As many of you know (or don’t) I have been working on a DVD destined for Jesuit schools around the English speaking world. It is a series of three 40 minute videos on the topics of Education, Identity and Social Justice. I am just completing the final draft of the social justice video entitled “Ruined for Life” after the quote from the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. We have recorded the narration several times after shifting the foundational message a few times. Originally I had a whole segment dedicated to the misunderstanding by Glenn Beck of the term “Social Justice.” He equated it with socialism, which it is not, and liberation Theology, which it is also not. His lazy and uninformed and down right ignorant interpretation of the term has been written about before by others more eloquent than I. The original segment in the video had movies of Lenin and Nazis marching and red flags blowing in the communist breeze. The music was martial and was, in my own opinion, pretty good. Then I got to thinking, “Why should I elevate ignorance in the guise of Mr. Beck?” I don’t think so, so I rewrote the segment and it flows well without all the Nazi references and over-the-top McCarthyism, it’s actually better than the original. Instead of scaring the viewer, it invites them to think for themselves. What a concept! I know this video will outlast Beck’s various conspiracies. They are already beginning to fade from people’s minds. I know he will be relegated to an historical foot note like his predecessor, Fr. Charles Coughlin from the ’30’s. Who?
Speaking of Social Justice, the budget battles are heating up. Right now Congress is considering a budget plan that would make a 9 percent cut in discretionary spending while giving a 2 percent increase for military spending. This would be devastating for domestic programs that provide basic nutrition, health, and opportunity to poor children and international aid programs that save lives every day. That’s the way of it, isn’t it. If it doesn’t directly affect me, cut it. Well, heads up out there. I believe that the moral test of any society is how it treats its poor and most vulnerable. This isn’t a left right issue, this is a human issue. Our power as a country is not measured by our GNP nor with its obscene and often wasteful military spending. It is how we treat our fellow citizens, the most vulnerable and marginalized. With that in mind maybe a few considerations should be in place. Programs we need to invest in during these tough economic times include:
- Critical child health and family nutrition programs
- Proven work and income supports that lift families out of poverty
- Support for education, especially in low-income communities
- International aid that directly and literally save lives
Economic choices need to be made based on our values and not just short-term goals. We must remind our members of Congress to remember what is at stake when they decide what to fund and what to cut. Time to break out those signs and start marching for America.
and so it goes…