The idea of modern SJ/EJ is the forcible ONE ideal for all philosophy. State's rights and individual rights are pushed aside in pursuit of a national agenda.

    This. Is. Not. American.

    You want poor people to have healthcare, schooling, etc. Fine. Then YOU find a way. In the private sector. Don't tax me and mine for your ideals and I won't tax you for not being mormon. Get it?

    The idea here is the use of government as a social weapon. The liberal philosophy of national 'care' of any kind for 'all' by taxing the rich and indebting the nation to China etc is something that not one of the Founding Fathers would have agreed to. Their greatest fear was a return to the heavy-handed national government days of Britain.

    So you see, dearest narrator, there IS a traditional American ideal. The ideal of allowing all to express their opinions and live their desired lifestyles. The ideal of having a limited Federal government that does not interfere in the day-to-day of its citizens lives but rather leaves them to self-governance.

    Socialism, Fascism, Communism etc have no place in America because it violates the very nature of its founding. Freedom. National health care, national schooling, nation what-have-you is non-American. Perhaps it is the new-American. If so I am saddened by the passing of the American Dream. Freedom for all.

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  17. Ryan. Your. Nonsensical. Notions. Are. Chimeric. Fantasies. You. Need. To. Step. Into. Reality.

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  18. Personally, I think your last comment was, in some similar manner, repeated to the founders of our nation in one form or another during their attempts to create a free and open society.

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  19. My apologies to the narrator for perhaps starting this discussion back up...if indeed it does trigger a response, but I must speak my mind here. First I must state an observation made my a 19th century economist which is generally held as common sense to most economists these days, but the move towards a more central government was/is a result of the capitalist mode of production! As technology develops and everything becomes more streamlined...for instance if you have oil in texas and corn in nebraska you have more interstate commerce and things become more centralized. Take Ford motors as the perfect example...as Henry's assembly line takes root, there is less need for workers to have intercommunication and more need for a top down management. Same goes for government, the more the smaller things become interconnected, the more a management approach is needed. So the great capitalism and technology that the political right seems to cling to is really the motive for the more centralization of the government.

    2. The Founding Fathers. First, to even mention the term, it should be expected that one has read what they did. Namely, Locke, Montesquieu, all major Parliamentary documents after the Magna Carta, Cooke, Payne...and others. If one has not read these people, then what the founders thought is only a speculation from your Sunday School teacher or fifth grade U.S. History teacher. If you have read them, then you know that the Constitution was by far more liberal and progressive than anything that came before it. And yet, we would all agree that not allowing women to vote till the 20th century is just plain silly. And we defend Jefferson for having slaves and that in the Declaration, he didn't mean ALL mankind...surely not colored or women, or other property, they cannot be considered 'people'. So the founding 'ideals' have changed a great deal, unless you are still a racist bigot.

    3. One of the most basic principles the Framers envisioned when writing the Constitution, and Joseph Smith taught this principle too--and better, is that those who vote and make the decisions should be educated and know about the subject of decision. This principle is the nature of my blog name and commenter name. The idea of a Republic as the Constitution lays out government is that civil society should be large and strong. Madison called this factions...groups who would take care of the things outside of government. Well, Americans are not the best at functioning in civil society...and so the hungry go hungry, the dying die, the poor get poorer, and the dumb stay ignorant...because we don't want to pay for it. We don't want to give government the money to do it and we don't want to organize our communities to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. So, I don't want the starving to starve, and I am willing to pay a few more tax dollars to make sure Ryan or whomever else can see a doctor without worrying if the bill is going to bankrupt them.

    Whatever number I am on now. To poke at someones religion is just silly. To say that you will not tax narrator because he is not mormon just shows the closed minded ignorance that plagues society from top to bottom. Narrator expresses his beliefs, and Ryan accuses him of not being mormon...as though Ryan 'really' knows for sure what that means. To call in to question someones relationship with his or her maker is no way to converse.

    ...

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  20. Let me just say how sick I am of hearing the argument that people don't want to pay taxes for services that have no use to them. How many crucial services are there that tax dollars pay for? Fire and police protection, public libraries, public schools, the post office, just to name a few. So we should get rid of all of these? When someone is mugging you, cops shouldn't come save your life because you don't want your tax dollars supporting something frivolous?

    I have no problem paying a little bit more in my taxes if that means making America a better place to live in. I spent some time in Sweden, and the quality of life was astounding. Sure, it's a socialist country, and they pay a lot of taxes... but the people don't care. Do you know what they care about? The well being of other people. They treat everyone with the basic human rights they're entitled to, and then some. And what are the downsides? Low crime, good industry, great quality of life, etc.

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  21. Have a look at this blog:
    http://someguynamednate.blogspot.com/2010/05/mormons-and-social-justice_19.html

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