Glenn Beck is on a crusade against “social justice,” hoping to tar one of the fundamental progressive ideas as that of anti-Semites and totalitarians. Funny thing, though: if his insinuations were true, Moses would be an anti-Semite totalitarian.
Beck defined “social justice” in the following way on today’s show:
Social justice: Forced redistribution of wealth with a hostility toward individual property rights under the guise of charity and/or justice.
He then showed a copy of Father Coughlin’s publication, “Social Justice,” relating that Coughlin was an anti-Semite who attacked capitalism. In prior episodes, Beck tied the phrase “social justice” to Nazi’s and communists. See that? Social justice and anti-Semitism are related!
Mr. Beck, you’ve got a problem, and your problem is named Moses, whom you very helpfully cited today. Good, we’re getting somewhere. Traditionally, the Torah, including Leviticus, are attributed to Moses’ authorship. Now, remember your definition of the “bad” kind of social justice given above, and read this, from Leviticus 25:
The Year of Jubilee
8 You shall count off seven weeks* of years, seven times seven years, so that the period of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years. 9Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; on the tenth day of the seventh month—on the day of atonement—you shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land. 10And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family. 11That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, or reap the aftergrowth, or harvest the unpruned vines. 12For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat only what the field itself produces.
13 In this year of jubilee you shall return, every one of you, to your property. 14When you make a sale to your neighbour or buy from your neighbour, you shall not cheat one another. 15When you buy from your neighbour, you shall pay only for the number of years since the jubilee; the seller shall charge you only for the remaining crop-years. 16If the years are more, you shall increase the price, and if the years are fewer, you shall diminish the price; for it is a certain number of harvests that are being sold to you. 17You shall not cheat one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God.
18 You shall observe my statutes and faithfully keep my ordinances, so that you may live on the land securely. 19The land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live on it securely. 20Should you ask, ‘What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we may not sow or gather in our crop?’ 21I will order my blessing for you in the sixth year, so that it will yield a crop for three years. 22When you sow in the eighth year, you will be eating from the old crop; until the ninth year, when its produce comes in, you shall eat the old. 23The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants. 24Throughout the land that you hold, you shall provide for the redemption of the land.
25 If anyone of your kin falls into difficulty and sells a piece of property, then the next-of-kin shall come and redeem what the relative has sold. 26If the person has no one to redeem it, but then prospers and finds sufficient means to do so, 27the years since its sale shall be computed and the difference shall be refunded to the person to whom it was sold, and the property shall be returned. 28But if there are not sufficient means to recover it, what was sold shall remain with the purchaser until the year of jubilee; in the jubilee it shall be released, and the property shall be returned.
29 If anyone sells a dwelling-house in a walled city, it may be redeemed until a year has elapsed since its sale; the right of redemption shall be for one year. 30If it is not redeemed before a full year has elapsed, a house that is in a walled city shall pass in perpetuity to the purchaser, throughout the generations; it shall not be released in the jubilee. 31But houses in villages that have no walls around them shall be classed as open country; they may be redeemed, and they shall be released in the jubilee. 32As for the cities of the Levites, the Levites shall for ever have the right of redemption of the houses in the cities belonging to them. 33Such property as may be redeemed from the Levites—houses sold in a city belonging to them—shall be released in the jubilee; because the houses in the cities of the Levites are their possession among the people of Israel. 34But the open land around their cities may not be sold; for that is their possession for all time.
Now, this language sounds a little goofy in the translation, so let me make it simple for you: the Jubilee was intended to be a twice-per-century reset of property distribution. And it was intended to be the law. And, you know, The Law. Being the law, it was not intended to be optional. That’s what it means to be the law. It’s compulsory. It wasn’t some encouragement to spiritual exertion. It was the law, and violating the law had consequences in this world. Specifically, in addition to whatever punishments humans were to mete out for breaking the law, God himself would punish you right now, today, in this life, with physical deprivations so profound that you’d end up eating your children (I’m not making that up. Keep reading in Leviticus.).
The point is, keeping the law wasn’t some optional call for spiritual perfection. It was backed with threat of harm. Meaning, sir, that Jubilee was expected to be, oh, I don’t know, coerced from you, if necessary.
So. If we take your social justice/anti-Semitic anti-capitalism tie seriously, that would make Moses into Father Coughlin…right?
You’re right. That makes no sense. It makes less sense, in fact, than Beck’s thought exercise today:
But let’s say you’re a dope-smokin’ hippie back in the sixties, and you’re thinking, “Gosh, we just can’t destroy this country…how can we do it?”
Right…baked hippies sat around and hatched a plot to destroy a country that culminated in the election of President “The Right War” Barack Obama. Are you kidding? Why that makes as much sense as implying the administration wants to kill you, which you also did on today’s show:
Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not covet. ‘I want what they have.’ And for those who say that somehow or another I’m distoring the socialist view of social justice, oh my goodness: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy brother [sic]. Holy cow, you’ve broken three commandments, three of them, three commandments all in one principle. That’s amazing. And for those in the administration that are coming after me on this one, I mean remember you’ve broken three. Let’s not make it four on this one….thou shalt not kill.
There’s so much in this one show to deal with–especially the idea that Jesus didn’t protest Pontius Pilate and the occupation of Palestine–that I’ll just stop here and say, Brother Glenn: read your Bible before pontificating on the faith, please. And you might consider getting some help.
And, fellow Christians–please don’t take your instruction from Glenn Beck.