Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Church of St. Beck: Can "Divine Destiny" Help Restore Honor To The Christian Right?

Gay Marriage 
Sever Ties?

August 28th, the day Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally hits the nation's capitol, may become a notable date in history: it will be the first time that Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin will meet to extol the glory that was our country and what we should do to regain its former stature among nations and among ourselves. It will be notable because it surely will not be the only time these two world-renowned people will be together under the shadow of Abraham Lincoln to put forth their philosophies and theologies. History is ready to enshrine their wisdom.

Then again...

Ben Dimiero, Media Matters:
Beck's messianic religiosity took the next logical step this week, when he announced a new event scheduled on the eve of the 8-28 rally. Employing his characteristic humility, the event will be titled "Glenn Beck's Divine Destiny" and will feature "nationally-known figures from all faiths." Beck describes the evening as an "eye-opening" event "that will help heal your soul."
"... from all faiths." Will that panoply of religion include Islam? For Beck's sake, it had better not. It shouldn't include Hinduism. Or Buddhism. Or Mormonism. Or even Judaism (to any extent - tokens may be accepted since he's actually had several rabbis on his radio show). The guest list MUST be packed with such notables as Tony Perkins (FRC), Bryan Fischer (AFA), Lou Engle, Rick Warren, Richard Land (SBC), Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr. and (if he's feted enough), Pat Robertson. If Glenn Beck wants to solidify his power-base, he needs these men and needs to keep within their boundaries. Through his historian-guru, David Barton, Beck has firmly placed the Christian Nation ideology on the political map. With rallies like this one, however, he must make certain that the meme is stretched to mean "Christian-Only Nation."

There will be points that Beck will need to punctuate or else the Tony Perkinses and Franklin Grahams will walk away and leave a very unpleasant tension in the air:
  • First: America is a Christian Nation. Beck's "historian" David Barton must be able to point to every founding father and declare that without a doubt he was a Christian and that this country was founded solely on Christian principles.
  • Gay rights are not Civil Rights. The fact that August 28th is the 47th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I Have A Dream speech will not be lost on the multitude, hopefully sprinkled with African American pastors.
  • America must repent. It must feel utter remorse in the fact that it let hedonistic and immoral forces take over the country.
  • If America does not stop the machinations of the Obama administration, it will be doomed to become a totalitarian, Socialist - and Godless - state.
  • The Freedoms of Religion and Speech are being strongly curtailed and, if we do not act now, Christian churches and congregations will be persecuted.
  • Traditional marriage is under attack by a small but powerful minority of homosexual, Socialist activists.
  • The current administration seeks to uphold immoral laws allowing abortion.
  • Our justice system has been corrupted by the ideologies of lawless Socialists.
  • If our country does not turn away from Socialist ideas, Socialist science, and Socialist education, then it is doomed both spiritually and physically.
  • Muslims - especially the ones who practice Islam - should be looked upon as potential terrorists.
I don't think the Beckian concept of "social justice" will be featured, since all of Beck's apostles know it by heart.
I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, the idea - hang on, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!
That now-famous statement has been enshrined in the halls of the Christian Right while being scorned from the pulpits of the progressives. With that one statement, Beck defined both sides: Progressive=evil, Conservative = good. 

Beck's definitions are not, however, quite balanced: "conservative" should be replaced by "regressive." And then "Restoring" would make more sense, for according to the Right's philosophy, we must reach back in time to retrieve the principles, to take back the Christian morals that we don't have today. And Beck's definition of "honor" is also amiss: isn't hypocrisy one of the opposites of honor? Isn't hiding behind the Bible, cowering behind the pulpit and evoking the First Amendment to justify hate speech dishonorable? Isn't bloviating about religious freedom while (literally) demonizing other religions dishonorable? What is so honorable about turning one's rights into something to be feared? And what is so unifying about "us" versus "them"? Restore Honor, by its very name says that "we" are better than "them."  

That begs the question: who's honor needs to be restored? 

Cracks In Divine Destiny

Unfortunately for Glenn Beck, his ship of Divine Destiny this Friday has already had some serious bailouts:

Brannon Howse, of World View Matters:
He has swerved into theological and doctrinal realm in the last few weeks. He’s said things on the air that makes my skin crawl. . . a ‘works based’ theology that is based in Mormonism. . . . We are not serving the god of Mormonism that says you can be like God… a religion that said Jesus and Satan were brothers. . . . Leave your pagan—your cult—religion. . . .

It's important to know that Howse was a big supporter of Beck and David Barton's "Christian Nation" meme, but the prospect of Mormonism creeping into Beck's "Daily Prayer" (on radio) and into his new found religionist theories makes many Christians' "skin crawl".

Coupled with Beck's promoting Mormonism is the even worse possibility that he might also promote the tolerance he showed for same-sex marriage on Bill O'Reilly's program:

O'Reilly: ... Is it going to harm the country?
Beck: I believe that Thomas Jefferson said: "If it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket what difference is it to me?

The MSM will undoubtedly tout attendance at the event as evidence of support for his patently false view that promotion of "gay marriage" poses no threat to our Constitution, sovereignty and liberty; that the majority of Americans are willing to allow the legal abandonment of the natural family and a redefinition of rights that makes them figments of government power rather than authoritative assertions of God's will for justice.
Famous CR homo-Islamo-everyone-who's-not-CR-phobe Bryan Fischer:

Count Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck as the latest deserters in the culture war and in the battle for sexual normalcy. They have flinched at "precisely that little point which the world and the devil are ... attacking," and so have forfeited the right to consider themselves any longer culture warriors.

Glenn Beck's Minister Of Chauvenism

Of course, a laissez-faire attitude towards gay marriage will oppose Beck's most ardent promoter, Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego and one of the men who spearheaded Proposition 8. 

Below is an audio clip from one of Beck's most recent radio shows which can serve as a guide to what thought processes will be used during the two-day fete. It really bears listening to, because Garlow regurgitates all the points above with (unfortunate) sincerity and piety. His sermon is  supposedly based on the book of Hosea (on which he so proudly says that he based his master's thesis).  Garlow then uses the usual supposition that no one actually reads the Bible (let alone an obscure  book like Hosea) and procedes to carve out his own fictitious story that Hosea forgave this wanton wife and she obediently followed him home.  Look it up in the KJV (Hosea), and see if there's any way you can conceivably make out his story from what is written.

The above anecdote serves to tell us the kind of "honorable" men Beck has been surrounding himself with.

Beck's homespun demagoguery is at times reminiscent of Andy Griffith's character in A Face In The Crowd. In the clip below, Griffith gloats to the late Patricia Neal about his political power. The horror on her face looks familiar, because you can see the same horror in the faces of Beck's critics: here is a man who has is enraptured by his own effect on people. With Beck, the medium has become the message.

I ask that you would come and bring your family, bring your children, this is going to be a historic day, it is going to be a day that I think will shock those naysayers, those people on the far left, those people who think we are going to dishonor...it is about Restoring Honor.

So whose honor will Divine Destiny Beck restore? The country's? The Christian Right's? His own?

When musing on Glenn Beck's many scattered (and even contradictory) philosophies, someone used the old saw "a broken clock is right twice a day." That may be true. However, a brocken clock is also wrong 1438 times a day. Whatever happens on Satruday, let's not give Beck too much credit.*

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Here’s the clip, via Media Matters:

*After all, he'll have Palin with him, too.