Beck, Nazis, and Civil Dialogue

By Jim Wallis 9-30-2010

Glenn Beck can do better. Fox News can do better. When it comes to upholding truth and having civil dialogues, let's be honest, we all can do better. Last Thursday, I asked you to take up the challenge and say, "I disagree with you, but I'm pretty sure you're not Hitler." When the next day Glenn Beck told his audience that I was "dangerous," mischaracterized what I believe, and then took that mischaracterization and said that it "always leads to mass death," my first desire was not to be civil. When his next step was to leap to the Nazi corruption of churches in Germany, and to suggest that I and "progressive Christians" were like the Nazis, I got angry.

The Bible says, in your anger, do not sin. So, I took a deep breath and decided with my staff that it was time we give FOX News some encouragement. How do we respond with truth in a civil manner? We decided that we should tell FOX News that they can do better than this. If you think FOX can do better, click here and send their CEO an email.

At the end of August, at his rally at the Lincoln Memorial, on the anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream Speech," Beck seemed to want to take a higher road... But this latest and absurd violation of both truth and civility takes him back to his habitual low road, and from his brief stint on the Mall as a would be evangelist, back to an "entertainer" as he has previously called himself. This repeated poisoning of our civil discourse is not entertaining at all, but more and more serious and alarming.

Unfortunately, Beck has not accepted my invitation to have a dialogue about the real meaning of "social justice," which he so regularly maligns. But, some of the topics he tackles are ones that concern us all. The segment on Friday was about church and state issues. So, in my own narrative form that I will try and keep civil, I'd like to dialogue with some of the things Beck said on Friday.

First he said, "There is a fundamental misunderstanding of the Tea Party and small government people, that immediately goes into church and state

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