Southern Baptists say Beck is no Christian, either

WASHINGTON — Glenn Beck is a talented huckster, a shrewd survivor who may be in the middle of another self-reinvention. This time, he seems bent on remaking himself as one of the oldest of the stock all-American characters: the Elmer Gantry-like preacher-performer.

Last weekend, Beck held a rally on the National Mall, “Restoring Honor,” calling the nation back to what he sees as its traditional Christian roots. Beck gets a lot of things wrong, including history. Moreover, he’s an odd spokesman for conservative Christianity, since he’s Mormon.

But never mind all that. One of this country’s many charms is its capacity to weave an assortment of eccentrics into its cultural fabric without being ripped apart by their bizarre sentiments. If the country survived the pronouncements of Father Charles Coughlin — a Roman Catholic priest whose 1930s-era radio show reverberated with praise for Hitler and noxious attacks on Jews — it can survive Beck’s pseudo-theology.

Still, there are dangers for those mainstream Republicans who tack too closely to Beck’s currents. Sarah Palin will hardly be damaged by her appearance as one of Beck’s featured speakers on Saturday, since she is already one of the most polarizing figures in national politics. Her approval rating hovers in the mid-30s.

But other prominent Republicans who hope to maintain political respectability should beware of him. Beck’s demagoguery is corrosive.

Take his latest smear, an ugly attack on President Obama’s religious beliefs. “Most Christians don’t recognize (Obama’s) version of Christianity,” Beck told Fox News interviewer Chris Wallace after the rally.

That sort of rancid dismissal of the religious beliefs of liberal-leaning public figures has been a tactic of the religious right since the 1970s, but I had believed (or had hoped) it was dying away after Republicans overused their holier-than-thou, family-values playbook in the Karl Rove era. A catalog of sexual scandals involving conservative politicians made it clear that their private behavior was no more pure for all their public piousness. The GOP seemed willing to drop the religion card.

But the opportunity to paint President Obama as “the other” has proved too great to pass up. As Islamophobia rises and the rightwing noise machine echoes with its nsistence that Obama is Muslim, GOP luminaries exploit the frenzy for short-term political gain.

In an on-air interview, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gave the most tepid support possible to Obama’s religious identity. “The president says he’s a Christian. I take him at his word,” McConnell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”  McConnell surely remembers the criticism Obama endured in 2008 over the sermons of his then-pastor, Jeremiah Wright, who headed a United Church of Christ in Chicago. Yet, he intentionally signaled room for doubt about Obama’s religion.

McConnell and other conservatives play that hand at their peril. As they anticipate a hard-fought presidential campaign in 2012, one of the GOP’s most able contenders is likely to be Mitt Romney, a Mormon. The former Massachusetts governor was handicapped by religious prejudices in 2008, as many Christian conservatives, dismissing Mormonism as a “cult,” refused to support him. Does McConnell mean to stir up those prejudices?

Beck, by the way, has also been subjected to harsh appraisals by Christian fundamentalists. His rally had barely ended before Russell Moore, a dean at Louisville’s Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, denounced it, along with the conservative Christians who attended. “Mormonism and Mammonism are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Moore wrote.

Beck likely doesn’t care; his bank account (and his ego) will only grow larger as a result of the attention. But he has stirred the winds of religious bigotry, and the GOP may reap the whirlwind.

693 comments Add your comment

Rusty

September 1st, 2010
11:58 am

I love how Cynthia comes on here and tries to counter the overwhelming number of people who don’t share her viewpoint with “read what I wrote and try hard to comprehend the meaning,” as if it’s Proust and not moronic drivel.

1ProudVet

September 1st, 2010
11:58 am

Owl…Beck preaches “sedition” for profit. Question: Why does a man who made 30 million last year need to “raise” money for anything? And, he used the money raised to pay costs of holding the event. It’s called a, “shakedown”

1ProudVet

September 1st, 2010
12:01 pm

Think about it…Obama passed a bill full of Republican ideas (mandate was their counter to Hillarycare). Can’t wait to see Romney run against his own bill.

Nothing Is Free

September 1st, 2010
12:03 pm

If Beck keeps Tucker’s panties in a wad for this long, he must be doing something right.

gmaye

September 1st, 2010
12:04 pm

White man, this is whats wrong with you conservatives you try to have it both ways, How can you go around like Silly Sara does and preach morales and values to the world and your daughter does not listen to you.

Boy, let that had of been one of Obama daughter oh my god, Beck, Hannity, Rush would have talked about it to the end of time.

One good thing about most Blacks, latinos,Mexicans, you can not Pimp us like Beck, Hannity, Rush does with poor white People.

1ProudVet

September 1st, 2010
12:04 pm

White man..great job..now take your backward ass back to Hannity/Beck/Limbaugh and get your new talking points.

Nothing Is Free

September 1st, 2010
12:05 pm

But of course, what else would she write about? The democrats are completely in charge and they suck. What’s she going to do? Write abut the abject failure of liberal policies?

So go ahead Tucker. (It’s amazing how many people on this blog freely use the term “cracker”. I wonder how long I would last if I started using the “N” word.

White Man

September 1st, 2010
12:05 pm

You have been pimped since the beginning of time hahahaaha.

old-timer

September 1st, 2010
12:06 pm

Obama is a Christian and Beck isn’t……Who made anyone on earth judge and jury…..

Nothing Is Free

September 1st, 2010
12:07 pm

gmaye

“One good thing about most Blacks, latinos,Mexicans, you can not Pimp us like Beck, Hannity, Rush does with poor white People.”

95% of Blacks support Obama without question. Now who is being pimped?

1ProudVet

September 1st, 2010
12:07 pm

White man? Was how the Supreme Court “appointed” Bush in the Constitution?

White Man

September 1st, 2010
12:08 pm

Nothing is Free…………GREAT, WONDERFUL, EXACT POST!!!! BEST OF THE DAY!

Wahoo

September 1st, 2010
12:08 pm

“One good thing about most Blacks, latinos,Mexicans, you can not Pimp us like Beck, Hannity, Rush does with poor white People.”

gmaye, I don’t know if that was meant to be funny, but it sure was. Thanks for the laugh.

Wahoo

September 1st, 2010
12:10 pm

“White man? Was how the Supreme Court “appointed” Bush in the Constitution?”

This is a funny blog.

White Man

September 1st, 2010
12:10 pm

Nothing Is Free

September 1st, 2010
12:12 pm

White Man

1ProudVet seems to be a bit angry this morning. He must see how hopeless the liberal agenda is becoming.

Libs are so angry nowadays. And the Beck crowd policed the DC mall and cleaned up their own trash. That didn’t happen for the million man march. It took almost a week just to clean up the trash.

White Man

September 1st, 2010
12:13 pm

Nothing is Free….I know I guess he just woke up angry and decided to vent here on this blog.

That is the fundamental difference between the races. One accepts self responsiblity and the others do not.

ken

September 1st, 2010
12:15 pm

If you support abortion, you are not a Christian. You cannot be a half Christian. Thou shall not kill.

Joe Smith

September 1st, 2010
12:16 pm

Cynthia……you get more and more irrelevant everyday. But, that would assume that you were ever relevant in the first place. BTW – did you listen to Glen Back the other morning when he started his show reading your column about him?? they were all laughing so hard they just about came out of their chair……laughing along with the rest of the country that is.

willie lynch

September 1st, 2010
12:16 pm

Since the belief in these religions requires a suspension of logic and good sense it is no suprise Glen Beck and Palin can draw an audience.

kevinbgoode

September 1st, 2010
12:17 pm

Wahoo sez: “Sky News: 500,000
NBC News: 300,000
D.C. Official: 300,000-325,000
Glenn Beck: 300,000-500,000
ABC News: 100,000+
CBS News: 87,000
——————————————————-

Ya left out Michelle Bachmann’s claim of 1,000,000. . .later revised to 1, 600,000.

The only thing I observed about the numbers is that there were fewer people at The Beckoning than attended three national gay rights marches on Washington.

Nothing Is Free

September 1st, 2010
12:19 pm

gmaye

Which demographic is taking it the hardest during this Democratically engineered recession? And you say you aren’t being pimped? LOL!! You are not only being used by the democrats, you are being screwed by the Democrats. And you claim that conservatives are being pimped. LOL!!! That’s like a federal prisoner telling a guard that the guard is actually the prisoner. LOL!!!!

Take pride in your servitude to the Democratic Plantation. After all, look at how much the democrats have helped Black People. Helped them be the poorest and less educated of all the American Demographics.

kevinbgoode

September 1st, 2010
12:19 pm

Nothing is free sez: “Libs are so angry nowadays. And the Beck crowd policed the DC mall and cleaned up their own trash. That didn’t happen for the million man march. It took almost a week just to clean up the trash.”
—————————————————————–
Well, the gays not only cleaned up their trash after four national marches, but planted flowers.

1ProudVet

September 1st, 2010
12:22 pm

old-timer…Jesus judged such things…And according to him, you show your “Christianity” by how you treat others.

Matt. 23:23, Jesus, rebuking the Pharisees, says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”

Glenn Beck cast doubt on Obama’s salvation based on his belief in the “collective” and “social justice.” God calls His church, the “body” of Christ That’s “collective.”

See, like, Beck, who was judging Obama’s salvation based on what he deemed “faulty” theology.

Beck belongs to white supremacist cult (didn’t they also support polygamy?).

Union

September 1st, 2010
12:25 pm

“Well, the gays not only cleaned up their trash after four national marches, but planted flowers”

:)

Nothing Is Free

September 1st, 2010
12:25 pm

kevinbgoode

Planing flowers is good. And gays aren’t usually as blind as other liberal demographics. They understand that they are also being used by the dims and sometimes they actually speak up about it.

There is hope for gays. After 40 years of liberal broken promises, at least gays have enough sense to realize what criminals the democrats really are.

HDB

September 1st, 2010
12:26 pm

Nothing Is Free September 1st, 2010
12:07 pm
“gmaye

“One good thing about most Blacks, latinos,Mexicans, you can not Pimp us like Beck, Hannity, Rush does with poor white People.”

95% of Blacks support Obama without question. Now who is being pimped?”

NiF – It’s not being pimped when you don’t have any OPTIONS!! GOP doesn’t think I exist!! Plus, the GOP platform is antithetical to me….so, who’s getting pimped??

kevinbgoode

September 1st, 2010
12:26 pm

granny sez: “and it’s not like they don’t have a history of inflating numbers….what was the one recently were Hannity’s team used footage from rally A to prove attendance at rally B?”

————————————————-

Conservatives tend to believe that, just like their votes and their opinions should be counted twice, their attendance at anything must be doubled. Then the lawn chairs have to be counted as well.

Soames

September 1st, 2010
12:27 pm

I don’t understand what liberals have to fear from Beck. He’ll never be anything other than an entertainer because he chooses to alienate half the country on a daily basis. Same with Palin. Divide and conquer…that’s politics in America

We are such a bitter, divisive people these days. Can’t we all celebrate and embrace our differences? I’m glad everyone else isn’t just like me or the world would be a boring place full of motorcycles..LOL

CT comparing Beck to Coughlin makes about as much sense as the wingnuts comparing Obama to Hitler…

Andrew @ 8:51 made a good point. Most Christians do not subscribe to black liberation theology.

Regarding our Founding Father’s – at the time of the writing of our Constitution, most of the big names like Jefferson were Deists and believed in Natural Law and prescribed to John Locke’s ideology. The world is nothing like it was back then and the Church does not project power like it did in the past thanks to Hobbes, Locke & Rousseau who pretty much invented liberalism or the form of liberalism that we see today. One intersting thing to note is that several of these great men converted to Christianity later in life and it is apparent in their later writings.

This country was not founded on Christianity, but if you believe in Natural Law & “Nature’s God”, I’d call that a form of Christianity..but that’s another argument for another day.

Society has become progressively more wicked and I think that is attributed to the lack of people walking in God’s footsteps, me included. I wish to be less like Peter and more like Paul.

God bless you all, even those who deny Him.

Nothing Is Free

September 1st, 2010
12:28 pm

1ProudVet

So you spend the entire post explaining how wrong Beck is for judging Obama on what he believes and then you falsely claim that he is a white supremacist.

This kind of logic is why you have elected the worst government in our history. My God man, have you no brains at all?

1ProudVet

September 1st, 2010
12:31 pm

I bet you idiots are at work doing this. Failure of liberal agenda? Who said I was a liberal? What did you “stop?”You terrorists are hilarious. This is what Hannity/Beck/:Limbaugh do all day! A man wins by 8 million votes and it’s “tyranny!” 24/7 from you terrorists. You yucks yell “fire” in a crowded theater.

Nothing Is Free

September 1st, 2010
12:33 pm

HDB

So you need a political party to pander to your demographic before you will consider leaving the democratic plantation?

Not going to happen. Republicans see you as a fellow American, not a Black man. As long as you tie yourself down with your own race, you probably should stay with the people that have been using you all these years. The democrats are your party, Pal.

When you are ready to be looked at as a man instead of a demographic, come on over. As long as you want to be treated like you are owned, stay with the democrats. They will tell you how much they love you every day.

willie lynch

September 1st, 2010
12:36 pm

It amazes me how many people consider the idea that the U.S. Govt. could be complicit in the murders of U.S. citizens, the destruction of U.S. properties and other violation crazy conspiracy talk. Yet they believe a man walked on water, fed a multitude with a couple of fish, made a blind man see and rose from the dead to be factual.

This is why any nonsense can pass for fact with man and any fool can draw a crowd. There’s a sucker born every minute.

Nothing Is Free

September 1st, 2010
12:36 pm

kevinbgoode

granny used the term “Cracker” this morning.

Sorry, I don’t care what a racist claims about anything.

granny godzilla

September 1st, 2010
12:37 pm

we must destroy capitalism and embrace socialism

granny godzilla

September 1st, 2010
12:38 pm

Wahoo

I do often shout piffle…in reaction to piffle posted.
There is loads of piffle posted here regularly.

Now about that count, CBS commissioned an independent source who use
actual scientific method to estimate the crowd size.

here’s some specifics

here are some specifics

or I suppose rather than trusting tried and true scientific methods you good simple accept a number someone pulled out of their bum, because you are overly tied into the ideology.

Wondering ?

September 1st, 2010
12:38 pm

CT’s continues to show why the AJC’s circulation is in the toilet

Nothing Is Free

September 1st, 2010
12:39 pm

willie lynch

You anti-religious people are hysterical.

Go back 200 years and tell anyone that we would be communicating with a box that we all have where we can communicate anywhere in the world in seconds.

We just all understand technology that you will never get. Open your mind, Pal.

HDB

September 1st, 2010
12:39 pm

Nothing Is Free

September 1st, 2010
12:33 pm
HDB

So you need a political party to pander to your demographic before you will consider leaving the democratic plantation? Republicans see you as a fellow American….

No…they don’t! IF they did..why is the “Southern Strategy” still being used…making the South a monolithic, white voting bloc? Why is the GOP virtually all-white? Why does the GOP use as examples those minorities who have prospered….and were assisted by programs like Affirmative Action? Why does the GOP wish to eliminate those programs that granted access and progress to those that heretofore were denied??

I’ve asked this question and no conservative can understand it: Have you ever been black and unemployed in a Republican Administration?? Since I know that you haven’t…then you don’t really see the truth!! Not an angry statement….but just the facts!!

granny godzilla

September 1st, 2010
12:40 pm

sorry my link did not work

here goes:

As part of our coverage of Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally Saturday, CBS News commissioned the company AirPhotosLive.com to offer an independent estimate of how many people showed up for the event. AirPhotosLive.com calculated that there were approximately 87,000 people there, plus or minus 9,000 people. It was the only scientific estimate made of the number of people at the rally.

The estimate generated criticism from conservative bloggers as well as from Beck himself, who suggested the rally attracted at least 500,000 people.

“The media can diminish the crowd side all they want, but the images speak for themselves,” Beck said on his Fox News show Monday.

In order to bring more clarity to the crowd estimation process, Hotsheet asked Curt Westergard, the president of AirPhotosLive.com, to discuss his methods. Westergard’s company has done aerial imaging for the U.S. border patrol, the Department of Homeland Security, companies building skyscrapers and cell phone companies trying to decide where to build their towers, among others.

“People hire us to get a really detailed view of what’s on the ground,” he said.

The company sometimes uses these images for crowd estimates, both generating its own estimates and partnering with Professor Stephen Doig of Arizona State University, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and crowd estimate expert, to come up with figures. For President Obama’s inauguration last year, the company worked with Doig and GeoEye satellite data to generate a crowd estimate on behalf of CNN that was cited by the Associated Press and other news outlets.

To calculate attendance at the Beck rally, AirPhotosLive.com used what is called a surveillance aerostat balloon to take pictures from both above the event and closer to the ground. In the video above, which was provided by the company, you can see some of the images used to come up with a figure.

The balloon, Westergard said, gave the company the capacity to move up and down, allowing it to photograph people who were standing beneath trees in addition to taking photos from high above.

Glenn Beck Rally Attracts Estimated 87,000
Glenn Beck: My Rally had “Minimum of 500,000 People”
Glenn Beck: “Something Beyond Imagination is Happening”
Sights and Sounds: Glenn Beck & Al Sharpton Rallies
“We took a lot of shots under the trees and higher up by just changing the balloon altitude,” he said. “So what might have been a negative with an airplane and certainly a negative with a satellite was a very strong position with a balloon.”

Though there was restricted airspace on the south side of the reflecting pool, airspace was not restricted where the crowd was gathered, allowing the company to position the balloon in “the very center of the crowd – dead in the middle of it,” Westergard said.

The photos were taken at noon, which Beck’s representatives suggested would be the peak of the event, which ran from 10 AM to slightly after 1 PM. Taking the pictures then meant counting both those who were late to the event because of subway or traffic delays and those who left early to avoid the crowds afterward.

The company generated its own estimate and asked Doig to separately one on his own. Though Doig and AirPhotosLive.com employ slightly different methodologies, both use a method that involves laying grids over the high-resolution images and counting the density per unit of each grid cell. Westergard provided the image below to help show how the estimates are made. It’s of a Tea Party Express event on April 15th that the company calculated attracted 4,436 people.

(Credit: AirPhotosLive.com) Doig estimated that there were 80,000 people at the “Restoring Honor” rally, while AirPhotosLive.com estimated that there were 87,000 people, a statistically insignificant different since the margin of error was 9,000. CBS News elected to use the higher estimate.

In a blog post, Doig, writing from Portugal, noted that he estimated the crowd at Mr. Obama’s inauguration at roughly 800,000 – a number critics assailed as too low.

“Crowd counting, particularly of political events, always is controversial,” he wrote. “The organizers of the event inevitably hype their crowd estimate — often grossly — to demonstrate the popularity of their cause, and opponents inevitably underestimate to fit their own agenda. Because of the wild pre-inauguration predictions of how many would attend in person — up to 5 million! — my reality-based estimate was ignored by many left-wing commentators and embraced by those on the right.”

Washington Unplugged: Was the Rally a Political or Religious Revival?
Glenn Beck Assails Obama’s Religion
Sarah Palin at Glenn Beck Rally: “We Must Restore America!”
Dr. Alveda King: Beck Isn’t a “Racist”

He added: “The frothing underscores the problem with hyped predictions of crowd size. Organizers and supporters are forced to insist loudly that the actual crowd met or exceeded their expectations, for fear that the realistic estimate will be painted as a disappointment. The time-honored way to dismiss scientific estimates that don’t reflect the pre-event hype is to claim political bias on the part of those doing the estimate. I am amused to see that those who embraced my Obama inauguration estimate as soberly realistic are now attacking the Beck rally estimate, produced using exactly the same methods, as deliberately biased.”

On his Fox News show, Beck used an Associated Press photo taken from the Washington Monument to support his claim that there were at least 500,000 people at the event. He said that, looking at the photo, it was obvious that a nearly mile-long area was nearly completely filled with people, evidence that the CBS News-commissioned estimate was far too low.

But Westergard said it’s a mistake to try to count crowds that way, and noted, as you can see in the video above, that people bunched in front of jumbo-trons and did not tightly fill out the entire area.

“You really have to have a position overhead to count it well, and if you use a very oblique angle from the top of the Washington Monument, the sparse areas – and there were many because of people with blankets and chairs – tend to look more dense because you’re looking at it from the edge,” he said. “We instead are looking at it from above. And that perspective is essential. Anything less than that is sort of like guessing how many people are in a line by just looking at them through a doorway, for example.”

Westergard, who said he has received hundreds of hate mails and angry phone calls over the estimate of the Beck rally, also pointed to this link showing roughly 400 photos the company took at the rally, arranged spatially. Many of these photos were used in generating the two estimates.

You’ll have to google it yourself to see the photos

Nothing Is Free

September 1st, 2010
12:41 pm

granny godzilla

“we must destroy capitalism and embrace socialism”"

Are all socialist racist or do some not use the term “cracker” to describe other humans.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Billybob

September 1st, 2010
12:41 pm

Granny Godzilla,

I have heard numerous quotes from the ‘Reverend’ Wright. But I will tell you, all I need to know is that this man used the Lord’s name in vain IN THE PULPIT. In all my years in church I HAVE NEVER heard a preacher come close to speaking that way. YES that is an AMAZING AMOUNT OF HATE. So if you deny that…..shame on you ma’am.

willie lynch

September 1st, 2010
12:42 pm

The term “cracker” comes from the language of the kidnapping victims called slaves. It was used to identify the man who wielded the whip and it described the sound made by said instrument. It’s usage in todays vernacular is rare but could still be seen as accurate in many cases.

1ProudVet

September 1st, 2010
12:42 pm

Nothing is free..Did you look up “sedition” It’s in the Constitution. He’s guilty of it. The bible says you’re judged by how you judge others. Hey, i works. Mormon, support(ed) polygamy stuck their noses in the Prop 8 fight in CA. See, hypocrites can’t help themselves. You obviously are a person confuses being “white” with being “Christian.”because you know know Zero about the Word. I bet you’re at work on the internet, “stealing” from your employer.

You can yell that garbage all you want

Bush will always be remembered for being on vacation for a month in Texas after he was briefed on Bin Laden. He did not catch Bin Laden.

HDB

September 1st, 2010
12:43 pm

NiF – What demographic is most adversely affected by the recession? MEN!! What demographic is most adversely affected by a recession in a Republican Administration? Educated, BLACK men!! (that’s from EXPERIENCE!
What demographic has been most positively affected by Affirmative Action? WHITE WOMEN!!

In some cases, you HAVE to look at the demographics to discover the truth!!

granny godzilla

September 1st, 2010
12:43 pm

be advised that i am a complete moron
disregard any of the facts i make up and post on this blog

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama - BEND OVER, Here comes the CHANGE!

September 1st, 2010
12:45 pm

Of course he’s a Christian – Check out the Mormon’s name it has Christ in it. I guess Dale Murphy’s not a Christian either? PLEASE, I am a Southern Baptist and I am embarassed by this. Jeeze, if you want to get on a religion, try the looney Muslims, who only let Muslims live in Mecca. Do you think Utah only has Mormons?

I see Cindy you are still on the love fest with Glenn Beck – two blogs in a row….mmm, mmm, mmm.

granny godzilla

September 1st, 2010
12:46 pm

Nothing is Free

You haven’t changed the least little bit have you?

I used a quote from a film that used that term, any attempt to claim that I have ever used that term in relationship to anything but cheddar cheese is way out of line.

Billybob

September 1st, 2010
12:46 pm

Granny Godzilla,

FYI…..I know your schtick of instigating just to get a raise out of someone. Also, liberal always change the subject rather that discuss something on the merits, so I am not surprised you want to change the subject of what happened at this rally to a useless discussion of how many people were there. It’s fun to dissect liberalism 101….God bless you

Avenger

September 1st, 2010
12:47 pm

Kayaker. I wouldn’t brag too much about America’s honor. We once had bigots running the country. I wouldn’t brag too much about honoring the constitution – the bigot wiped their butts with it.