Friday, January 22, 2010

The Madman and The Little Flower: Glenn Beck Unwittingly Mimics The FATHER OF HATE RADIO!


It's strange that Glen Beck doesn't know anything about the man he's mimicking. It's expected that almost any Christian you meet will not, when questioned, know anything about the history of his own religion, but when a man comes this close to aping a famous personage, you have to wonder whether he's telling the truth or whether he's too stupid to see the resemblance.

The first time I became aware of the comparison of Glen Beck to Father Charles Coughlin was yesterday. Yes, I'll admit that if I had heard Beck more often, the thought would have come sooner, but listening to strange and faulty reasoning makes my head ache. And seeing it on the TV screen accompanied by strange chalkboard charts (and sometimes even stranger guests) makes my stomach gurgle. The eerie comparison was brought about by an article in Crooks and Liars by David Neiwert.

...One of Glenn Beck's favorite claims about the Tea Party movement -- and the surge of right-wing populism that he's leading -- is that it isn't about parties, it's about being American. And being American, of course, means being conservative.

Sometime in his broadcasting career, Glen Beck decided that the best way to get people to listen to him was to hammer at the prime concepts: "us vs them" "good vs evil" "traditional values vs progressive change" "blue collar vs white collar" and, of course, "American vs. foreigner" (i.e. illegal immigrant) Also along the way: he decided that there was no direct link between his polemics and the actions of his listeners. He washed his hands of all their transgressions. It's time to look at what Beck is getting himself into: the throes of "righteous assassination": Bill O'Reilly had a sense of it after the murder of Dr. Tiller:

Huffington Post:

"It's a variation of a Twinkie Defense," said legal expert Jonathan Turley. "They will attempt to connect Mr. Roeder's heavy intake of Bill O'Reilly combined with a talk-radio hate-speak rush to prove that Roeder did not have the capacity to make a rational decision when he shot Dr. Tiller. "The deluge of 'Tiller is a Nazi, mass murderer, baby killer' verbiage by Mr. O'Reilly surely can drive one into a state of what we in the legal profession call 'righteous assassination.'"

Those in the psychology community support the defense.

"Just the fact Mr. O'Reilly has an audience at all gives credence to the point that the so-called Folks™ who watch Bill O'Reilly have a decreasing ability to determine the difference between fact and fiction," said Dr. Hal Densky. "It's a brainwashing of sorts, though with O'Reilly it's more of a complete lobotomy."

The hatred fostered by Father Charles Coughlin of Royal Oak, MI in the 30's may have been incendiary to the point of righteous assassination. We may never know. Because a man with a clerical collar would never be linked to a Jew's death, or a Communist's murder no matter how influential and bigoted his broadcasts.

Ah, that was such an innocent, trusting time, wasn't it?

Father Charles Coughlin was a parish priest for the church The Shrine of the Little Flower, titled after St. Theresa of Liseux, a meek, mild, 19th century Carmelite nun.

I was only about ten when, traveling from Chicago to Quebec on vacation, my folks and I stopped at The Shrine of the Little Flower. The only memory I have of it, is that it was a large church that gave me a strange feeling: I'd never seen an altar placed in the middle of an enormous octagon. The church sat over 3,000 and, looking back, was really the country's first megachurch. And had its own radio evangelist, talking not about God, but about politics.

Wikipedia on Father Coughlin:
His office received up to 80,000 letters per week from listeners, and his listening audience was estimated to rise at times to as much as a third of the nation.
On November 20, 1938, two weeks after Kristallnacht, when Jews across Germany were attacked and killed, and Jewish businesses, homes and synagogues burned, Coughlin said "Jewish persecution only followed after Christians first were persecuted."


"There can be no doubt that the Russian Revolution ... was launched and fomented by distinctively Jewish influence."

Coughlin was an isolationist who admired Hitler in his nationalism and hatred of the Jews. His rhetoric prompted Joseph P. Kennedy - as early as 1933 - "to warn Roosevelt that he was an out and out demagogue." His isolationism made him sound a bit like Rush Limbaugh: "Less care for internationalism and more concern for national prosperity." It was even intimated in reports from the FBI that Coughlin received indirect funding from Nazi Germany during the mid 30s. Coughlin published a magazine titled "Social Justice" and started his own political party, the Union Party. What contributed to his downfall, however, was his direct association with a militant hate group called Christian Front:

From Goliath Business News:
In October 1943, the New York newspaper PM declared that bands of Irish Catholic youths, inspired by the Coughlinite Christian Front, had for over a year waged an "organized campaign of terrorism" against Jews in Boston's Dorchester district and in neighboring Roxbury and Mattapan. They had violently assaulted Jews in the streets and parks, often inflicting serious injuries with blackjacks and brass knuckles, and had desecrated synagogues and vandalized Jewish stores and homes.

Kennedy worked with Roosevelt, Bishop Francis Spellman and Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli (the future Pope Pius XII) in a successful effort to get the Vatican to silence Coughlin in 1936.
His voice continued to be heard through his publication, Social Justice. It was finally on May 1, 1942...
...the Archbishop of Detroit, Most Rev. Edward Mooney, ordered Coughlin to stop his political activities and confine himself to his duties as a parish priest, warning that he would be defrocked if he refused. Coughlin complied and remained the pastor of the Shrine of the Little Flower until retiring in 1966.
In the response Glen Beck gives to being compared to Coughlin, Beck challenges his listeners if they actually know who Coughlin was, states that he is different because Coughlin was a "kook" while he, Beck, is a reasoning person. And that even though he admits to be an off-the-wall entertainer, he's not crazy.

Many people would beg to differ on that point. Also, if Coughlin did indeed have the ear of a full one-third of the populace, don't you think it odd that Beck would not have ever heard of Father Charles Coughlin,"The Father of Hate Radio."

Beck has neither listened to nor read a truly nuanced account of his bloviating, his distortions, his lies and his attacks on just about everyone who's not Glen Beck. His vanity prohibits the possibility that he can be compared to a priest who should have learned to keep his mouth shut. His whole rant against the comparison to Coughlin can be (and should be) listened to because he doesn't see how he could possibly be compared to the Father of Hate Radio, Father Charles Coughlin.

It's interesting to not that even the "kookiest" of the "kooks" looks upon him as anything but a greedy misanthrope who has no idea of the ramifications of his rhetoric.

Just the other day, "Dr." James David Manning, (he of the "Long-legged-MacDaddy-Barak Hussein-Obama" diatribe) said that "housewives fall for Glen Beck the same way they do for Oprah Winfrey" and that Saturday's event in Westbury, NY - a dual book signing with Bill O'Reilly ("all that stinkin' group") - is an attempt to profit "from the ignorance of the American people." He goes on to say that because billionaire Al-Walid Bin Talal is now the largest single shareholder of Rupert Murdoch's corporate Fox News, both Beck and O'Reilly are now "on the Islamic payroll."

When someone who's considered the most outlandish clown of the Christian Right dishes him as an outlandish, but greedy, clown it's about time that Glen Beck should look at himself in the mirror and ask "Where am I going.?"

But he won't.