If my Facebook friends are any indication, people really do have widely varying opinions about the meaning of terms like "social justice" and "politics", and how their Christian discipleship interacts with those arenas. These are all Christians who find Beck to be pretty useless, but who also believe that Christian social responsibility is an individual matter, to be kept entirely distinct from government policy.
The fundamental disagreement has been the same since at least the Johnson administration: what is the proper role of the federal government? Interestingly, this question is developing into a rift on the political right, with old-guard evangelical leaders questioning the Tea Partiers' commitment to key social issues while the Tea Party leaders criticize the Religious Right's penchant for governmental intervention. Clearly, these are two competing conservative visions of the role of government.
What fascinates me is that there is a parallel rift among Christians on the political left: there are those, like Sojourners and Bread for the World, who take the Bible's call to social justice and translate it into advocacy for governmental policy changes. And then there are those who follow a more Anabaptist or Hauerwasian vision of justice embodied locally, in faithful Christian communities, and who do not rely on government at all. My friend Tim sifted through some of these questions in an outstanding piece for The Other Journal in 2008.
Glenn Beck couldn't comprehend these complexities if he wanted to (which he doesn't). But sometimes it takes a loudmouth who misstates your position to force you to clarify what you really mean. In this sense, Beck is extremely useful, because mischaracterizing nuanced ideologies appears to be one of his spiritual gifts.