Faith-Based Group Fires Back at Glenn Beck

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TIME’s Elizabeth Dias files this report:

One hundred thousand faithful Americans are telling Glenn Beck that enough is enough. This summer as Beck travels the United States solo and with Bill O’Reilly, Faithful America–a multi-faith justice organization–has rallied its members to push back against Beck’s anti-Christian-social-justice message. When Beck makes stops in South Carolina, New York, New Jersey, and Washington D.C., the group’s provocative new ad will follow his trail and challenge his words as “piecemeal gospel” on local Christian radio stations.

As pointed out in my post yesterday, Beck’s recent attacks on Christian theologies of justice find little to no support from Scripture. Faithful America says Beck specifically ignores the message of the prophets and Jesus. “He has gone after what’s at the heart of what we believe our faith tradition says,” Beth Dahlman, Faithful America’s online organizer, told TIME. “For people in our community, there is just no way to read scripture and not think about social justice. It’s our obligation as people of faith to take that seriously and to do all we can to make that good news a reality.”

But the ad does not just finger Beck—it also challenges Christians to listen more closely to their own Scriptures instead of believing Beck’s version of Christian mission. “Would you support a leader who said Jesus’ teachings can lead to Nazism, or who attacks Christians pastors for preaching the full gospel? Then why do so many Christians tune in to Glenn Beck?” the ad asks. If more viewers heed this challenge, Beck’s ratings could follow their trend Joe highlighted yesterday.

“We have no illusions that this ad is going to change Glen Beck’s mind all of the sudden,” Dahlman realizes. Instead, she says Faithful America’s goal is to right Beck’s false messages of faith and to instead speak truth about care for the vulnerable. As the ad says, “Christians are cautioned not to praise God in one breath, while cursing those made in God’s likeness in the next.”

This ad kicks off Faithful America’s “Driven by Faith, Not by Fear” Campaign to counter the extreme statements of pundits and Tea Partiers. Faithful America was founded in 2004 when it aired an Arabic television ad expressing regret to Muslims for the Abu Ghraib abuses. Today, the group continues to work with America’s diverse religious communities to act for justice on pressing moral issues.

Listen to the Faithful America ad here.