Glenn Beck’s Latest Heresy

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TIME’s Elizabeth Dias files this report:

“If you just tuned in, boy, this has got to be the weirdest damn episode you’ve ever heard on the Glenn Beck program,” Glenn Beck admitted late last night, as he took another shot at Christian social justice missions. This time he claimed that black liberation theology—theology that believes Jesus saves victims from their oppressors—forces whites to unnecessarily confess to racism and inspires the government to redistribute money from wealthy whites to victimized minorities. Because Jesus is not a victim, in Beck’s words, “Social justice isn’t in the Bible.”

However three days before the resurrection, Jesus, a Palestinian Jew, himself was tortured and hung on a cross. Beck says that even then Jesus was only a victor—“If Jesus was a victim he would have come back from the dead and made the Jews pay for what they did.” But the Jews did not kill Jesus, the Romans did. And revenge does not exactly sound like Jesus’ command to love one’s neighbor. Moreover, liberation theology does not mean Christians must be victims to be saved. Liberation theologies emerged across the globe in the 1960s to respond to social injustices, often at the hands of colonizers. Black liberation theology certainly is not the only version out there—Latin American liberation theology, Palestinian liberation theology, and Minjung liberation theology also draw attention to suffering around the world in order to find hope from a God who has suffered too.

A core Biblical command is to follow Jesus’ example of humility, not of conquering, and to show compassion for the least of those in our midst. A different commentator, the Apostle Paul, quickly sets straight Beck’s account of Christian service: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.”

People may not disagree with Beck, as he said last night, because he is Mormon. But many Christians will disagree with him because he insinuates Christianity is nothing but a pull-yourself-up-from-your-bootstraps spirituality and ignores the church’s long tradition of working for the plight of the powerless.

Watch the Glenn Beck episode here.