Religion and social justice
Q:Fox News commentator Glenn Beck claims that faith-based calls for "social justice" are really ideological calls for "forced redistribution of wealth . . . under the guise of charity and/or justice," and that Christians should leave their churches if they preach or practice "social justice."
Rev. Jim Wallis disagrees, saying social justice is a faith-based commitment "to serve the poor and to attack the conditions that lead to poverty," central tents of the teachings of Jesus and at the heart of biblical faith.
Who's right? How does the pursuit of justice fit into your faith? Is 'social justice' an ideology or a theology?
Glenn Beck's understanding of religion seems to be based on the widespread concept that an individual can keep religion out of many human activities. For instance we claim that religion has no place in politics and that we must keep religion out of governance. Glenn Beck suggests that we must keep religion out of social justice and out of many other spheres of human life.
Religion, according to my understanding, is the very foundation of human life. It is what keeps people on the straight and narrow path of morality and integrity. I am reminded of a very pertinent story from Rumi's life. Rumi went to Mecca to pay homage and at night, in the midst of thousands of pilgrims, he found a little space and slept with his feet facing the Holy Kaaba. In the middle of the night the guard rudely kicked him and said: "Are you not ashamed to be sleeping with your feet towards God?" "All right, then," Rumi said softly, "please turn my feet in the direction where God isn't."
If religion is the way to God, then we cannot lock God in a Church or a Mosque or a Temple and worship God when it is convenient to us and ignore God the rest of the time. God is in the heart and soul of every human being, but we are so conditioned to looking for God outside and beyond us that we loose sight of the fact that God is within us watching every action. So Mr. Beck, it is impossible to leave God or religion out of any human activity, unless one is indulging in something totally savage and ruthless.
April 19, 2010; 3:31 PM ET
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