Joan Chittister's newest post on her blog is called "The Nun and Glen Beck: a Standoff," It's about a nun from Syria who is here to receive an award from our State Department as one of ten "International Women of Courage." Her work for 50 years has been to help marginalized women reintegrate into society, by providing shelter for battered women no matter what race, religion or nationality. Joan spoke with her and quoted Glen Beck's comment: "Yes but ..." I asked finally. "Should you be doing these things as a nun, as a religious? A commentator here advised his television audience last week against 'social justice programs in the church.' "
"I beg you," he said, "look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words (for socialism.) Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!"
I heard Marie Claude Naddaf, a Sister of the Good Shepherd, gasp on the other end of the phone. "Noooooooo," she squealed. "This is the work of God. The spiritual life gives us the energy we need to do justice. There is no contradiction! It's a circle!"
Then she said, "Invite this man to come and see me in Syria. I will show him." And one more thing. "Tell your government that it must do something to help the Iraqi refugees in Syria. They need resettlement programs and financial support for widows and children." Her meaning was clear: The United States started the war that put millions of people adrift "but Syria has borne the whole expense of it."
From where I stand, it's clear why the Glenn Becks of the world would not want to hear anything about 'social justice' from a church. Certainly not about women and war. Or about Sister Marie Claude either. Let's hope he takes the invitation.
Comment: I can just imagine Glen Beck accepting her invitation (not). Can you imagine him going to Syria and speaking with a nun, even though she's Christian and not Muslim? I can, however, hear him scoffing at the idea that Syria is paying the expenses of displaced Iraqis. I also hear him scoffing at the notion that Christians are called to care for the helpless, the poor and needy of the world. Social and economic justice are what Jesus was about. Our loving God, loves indiscriminately and abundantly. God Bless Sister Marie Claude's work.