Glenn Beck: What Is 'Social Justice'?





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Everything we see pushed down the throats of the American people right now — TARP, the stimulus, health care, immigration reform, bailouts, cap-and-trade — they all have one thing in common: Their PR campaigns contain two words: "social justice."

You've probably heard it a lot lately:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I think that there is a strong tradition of social justice in the Catholic Church that had a profound influence on me.

OBAMA: I received one of those letters a few days ago. It was from our beloved friend and colleague Ted Kennedy.... "What we face," he wrote, "Is above all a moral issue. At stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice."

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: So the measure here is what can we do with the major initiatives in the areas of the economy — economic recovery — jobs, education, housing, health care, are all designed to advance social justice.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

What is that? It seems like such an innocuous phrase. It paints a picture of fairness — many churches use the term as a substitute for "outreach to the poor." Who could possibly be against that? Well, if you've read the news lately: I am. In fact, I even learned from TIME magazine recently that I hate Jesus.

I'm just full of hate and I want to stop justice!

I'm glad to see Time suddenly cares about God... or am I? The other "news" from The New York Times was that I recommended leaving church if those churches help the poor. And I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those pesky, meddling "journalists"!

I'm not sure why I would expect the media to start searching for the truth now, when they've never let it get in the way before. The truth is this: The term "social justice" has been completely perverted and hijacked by progressives. It doesn't mean simply "help the poor" to them. It does to some people, but not to radical progressives.

And now, just for The New York Times and everyone else who thinks I hate poor people — I know your attention span is about 20 or 30 seconds, but try and pay attention — we'll set the record straight for you here on social justice. The kind I am talking about vs. the kind that they are talking about.

Ready?

Here's my definition of social justice: Forced redistribution of wealth with a hostility toward individual property rights, under the guise of charity and/or justice.

On my radio program, I said if your church is promoting Jeremiah Wright-type "social or economic justice," you should run from it or at least get educated on what progressives mean by this.

Here's someone who took my advice: Barack Obama.

Rev. Wright's church teaches "economic parity" and claims that God is not pleased with "America's economic mal-distribution." Progressives are good at changing words — for instance:

"Federal assistance" has replaced the word "welfare"

"Welfare" replaced the word "handout"

"Subsidy" has replaced the word "self-reliance"

"Bailout" has replaced the words "corporate accountability"

The "stimulus bill" becomes the "jobs bill"

They do this over and over again.

Churches that preach his type of "social justice" are what I was referring to when I said "run." This kind of social justice being preached in Rev. Wright-style churches not only resembles what many of these radical progressive and socialist and communist groups preach today, it is what they preach: Government forcibly taking wealth and spreading it around — leveling the playing field, so there's no "economic inequality."

When you are in church sometimes it's not so easy to see it. But here's a simple rule of thumb: Make sure your church puts God first and politics and government last. Here are the clear warning signs: "social justice" or "economic justice" or "ecological justice."

A couple weeks ago, I told you about Father Charles Coughlin. Coughlin founded the National Union for Social Justice, co-opted the phrase and began publishing Social Justice Weekly. Coughlin, an anti-Semitic religious broadcaster in the 1930s, used the publication to attack capitalism and promote his adoration for Italian fascist Benito Mussolini. He used social justice as cover and it's happening again.

I want to make this clear: Some people look at social justice as going out on mission and going out and doing good works for God. That's great — as long as it's Jesus and the church or your synagogue or whoever is who you are serving, not a government-bloated program.

For example: If your church is preaching social justice and education, your church is doing it, great but remember the Defend Education rallies that happened recently? Of course everyone wants to "defend education." But if you go to the National Day of Action to Defend Education Web site, you'll find a list of endorsers and you'll realize that you've just entered a hot-zone of activist, progressive, socialist groups trying to hijack another movement.

If you go to Jeremiah Wright's United Church of Christ Web site, it looks fine and dandy. But check out the "related links" page and you will be recommended to visit the Ella Baker Center. The Ella Baker Center — why does that sound familiar? Oh that's right, it was co-founded by Van Jones, the communist.

That's the "social justice" they are fighting for and the kind of social justice you need to be fighting against.

You are going to hear a lot of crazy things, including that Glenn Beck hates Jesus, etc. Let me make it extraordinarily clear to you: Every issue this government is bringing up right now is being framed as moral issues.

Remember, we are talking about the extreme left. Does Moral Majority come to mind? What about the Christian Coalition? They were enemy No. 1 to the left. Why is it that the extreme left is talking about social justice and moral responsibilities?

The left understands that if there is a wall you can't get around, then go through the cracks like a mist — infect it and use it for yourself.

So it's interesting to me that we are now being taught by social justice extreme leftist preachers about your Christian duty to have a big government or a big government program. And all of the issues are being framed around morality.

Americans are a moral people; we care, we have big hearts. So if there's a problem — say, global warming — you've got to sell it to people: You don't want to hurt the planet, do you? How do you fix it? Ecological justice. What is ecological justice? Cap-and-trade: The United States — a country with a lot of wealth — will go to a country with no wealth... and we'll buy their air. Wow, that sounds like socialism or the forced redistribution of wealth, which is Marxism.

Health care: Don't you just want to help people without health care? Yes, I do — I don't want to see anyone hurt. I want to help. Well, they can't afford it — we need economic justice to fix it. Now wait, that sounds like socialism or the forced redistribution of wealth, which is Marxism.

Education: Who doesn't want to help people get an education? Some people didn't have an opportunity to get an education. It's just about social justice and balancing the scales. No, it actually sounds like socialism which is the forced redistribution of wealth, which is Marxism.

Let's hear what the FCC's diversity "czar" Mark Lloyd has to say about social justice:

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MARK LLOYD, FCC: We're in a position where you have to say who is going to step down so someone else can have power.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

It's a moral thing to do! It is social justice.

What makes us a moral people? God. God teaches us to be moral so that we care about issues like health care and education and so on.

But what if you're a Marxist and you really want the forced redistribution of wealth? Let's call it socialism? No, that doesn't work. How about we call it "social justice"? And we use a topic like education and we can sell it to people because they are moral.

We can't sell socialism, but we can sell "economic justice." And we can point out that it's about health care, because they are moral — they'll serve God.

Our foundation needs to be restored. What is our foundation: God, which makes us a moral people; which makes us charitable; which makes us care about health care. And the government is the smallest part — they should administer what we can't.

But if you want to fundamental transform America, you turn that pyramid on its head: Government is your foundation, from which flows social justice. If they can convince you that God is the smallest part of the pyramid, they win.

Notice what they all have in common: Taking from one and giving to another. The second half of that equation — giving to another — is charity. But then President Obama's spiritual adviser says this:

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

REV. JIM WALLIS: We have to be very clear about this. Voluntary, faith-based initiatives with no resources, no resources to make any serious difference in poverty reduction, is not adequate. That's a charity that falls far short of biblical justice.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

Voluntary charity doesn't go far enough? Give to the poor by taking from the rich? Unfortunately that means theft.

You can boil these justices down to one thing: It is a fancy name for socialism, which is forced redistribution of wealth, which is a fancy name for Marxism.

Jesus preached many things, but he never preached socialism. If you voluntarily wanted to live in a commune, Jesus would be cool with that. But he never said take from someone and not give to anyone else.

— Watch Glenn Beck weekdays at 5p & 2a ET on Fox News Channel

The themes of healing and redemption appear throughout the Bible.

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. — 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17.

So, for many Christians, it's no surprise to hear that people of faith live longer lives.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. — Jeremiah 17:14.

But it is certainly lovely to hear, and a recent study by a doctoral student at Ohio State University is just one more example of empirical evidence confirming the healing benefits of faith and religious belief.

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Moreover, the study finds that religious belief can lengthen a person's life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! — Isaiah 38:16

The study analyzed over 1,000 obituaries nationwide and found that people of faith lived longer than people who were not religious. Laura Wallace, lead author of the study, noted that "religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life."

The study notes that, "people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered."

And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

"The researchers found that part of the reason for the boost in longevity came from the fact that many religiously affiliated people also volunteered and belonged to social organizations, which previous research has linked to living longer. The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives," said Baldwin Way, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

In addition, the study showed how the effects of religion on longevity might depend in part on the personality and average religiosity of the cities where people live, Way said.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. — Luke 5:17
Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. — Luke 10:9.

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

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Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Glenn was joined by Alanna Sarabia from "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios on Thursday for an exclusive look at Mercury Museum's new "Rights & Responsibilities" exhibit. Open through Father's Day, the temporary museum features artifacts from pop culture, America's founding, World Ward II and more, focusing on the rights and responsibilities America's citizens.

Get tickets and more information here.

Watch as Glenn gives a sneak peek at some of the unique artifacts on display below.

History at the Mercury Museum

Alanna Sarabia interviews Glenn Beck for "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios.

Several months ago, at the Miss Universe competition, two women took a selfie, then posted it on Instagram. The caption read, "Peace and love." As a result of that selfie, both women faced death threats, and one of the women, along with her entire family, had to flee her home country. The occasion was the 2017 Miss Universe competition, and the women were Miss Iraq and Miss Israel. Miss Iraq is no longer welcome in her own country. The government threatened to strip her of her crown. Of course, she was also badgered for wearing a bikini during the competition.

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In an interview, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said:

When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they're getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.

Yesterday, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, posted another selfie with Miss Israel, during a visit to Jerusalem.

In an interview, she said that:

I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis.

This is, of course, quite an understatement: Iraq, home to roughly 15,000 Palestinians, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate country, as it is technically at war with Israel. The adages says that a picture is worth a thousand words. What are we to do when many of those words are hateful or deadly? And how can we find the goodness in such bad situations?