UCC-related Union Theological Seminary in New York City, whose faculty has been a target of some of Glenn Beck's programs, has responded to Mr. Beck with an Open Letter from seminary president Serene Jones and a video message from students. First, from the letter:
Serene Jones here. I'm President of Union Theological Seminary in New York, home of James Cone, the scholar featured on your liberation theology program this week.
I write with exciting news. Bibles are en route to you, even as we speak! Kindly let me explain. On your show, you said that social justice is not in the Bible, anywhere. Oh my, Mr. Beck. At first we were so confused. We couldn't figure out how you could possibly miss this important theme. And then it hit us: maybe you don't have a Bible to read. Let me assure you, this is nothing to be ashamed of. Many people live Bible-less lives. But we want to help out. And so, as I write this, our students are collecting Bibles from across the nation, packing them in boxes, and sending them to your offices. Grandmothers, uncles, children, co-workers -- indeed, Bible-readers from all walks of life have eagerly contributed. They should be arriving early next week, hopefully just in time for your next show. Read them with zeal!
Oh, I almost forgot: we've marked a few of the social justice passages, just in case you can't find them.
But as good as this might sound, that's not all! You express such a fervent desire to interpret the rich faith of the gospels that we have decided to offer you a substantial scholarship to Union for advanced theological studies, should you matriculate. Indeed, a fundraising campaign is already underway to offset the cost of your education. It is true that in your case you may need some remedial study before Master's level work can commence, but we are willing to work with you as you come up to speed with the rest of our student body.
In this regard, may I recommend preparatory summer readings? Have you heard of John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion or Reinhold Niebuhr's Nature and Destiny of Man? Both are Caucasian men -- not that it matters -- and they have lovely discussions of religion and politics. You'll just eat them up!
My guess is that Mr. Beck won't take Union up on their offer. After all, seminary is hard work and involves reading and critical thinking. But I'd love to be wrong. Seminary can be a transformative experience.
And Dr. Jones, I hope you don't mind if I point out that while Reinhold Niebuhr taught at Union he studied at Eden Theological Seminary, my alma mater. We're kind of proud of that.