Dangerously Mixing Religion With Politics
My mother always warned her son that it was unwise to mix politics and religion in polite company, a bit of sound advice I've tried to follow. Glenn Beck, a holy roller/comic/right-wing commentator in the pay of Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, was surely not provided similar advice by his mother.
His "Restoring Honor" revival meeting recently held on the nation's mall was nothing but an amalgam of anti-Obama political rhetoric and pious rant clothed in a theological aura.
I was frankly surprised that the onetime Catholic, now professed Mormon, did not arrange for his faith's Tabernacle Choir to provide backup music.
"Beck" in German means "the slightest gesture reflecting someone's desire, especially a slight beckoning motion." There was nothing slight or subtle about Beck's message. He unctuously intoned the word "God" more often than Moses, David and John the Baptist combined.
Advertised heavily by Fox, his political circus claimed to "restore honor to America." Implicit in that theme is the assumption that our honor has been lost of late and indeed by President Obama. > It was promoted 24/7 on Fox by the same strident Neocon voices that endorsed George W. Bush's claim that he'd "restore honor to the White House." That should give viewers certain grounds for pause if they remember just how well that recommendation worked out.
Beck has pronounced that Obama's faith is "not Muslim but a perversion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it." That should come as a surprise to millions of mainstream Christians who favor a theology of social justice and a worship tradition free of ugly politics. >
If one reads bloggers' comments on Facebook and Google, thousands of them now call into -question not the legitimacy of Obama's Christian faith but the faith of Glenn Beck. Public reaction to his religious rant has ironically focused -attention on Mormonism and its legitimacy as a bona fide religion, hardly something that the still politically ambitious Mormon Mitt Romney -appreciates. >
Blogger raves for and against Beck and his faith contain predictably nasty attacks on Mormonism - its history of persecution, polygamy, anti-black policies, child brides, aggressive proselytizing and domination of Utah politics. Beck's cynical fusing of religion and politics to destroy Obama may cause the unintended undoing of Romney, a once-moderate Republican presidential hopeful.
Prominent among the front row of pastors fawning over Beck at the Washington extravaganza was the Rev. John Hagee. Beck embraces this TV evangelist, who has repeatedly defamed the Roman Catholic Church as "the whore of Babylon and a Godless theology." Hagee preaches that Hitler's anti-Semitism stemmed "directly from his Catholic faith." Beck's tie to Hagee will require his Roman Catholic viewers to question their embrace of Beck. Hagee also calls liberal Jews "poisoned spiritually" and blames Hurricane Katrina on "New Orleans' level of sin," and said its people "were recipients of God's judgment for that." Hagee repeatedly slurs the Islamic faith, and his anti-Semitic comments are legion. For the first time, Beck's Christian fundamentalist fans are discovering that their hero belongs to a faith many of them believe to be a false cult.
During Sen. John McCain's presidential bid, he sought Hagee's endorsement to win favor with fundamentalists who hang on every word of Hagee's hate-filled theology. McCain was soon shocked to learn he'd embraced a world-class bigot and fool and immediately abandoned the toxic Hagee. Now we see that Sarah Palin, his running mate and now a Fox Network employee, was proud to share the same venue with Hagee. >
By mixing religion and politics, Beck believes he's riding high. He's recently said with feigned modesty that he's "not interested in being president." (If you believe that, I've a bridge in Brooklyn you may wish to purchase.) I'm almost tempted to get on my knees and pray for Beck, but he may be too far gone.
Paul R. Dunn lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at email@example.com.
More like this story