Talk show host Glenn Beck is claiming that “social justice” groups in churches often promote socialist ideas under the guise of Christianity.

While some express outrage over this, I listened to his show, and realized there was nothing new in Beck’s warning.

Many devout Catholics are well-aware of this problem in our own churches.

Gay marriage being defended in the name of “the social justice teachings of the church” is a recent example.

Authentic “social justice” work includes defending and promoting the God-given rights of others: the right to life, the rights of parents over the education of their children, the right to personal property, etc.

Socialists in the church usually work against these things and, instead, prefer to work for the transfer of power and property from the individual to the government, labeling it “Christian.”

Advocating for soda taxes, environmental regulations and the unlimited spending of public money on “programs” is not Christian charity.

Forced redistribution of wealth is a concept expressly condemned by the Church for being intrinsically unjust, but some Catholics seem to have missed the memo.

Pope Leo XIII said “… indeed, although the socialists, stealing the very gospel itself with a view to deceive more easily the unwary, have been accustomed to distort it so as to suit their own purposes, nevertheless so great is the difference between their depraved teachings and the most pure doctrine of Christ that none greater could exist.”

That was in 1878. Beck is not alone in his assessment.

Christopher Rioux, Lewiston