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

JesusFreak

September 1st, 2010
8:38 am

Anybody that has studied the least bit of religion knows that Mormons are indeed a cult. About as Christian as a Jehovah’s Witness. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is very simple – admit your sin, believe that Christ died for you, and confess that Jesus is Lord. You don’t need to be part of a religion, religion is man-made. It’s about a relationship with your Creator. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses have added a whole bunch of man-made mandates, and in fact they tell you that not all of them will be worthy of getting to heaven. What a crock, all that believe in Jesus and proclaim him Lord WILL be with him in heaven, the Bible tells us so. The Mormons have made up their own version of their own bible. The one true Bible is historically and archeologically proven, it is the only book written by so many different authors that over such a large span of time still coincide in their accounts and locations. This life is not forever, but your soul is. Don’t let it go to waste. Who to vote for? Anybody whose name is not Obama, and who will not sink our country into a further pit, doling out taxpayers’ money to greedy, failing banks and Wall Street firms instead of resolving the unemployment situation which has in turn led to countless foreclosures. Obama was a huge mistake, let’s make it the end of an error!

WAR

September 1st, 2010
8:38 am

this country was not founded by God-fearing conservatives. it was founded by men from different walks of life that included libs, dems, conserves, repubs, land owners, slave owners, quakers, christians, deists, rich, poor…

granny godzilla

September 1st, 2010
8:38 am

Milton Man

1. Because we asked him as a moderate Sufi muslim to act on our behalf.

2. We’ve been doing that since 2003. It’s called “soft power”

Dave

September 1st, 2010
8:38 am

CT continues her vitrol and trying to spread her word in the hopes that someone…ANYONE…will listen and stem the tide that is the Democrats downfall. The speech by Obama last night was nothing more than fluff attempting to salvage a lost administration. Obama, Pelosi and Reid have not served the American people and instead steamrolled everyone in their attempt to implement their socialist agenda. They see November as their Armageddon and it is unavoidable. Obama is a master orator, but he is also a master manipulator. People voted for “Hope and Change”, but are now shaking their heads while muttering “What have I DONE?” It is time to clean house and the tide is rising. Plummenting poll numbers have cause the Libs to distance themselves from Obama. Two years ago, it was “Anyone, but Bush.”. In 2012, it will be “Anyone, but Obama.” Sweet dreams, Libs. You did a great job…..lol.

STONE COLD REALITY

September 1st, 2010
8:39 am

Are you liberals THAT afraid of the ideas Beck espouses? Truth, honor, hope (the good kind) and charity? Beck may be a “huckster” as you say, but his message doesn’t involve wealth redistribution and intrusive govenment control of every facet of our lives. He espouses independence for the individual, as well as the country, and good, core, one would think liberal values….only they are based religious faith. God forbid we should actually live like christians….what a loathsome lot they are, right? The problem with you Cynthia and the liberals is you can’t debate him on his ideas and his principles because they are unassailable. Why don’t you for ONCE provide a clear cut example of his extremism that is such an affront to this country instead of genealized statements. Could it be because you would come off looking like a fool? You and your liberal ilk are the ones that are getting played….go look at the egregious income increases by our esteemed democratic leaders over the LAST YEAR. They have doubled and tripled their wealth OR MORE. Gee, how did that happen? On our backs my freinds….they have been bought and paid for by the uber-wealthy to shackle us all. And you cry for more….fools one and all.

Metro Coach

September 1st, 2010
8:39 am

Union, the next time Cynthia tells the truth about something will be the first.

Jethro

September 1st, 2010
8:39 am

Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, Walter Matthau. Great movie. Universal for it’s genre. I agree, Face in the Crowd is a must-see movie.

Like Lonesome Rhodes, though, Glenn will find that his schtick goes only so far. At some point, one must match substance with rhetoric. Glenn’s not in the substance business – he’s in the rhetoric business. It’s one thing to snipe at somebody and run away (opinion columnists have mastered this art), but it’s another thing entirely to put tire to pavement. Oftentimes, it is simply enough to put a voice to the grumblings of the disgruntled masses, then move on to the next revival.

But this is America, and while the populace may get together for a couple of hours to collectively vent, ultimately the question must be asked: what are you gonna do about it? Since no one, either Democrat or Republican, seems to want to engage in one-on-one discussion, since no one really seems to want to solve problems (only agitate the pot), I fear we are in for more of the same “WWE Raw Goes Politics.”

O to hear rhetoric not delivered in snippy rhetoric and one-line retorts.

paleo-neo-Carlinist

September 1st, 2010
8:40 am

Wow that’s, if you want to get technical, there were already “roots” in place when the European Christians landed at Plymouth rock. but you are correct, Christianity is a buzzword in politics, and calling into question the nature or legitimacy of one’s faith can be effective as well, but I would suggest to you there are many non-Christian Americans who care concerned by the use of the “religion card” in either instance. as with anything else, the pundits and power brokers will split hairs and engage in any “he said/she said” debate so long as it distracts voters from the real issue, which is a lack of leadership. and to that end, this is what I find odious about Beck, not that he is a Mormon or half a Christian, but simply that he is a carny-barker and in my opinion not interested in restoring honor to the USA

Blue

September 1st, 2010
8:40 am

The apex of hypocrisy; CT says “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.” and then writes “Take his latest smear, an ugly attack on President Obama’s religious beliefs. “Most Christians don’t recognize (Obama’s) version of Christianity”.
I see not the SLIGHTEST bit of difference between your assessment/comments on Beck than the ones he made of Obama. Guess what’s good for the goose is not good for the gander? But when is it ever with you…

John K

September 1st, 2010
8:40 am

I love the “who is and who is not a Christian” infighting on the right. Let them destroy themselves from within.

That’s the problem with religion. Everyone thinks they have the direct line to God, and everyone else is a heretic. They’re putting religion on top of everything, and are just now beginning to see the fruits of their labor.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
8:41 am

rhetorical question: why was the word God changed to creator in one of the most important documents in our country?

Right

September 1st, 2010
8:41 am

CT plays the race card ONCE AGAIN. What else is new? Cynthia, does Mrs. Obamo now of your constant obsession and idolization of her husband. Does she know about the Fat Head poster of the “enlightened one” on your wall. You say Palin has an approval rating “hovering in the 30’s”. What are people judging her on? She holds NO PUBLIC OFFICE!!!!! Now Mr. Egotistical, finger pointing, Obama does hold a public office. Guess where his approval rating is? Hovering in the LOW 30’s!!!

Danny Collins

September 1st, 2010
8:41 am

Glenn, member of a “white supremacist” cult, America refuses to officially apologize for slavery. WWJD? Sin un-repented of leaves you in permanent role of oppressor.

Let’s see what God says:

Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Here’s a good description of the American Right:
In 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.”

Farrakhan got 500,000 at a “men only” there in ‘95. And, unlike Palin/Beck, he acknowledged Jesus!

Notice how the Right treats a democratically elected President worse than they treated Osama Bin Laden. They’d send more troops for a coup than the 6000 Bush sent after Bin Laden.

After Right did whatever it wanted for 8 years, all this phony outrage from the Right should be “hardening” support on Left.

Terrorists on the Right are angry that their “Court appointed” president, who “inherited 911, “stepped in it” on a historical scale.

Now, the “distract by subpoena” Right is about to take over Congress.The same tactic used in the ’90s as terror threat escalated.

Pillsbury

September 1st, 2010
8:42 am

In response to J.Kase, it’s not just the Southern Baptists who believe that Mormons aren’t really Christians. Mormonism holds views which which are anathema to Christian theology. As a result, most Catholic and Protestant theologians don’t really consider Mormons to be Christians. Of course, most of the mainline Protestants and Catholics don’t scream that from the rooftops like the Southern Baptists. I swear that denomination is about as subtle as a nuclear bomb. It is funny though.

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
8:42 am

Right@8:41, Please tell me where race was mentioned in this morning’s post.

gmaye

September 1st, 2010
8:43 am

As a Vet, Thanks Mr. President The world loves you, dispite the bigots, like Beck, Hannity, Rush who wants to divide this nation and never ran for any office or finish any school in their lives

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
8:44 am

SToneCold@8:39, Can you define “hope (the good kind)” for me?

Union

September 1st, 2010
8:44 am

nowhere ct.. we are still waiting for the link to all the “southern baptist” that made the statement?

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
8:44 am

WAR@8:38, amen!

WAR

September 1st, 2010
8:44 am

i’m not afraid of glenn beck or any other man for that matter (my gun and bible do not permit it). but i can’t sit back and watch christians high-jack christianity from others. as a christian it burns me when my faith is used as some diving wedge for people who don’t even follow the core principles of Christ. i don’t care if beck believes that God is the center of the universe. he and no one else is allowed to use religion for political gain.

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
8:45 am

Union@8:36, “Southern Baptists say” is accurate. I didn’t write, “All Southern Baptists say”

Boots

September 1st, 2010
8:45 am

The Good Book says something to the effect that “Pride comes before a fall and a haughty spirit before destruction.”

This whole effort by Beck and his “Beckerheads” is an exercise in power and ego. Beck wants to be a player — a “king maker.” However, the messianic mantel is extremely heavy and may push him over the edge — you know that “pride leading to a fall” thing or the “haughty spirit” and destruction prediction.

In a nutshell, Beck needs to get back on his meds because American is not ready for a bi-polar messiah!

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
8:46 am

Wow@8:33, If your definitions are accurate, the founders would have to be, by your definition, liberals. Nothing they did was conventional.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
8:46 am

thanks CT. got to defend you on this one.

Right

September 1st, 2010
8:46 am

CT,

everyone can read between the lines. It is YOUR schtict. You mean to tell me that if Beck was black you would have written this crap?

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

September 1st, 2010
8:46 am

Is Glen Beck a Christian? I assume he is, he certainly claims he is. Is Obama a Christian? He claims he is as well. If you are going to question someone faith, maybe it is your faith that is truly in question. I, for one am getting very,very tired of the attitude that if you are from the right, or if you are white, southern and Christian, then any and everything you stand for is wrong and it is OK to slander you. Cynthia, I disagree with your political philosophy, and I think it lessens your credibility to go on personal attacks, but I don’t question your religion or call you a female Al race baiting Sharpton, or accuse you of being insincere in what you write. This is the most disappointing diatribe I have read from you in a long time. Why are you so afraid of Glen Beck? He is not running for office, he is no more relevant than………….you. Peace to all

Responsibility

September 1st, 2010
8:47 am

We should not turn our trust over to “Government” but rather to God’s will. God warned Isreal about wanting a king but we wouldn’t listen. Why do we think “Government” is effecient and better at taking care of our lives than ourselves and our local communities? Don’t you get it, keep more of your money and spend in your community helping out people and programs you care about. Quit allowing the “Goverment” to take over healthcare, education, daycare, etc. “Government” is not effecient at managing our money (Social Security), healthcare (Medicare), etc.
Why is the federal government so scared of having a balance budget?

Union

September 1st, 2010
8:48 am

ok..CT if i say “criminals shouldnt be allowed to vote.. am i implying/stating all of the criminals or some of the criminals?

JT

September 1st, 2010
8:48 am

I am a Christian. I don’t know what Obama is and let me tell you why.
1. Speaks at Notre Dame and insists that all religious symblos and covered. ( Why would a Christian insist on that?)
2. Does not attend Church on Easter. (Even people that only marginally call themselves Christian go to church on Easter.)
3. Blows off the national Day of Prayer. (I cannot believe anyone that calls themself a Christian would do that.)
As the saying goes, judge them by their actions, not by their words.
Let me see you rationalize or spin those actions, please.

Joe

September 1st, 2010
8:48 am

Your stupidity is almost laughable Tucker. It’s wrong to question Obama about being a Christian but its ok for you to question Beck. Last I checked Beck hasn’t been taking up for radical Muslim extremists the way Obama has. The Mormon faith believes that Jesus Christ is our savior just as the Southern Baptist faith does. I know you love divisiveness Cindy but this really is a moot point trying to turn folks away from Beck. His crowd was made up of GOD fearing America loving people who believe people like you, Obama, and the dem party are contributing with ruining our country. It’s that simple really but your lack of common sense prevents you from understanding that….

Michael Cline

September 1st, 2010
8:48 am

And that folks is why Seperation of church and state is critical.

Paul

September 1st, 2010
8:48 am

Beck appears to be following in the bootsteps of another great leader, what with his bipolar rants, attempts to rewrite history and fear mongering. I think he’d look dapper in a brown shirt with a swastika. This is a serious nutjob, but fortunately he’s a largely impotent one. Anyway, the country needs to grow up and move on.

Michael Cline

September 1st, 2010
8:48 am

Native American

September 1st, 2010
8:49 am

I’m still not understanding what the current administration is doing that is un-christian. That they want to take care of the least of us? That they want to control Wall Street?

The constitution doesn’t say anywhere that this country would be a christian country. It just talks about God. The same God that created all of us – jew, christian and muslim.

The constitution also doesn’t say that this country has to be a capitalist society. We could be socialist too.

Oh, and the mosque hear ground zero…. I guess it’s like the christians killing my people to convert them to christianity and then building a church on the same grounds.

flagger

September 1st, 2010
8:49 am

and then we have the presidents rev. wrong and his god damn america not god bless
america, which is it for u cynthia dear?

blackbird13

September 1st, 2010
8:49 am

Who gives a damn who is a Christian and who is not, except for stupid Christians who have been scammed into supporting the right’s “greed is good” philosophy(the opposite of Christianity) for nearly 30 years now? And Glenn Beck? That buffoon? Somebody made great reference to “A Face in the Crowd”, and that is a quite appropriate comparison, given that it is about an uneducated huckster roping in the boobs.

granny godzilla

September 1st, 2010
8:50 am

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
8:50 am

Native American@8:49, You’re applying h logic, rational thought and a dose of actual American history. Thanks for that

BethR

September 1st, 2010
8:51 am

Why is Beck’s commitment to Christianity in question? Why isn’t Al Sharpton’s faith being questioned? His rants this weekend were far more caustic and inflammatory and cruel than Beck, who actually wasn’t.

Sarah Palin

September 1st, 2010
8:51 am

I can see November from my house!

Right

September 1st, 2010
8:51 am

Kam Fong,

CT is upset with Beck because he used the same area MLK’s speech was made to stand on his soapbox. She simply does not think it is ok for a white conservative to exercise his freedom of speech.

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
8:51 am

Joe, It’s wrong for anyone to question anyone else’s religious beliefs. None of us is God.

Joe

September 1st, 2010
8:51 am

Amen CT – Jesus Himself was the ultimate liberal. He hung with all manner of criminals (and was executed as one), believing in helping others above all else, and overturning all societal convention in doing so.

Andrew

September 1st, 2010
8:51 am

Ms. Tucker:

“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.”

Look who’s parsing now? The full context of Beck’s statement addressed “liberation theology” as professed and pontificated by Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It is neither ugly nor a smear to state what is true: most Christians do not subscribe to black liberation theology. Do you disagree?

And as for your argument with respect to Obama as “the other”, one must remember that it was Obama and his supporters who consistently positioned and position Obama as a different kind of leader. As such, he must assume just as much responsibility for the positive and negative ramifications of “the other” branding.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
8:52 am

funny how we christians want our politics to be conservative. our leaders to be conservative. because we think the country was founded on conservative principles only. so i ask–my fellow christians: the Christ that you believe in–is he liberal or conservative? would he condone your negative attitude toward the president? would he want you to vote republican because he/she is not a democrat? would he support a WAR in iraq and afghan? help me understand WWJD?

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
8:52 am

JT@8:48, Most of your “facts” are wrong. And you have no business questioning anyone else’s religious beliefs.

granny godzilla

September 1st, 2010
8:53 am

JT

April 4, 2010 Easter Sunday
Allen Chapel AME Church

Guess who was there?

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
8:53 am

Starring Ka Fong@8:46, I don’t think you read my post. If you did, you certainly missed the point of it.

Mark in mid-town

September 1st, 2010
8:53 am

Cynthia Tucker writes: “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.”

In the same interview, didn’t Beck also say that Most Christians don’t consider Beck a Christian either becaue he’s a Morman?

How about some context Ms. Tucker?

Pennsylvanian

September 1st, 2010
8:54 am

Glenn Beck? GLENN BECK??? You write about Glenn Beck, a big mouth entertainer, but nothing about the speech by President Obama last night? Can’t find anything good to say about that pathetic speech?