Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Glenn Beck, "Restoring Honor," Christianity and Mormonism

Excerpts of FAIR's Front Page for Tues 31 Aug 2010, FAIR

Beck's marriage of politics and religion raising questions
Washington Post - 6 hours ago
...Conservative Christian talk radio was crackling with debate about Beck's Mormonism. Religious progressives were assailing his attacks on President Obama's Christianity. Scholars of religion and politics were analyzing Beck's evangelical-like talk of being saved from drug and alcohol addiction. Some pastor-bloggers were bemoaning what they consider the conflation of celebrity, politics and spirituality.

"Politically, everyone is with it, but theologically, when he says the country should turn back to God, the question is: Which God?" said Tom Tradup, vice president for news and talk at Salem Radio Network,which serves more than 2,000 stations, most of them Christian. "How much of this is turning to God? How much is religious revival and how much is a snake oil medicine show?"...


Glenn Beck's ecumenical moment

Los Angeles Times - 5 hours ago
...But the partisan implications of the rally really aren't that interesting. One striking feature was how deeply religious, and ecumenical, it was. It seems like just yesterday that everyone was talking about how Christian evangelicals were too bigoted to vote for the upright and uptight Mormon, Mitt Romney. Yet Christians saw no problem cheering for -- and praying with -- the equally Mormon, but far less uptight, Beck, who asked citizens to go to "your churches, synagogues and mosques!"...


Elmer Smith: Let's go back ... way Beck
Philadelphia Daily News - 5 hours ago

THOUSANDS of pilgrims who once wandered in darkness were led to the light Saturday by God's man of the airwaves. At least, that's what happened at the "Restoring Honor" rally, to hear Glenn Beck tell it.
"For too long, this country has wandered in darkness," Beck told a crowd estimated at between 87,000 and a half million.

Not to worry, though. The anointed one has set us on a right path. "America today turns back to God," he declared. That was a load off my mind, until the next day when Beck turned back to his original calling, beating up on President Obama.

On "Fox News Sunday," he preached that the president "understands the world through liberation theology, which is oppressor and victim. . . . It's a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it."

Now that's the Glenn Beck we have come to know and, ahh . . . . Well, anyway, we know him.

His real messianic mission is to lead his people back to an America that all of them seem to remember wistfully, if inaccurately. Whenever I hear one of these sign-waving, anti-Obama zealots say that they want to take their country back, my question is: How far?

What is it that they want to go back to: a simpler time when "real" Americans all worshipped the same way on the same day, or to those longed-for days of yore when men who looked like Barack Obama knew their place, which was not in the Oval Office...


PRUDEN: Nursing a hangover from a 'tea party'
Washington Times - 15 hours ago
...But not everything was benign. Mr. Beck, a recent Mormon convert, couldn't resist taking a poke at what he imagines are the president's religious beliefs, accusing him of advocating liberation theology. "You see," he told the hundreds of thousands, "it's all about victims and victimhood, oppressors and the oppressed; reparations, not repentance; collectivism, not individual salvation. I don't know what that is, other than it's not Muslim, it's not Christian. It's a perversion of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it."

These were curious remarks, pointedly excluding Jews and others dissenting from the Gospel. Mr. Beck's own faith is not accepted as Christian by many of the evangelicals who make up a large part of his constituency. A Pew Poll taken during the 2008 presidential campaign found that nearly half of evangelical Christians do not believe that Mormons are Christians. Mitt Romney found that his Mormon faith was a decided handicap in 2008, when there was wide speculation among politicians of both parties that as the Republican nominee he would find tough going in most of the Southern states that have become the Republican stronghold...


Beck: Most Americans Don't Recognize Obama's Christianity
Gospel Herald - 12 hours ago

...Ironically, Beck's theology has also been a point of debate - especially as the broadcaster's popularity among conservatives continues to rise.

When Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., tapped Beck to address its graduating class a few months back, officials at the evangelical school were strongly criticized for the move as Beck had "settled on Mormonism" - formally the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - in 1999 after marrying his second wife.

While Mormon conservatives, socially, are comparable to their evangelical counterparts, theologically, they are worlds apart.

Aside from rejecting the Trinity and their belief in many gods, Mormons believe their prophet, Joseph Smith, was "the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam," according to the Mormons' History of the Church...


Christians Welcome
By Joe Klein

TIME - 15 hour ago‎

By the way, Glenn Beck--whose unfamiliarity with the teachings of Jesus, especially the beatitudes, seems profound--has the gall to proclaim (inaccurately) and question Barack Obama's religious beliefs? I mean, as a member of a sect that has been and still is subject to deep prejudice, doesn't Beck get how obnoxious that is? (See Michael Scherer's post above for an example of anti-Mormon prejudice.)

If Jesus were around today, he might say that it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a telecharlatan to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.


What we know about Beck's Black Robe Regiment
Media Matters for America - 15 hours ago
This weekend, Glenn Beck announced the re-creation of a revolutionary force called the Black Robe Regiment. At his Restoring Honor rally on Saturday, Beck claimed that "our churches have fallen asleep" and that the "thousands of clergy" in the Regiment who subscribe to his particular views on the role of religion in American life, will "start the heart of this nation again and put it where it belongs: our heart with God."

On his radio show this morning, Beck delved into a little more detail about how the group was formed and who, exactly, some of these members of the Regiment are...


Mormons, Evangelicals and Glenn Beck
New York Times - 15 hours ago

...Latter Day Saints and evangelical Christians arguably share enough affinities to belong in the same "cultural family," as Weigel puts it. But you're more likely to find them in competition, from the streets of American suburbia to the mission fields of the developing world to the 2008 election's great Mike Huckabee-Mitt Romney throwdown. It's a case of theological differences trumping cultural commonalities: The two faiths occupy opposite sides of a theological chasm that makes the gulf between Catholics and Protestants look narrow by comparison, and many evangelicals bristle with hostility for what they regard as Mormonism's cultish pseudo-Christianity...

Beck is No 'Christian' Leader
By Rev. Alan Rudnick
Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ballston Spa

Albany Times Union - 16 hours ago‎
"God's light is not showing us this path. It's showing us where we're headed. It's a lighthouse, guiding the ship. And the lighthouse is on solid rock." - Glenn Beck, Divine Destiny speech, August 2010

Having watched the "Restoring Honor" rally on the Mall in Washington D.C., I say with confidence I'm very vexed and even confused by Glenn Beck's notions of "God" and "faith."   If millions of people want to follow a man who claims to know "the path" to restoring American through through Mormonism's god, then count me out...


Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin Are Restoring Dishonor to America
By Judge H. Lee Sarokin
Retired in 1966 after 17 years on the federal bench

Huffington Post - 16 hours ago

Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are constantly talking about restoring our Constitution. They want to get our Constitution back. I did not know that it had gone away. They have created this aura that since Barack Obama was inaugurated somehow our Forefathers have been affronted. Aside from the crazies who claim that President Obama was born in Kenya and is not a citizen, and therefore sits in the presidency in violation of the Constitution, I am at a loss to know what it is they are talking about. Other than the health care legislation, which faces a legitimate challenge on the basis that it requires all citizens to buy insurance and does not come within the power of Congress to tax, I know of no other claim, no less a legitimate one, that the current administration has violated the Constitution...


Glenn Beck And Obama's Christianity
NPR - 17 hours ago

SIEGEL: Glenn Beck is a Mormon. Is that brand of Christianity as distant or more so from yours than the National Council of Churches mainline Protestantism ...

Glenn Beck, the Faithful, and the Second Coming
By D. Michael Lindsay Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of sociology, Rice University
Huffington Post - 17 hours ago
...This relativizing/sacralizing of actions is precisely why evangelicals are so successful in American politics. Ever since Pat Robertson mobilized millions of them for his failed presidential bid, evangelicals have been faithful foot soldiers in the Republican army. As I found when researching my book, Faith in the Halls of Power, they feel a sense of calling to political involvement, but when they lose political races, they bounce back incredibly fast. In fact, they shake loose of political defeatism much faster than their liberal counterparts do. Why? Because their sense of moral obligation does not include final responsibility for the outcome. They leave that part to God. This was precisely Max Weber's point in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. European Calvinists worked hard and reinvested their capital to build more ventures, but ultimately, they trusted the profits to God. This surrender, in turn, granted them
a good bit of freedom from existential angst, which allowed them to become highly effective capitalists.

America today begins to turn back to God. In his second declaration, Beck's confidence is expressed by the use of the active, present tense. This is not a jeremiad against an America that "ought to turn back to God" or that "will turn back or else pay the price." Instead, Beck simply reports with the swagger of an evangelist that already we are witnessing a societal transformation. A number of evangelical leaders--especially those of the old guard (such as James Dobson)--opine about the kinds of cultural changes currently afoot. More Americans are becoming religiously unaffiliated (the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life pegs the latest figure at 16 percent, which is up ten percentage points over the last decade), and a growing number of people are accepting the validity of homosexual unions, including, scholars say, younger evangelicals...


Heads I Win, Tails You Lose
Wall Street Journal - 17 hours ago‎
Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally seems to have been quite the success, drawing a crowd in the hundreds of thousands by most reckonings. "In other Washington rally news," observes humorist Jim Treacher of The Daily Caller, "Al Sharpton has gone from the Million Man March to the Dozen Dude Dud."

It was billed as an apolitical event, yet it was a political event, a puzzle for the New York Times's Ross Douthat:

The most striking thing about "Restoring Honor" was the way the pageant effortlessly tapped into the same rich vein of identity politics that has given us figures as diverse as Palin and Howard Dean, George W. Bush and Barack Obama--but did so, somehow, without advancing any explicitly political agenda. . . .
In a sense, Beck's "Restoring Honor" was like an Obama rally through the looking glass. It was a long festival of affirmation for middle-class white Christians--square, earnest, patriotic and religious. If a speaker had suddenly burst out with an Obama-esque "we are the ones we've been waiting for," the message would have fit right in.
But whereas Obama wouldn't have been Obama if he weren't running for president, Beck's packed, three-hour jamboree was floated entirely on patriotism and piety, with no "get thee to a voting booth" message...


The Gospel According To St. Beck, Chapters 10-?
The Moderate Voice - 18 hours ago

...He is a carnival barker, Elmer Gantry and a voice of his vision of God all rolled up for the price of one. Oh, he is also rewriting U.S. history that smacks heavily of a socialist plot by Progressives who want to rule America if not the world...


Glenn Beck and white self-pity
Atlanta Journal Constitution - 28 hours ago
For many of my readers, the most salient trait I have is one I had nothing to do with: the color of my skin. Whether I mention race in a post is unimportant. Many of my commenters will mention it for me.

Given that, I call attention to the fact that the words I recommend to your attention in this post were written by a white man, Christopher Hitchens, who is moderately conservative. He has some interesting things to say about the weekend's Beck rally, which he calls the "Waterworld of white self-pity":

One crucial element of the American subconscious is about to become salient and explicit and highly volatile. It is the realization that white America is within thinkable distance of a moment when it will no longer be the majority. . .
Until recently, the tendency has been to think of this rather than to speak of it--or to speak of it very delicately, lest the hard-won ideal of diversity be imperiled. But nobody with any feeling for the zeitgeist can avoid noticing the symptoms of white unease and the additionally uneasy forms that its expression is beginning to take...


Glenn Beck launches conservative news site TheBlaze.com

Washington Post - 1 hour ago

Conservative Fox News host Glenn Beck, a frequent critic of the mainstream news media, has launched his own news site, The Blaze. The site appears to be modeled after The Huffington Post and not surprisingly, features stories with a conservative bent about some of Beck's favorite issues, such as faith, terrorism, the imam behind the planned Islamic community center in New York City and Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday...



Anonymous said...

I am curious about what Mormons think about Beck's rally and speech.

Do Mormons see any similarity to the current treatment of Muslims compared to past treatment of Mormons?

Anonymous said...

I am a Mormon. I do not like Beck's political style--nor do many of my friends. I am a senior citizen, an independent voter, and I voted for President Obama in the last election.

I feel uneasy about the sometimes stereotyping and/or generalization about the politics of the average Mormon.

Anonymous said...

Muslims as a whole group have both suffered and caused far more suffering than Mormons. Us Mormons are small taters compared to that history.

Muslims have conquered far and wide spreading the religion in that manner, creating theocracies at the point of the sword and gun.

Also, They have been massacred in the millions over and over again across the years.

I have to add that there are many millions across the years who were peaceful.

I don’t think our history quite matches up yet.

Clair Barrus said...

Here is a short essay on Mormonism and Islam -- followed by some interesting commentary at the Blog Juvenile Instructor.

Mormons and Mosques, and now Harry Reid

By: Max - August 17, 2010

After hearing this morning that Harry Reid has now entered into this vitriolic debate about the right to build a mosque (or the responsibility not to do so) where shadows of the Twin Towers once fell, my curiosity about how Mormons, both scholars and non, feel about this controversy, has bubbled over onto the virtual pages of JI.

As we well know, from the point of view of its detractors, Mormonism has been linked to Islam since at least E. D. Howe’s 1834 Mormonism Unvailed,

......KEEP READING HERE .... http://www.google.com/gwt/x?wsc=pr&wsi=5dd9acd6b95b6d08&source=reader&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.juvenileinstructor.org/mormons-and-mosques-and-now-harry-reid/&ei=idN-TJ6DMpT8qgPQ3rX0AQ