Beck distorts Wallis' remarks on “redistribution of wealth” to attack him as a “Marxist”

Glenn Beck distorted comments made by Rev. Jim Wallis to claim they were proof he is a “Marxist” who “claims the gospel of Jesus Christ is about a central government taking money from individuals and then distributing it.” However, in the interview Beck selectively clipped, Wallis actually discussed individuals who “transformed” their lives to focus on charity, highlighting how Bill and Melinda Gates have been “doing a redistribution of wealth” through their philanthropy.

Beck claims clip of 2006 interview proves Wallis is a “Marxist”

Beck says Wallis “claims the Gospel of Jesus Christ is about a central government taking money from individuals and then distributing it.” On his Fox News show, Beck stated that Wallis, a spiritual adviser to President Obama, “is a blatant redistribution-of-wealth advocate, a Marxist.” After stating, “Let's take his words for it,” Beck played an audio clip of comments Wallis made on the January 13, 2006, radio show Interfaith Voices. After host Maureen Fiedler asked Wallis, “Are you then calling for the redistribution of wealth in society?” Wallis replied, “Absolutely. Without any hesitation. That's what the Gospel is all about.” Beck then stated:

BECK: The redistribution of wealth is what the Gospel's all about. He claims that the gospel of Jesus Christ is about a central government taking money from individuals and then distributing it the way they see fit. Christians, you know better than that. You know better than that. Reverend Wallis, we know who's distorting the Gospel here. We know that Jesus' message was about choice. And if you're going to a church that has social justice, which means “I choose, with my church, to go out and make a difference,” that's a different thing than what you're preaching. You have a responsibility -- if you have extra, the Lord does say you have a responsibility to choose to help the poor. You remember what he said about the rich people? They'll have a harder time getting into heaven than a camel going through the needle of -- or the eye of a needle. You see, he is the arbiter of justice. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 3/23/10]

Wallis actually discussed how individuals have “transformed” their lives to focus on charity

Wallis highlights people “changing their lifestyle and their priorities” and a “redistribution of wealth” through Bill and Melinda Gates' philanthropy. In the portion of the interview selectively clipped by Beck, Wallis did not say that “the gospel of Jesus Christ is about central government taking money from individuals and then distributing it.” Responding to Fielder's question, “Are you then calling for the redistribution of wealth?” Wallis stated, “Absolutely. Without any hesitation. That's what the Gospel is all about,” and explained, “It's about the rich moving into solidarity and a relationship with people who have been left out and left behind.” Wallis added, “I see it all the time where people from middle-class backgrounds are having their lives transformed by their encounter with the poor in their neighborhoods or across the world and changing their lifestyle and their priorities because of that.”

From Wallis' interview on Interfaith Voices with Fiedler (around the 6:10 mark):

WALLIS: I think an affluent church in a world where half of God's children live on less than $2 a day is an affront to the Gospel. The Bible doesn't mind prosperity as long as it is shared. But what the Bible doesn't like is these tremendous gaps and chasms between the top and the bottom.

FIEDLER: Are you then calling for the redistribution of wealth in society?

WALLIS: Absolutely. Without any hesitation. That's what the Gospel is all about. It's about the rich moving into solidarity and a relationship with people who have been left out and left behind. The whole early church was those who were wealthy and those who were poor finding a new community. So, I see it all the time where people from middle-class backgrounds are having their lives transformed by their encounter with the poor in their neighborhoods or across the world and changing their lifestyle and their priorities because of that.

Wallis later used the philanthropy of Bill and Melinda Gates as an example of “a redistribution of wealth” :

WALLIS: I have a family, I have kids. I want them to be secure. I want them to have enough. And I want them to have all the good things of life. One of the things is a generous spirit. One of the things is to be in a relationship to people who have been left out. It changes us in all kinds of ways. On that cover of Time magazine also were Bill and Melinda Gates, who have made all this money and now are giving it away in very smart, strategic ways about world health and global poverty. So, Bill Gates has decided that he doesn't just want to give all his money to his children. For him, the good life now, for he and his wife, means being a part of a process of changing things in the world. So they're doing a redistribution of wealth.