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

Ben

September 1st, 2010
8:55 am

Tax the churches I say.

STONE COLD REALITY

September 1st, 2010
8:56 am

Hope – the good kind- is where you have a means to determine your own destiney without the confinements or restrictions of other forces…say like the government. Hope is not healthcare paid for by my neighbor, it is not oppresive taxes on energy that make me unable to heat and illuminate my home so that Progressive/Green energy zealots, the government bureaucrats and energy companies can further line their wallers with taxpayers money….I don’t know who the heck that is supposed to help because I am fairly certain that is going to hit our lower income families especially hard. Hope and Change indeed.
I could go on and on but I have to go back to work to pay for more Hope.

Fools one and all.

TommyJack

September 1st, 2010
8:57 am

HELL HATH FROZEN OVER!!! For the first time EVER, I agree with CT. Beck is a snake oil salesman.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
8:57 am

responsibility
are you talking about the same will of God that people used to enslave Africans? the same will of God that people used to move Native Americans to reservations? or are you talking about the same will of God that people use along with the horses of calumny? i bet your “will of God” is not God’s will at all.

Ela

September 1st, 2010
8:57 am

Cynthia–You are an educated woman but you need to educate yourself about Mormons. Read about the history-the truth not the false rumors-of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and you will see that Jesus Christ is the head of the church. That qualifies members of that church as Christians.

Union

September 1st, 2010
8:58 am

creflo dollar.. money changers ministry.. from your hand to his.. :)

barking frog

September 1st, 2010
8:59 am

CT 8:46 the definition of liberal destroys the term
conservative as applied to right wing republicans
as all want change. possibly they might be
called retroliberals, but not so much as because
the past is not remembered as it was but as
they wish it had been.

Lawrence

September 1st, 2010
9:01 am

Michael..

I think the word you are looking for is “separation”.

Andrew

September 1st, 2010
9:01 am

@Pennsylvanian at 8:54 –

I was wondering the same thing.

He opposed the war. He opposed the surge. He voted to cut of funding to the troops he said he supported. He leveraged his votes against Hillary Clinton’s to win the nomination and then he has the audacity and the ever-present narcissistic sense to assume zero responsibility for his votes and give zero credit for those who actually exercised leadership.

He had a chance last night to be presidential, instead he just divided the nation further. Listen to his other speeches. He’s not acting like President of the U.S. — he’s acting like his only job is chairman of the Democrat Party. He is a divider, not a unifier. Disgusting display. Petty. Political.

Travis

September 1st, 2010
9:02 am

I’m Mormon, and I believe in Jesus Christ. He’s my savior and king.

Best

Jason

September 1st, 2010
9:02 am

who gives a flip what religion Beck and Obama follow? If Obama announced he was a Muslim then most of you religious bigots would not have voted for him. What does that say about YOU and YOUR RESPECT and tolerance for other religions? Just because it would be a popular reaction (to not vote for him if he was Muslim) doesn’t make it right. If you base your character analysis of a person on whether they’re Christian or not then you are the SHEEP anyway. People with incredible leadership ability and amazingly deep character come in all forms; Christian, Muslim, Mormon, agnostic, atheist, etc. If you’re measuring stick is different for all of these then you’re a bigot, simple.

and BTW – America was founded by Masons on Masonic principles. Masons only require that you do believe in a God or higher authority. That’s why our money and Washington D.C. is soaked in Masonic symbols. Notice how everyone always says America was founded on Christian principles but no one can point to a mention of Jesus Christ by name in any of the founding documents? Why? Because the country was founded by Masons with principles that are shared by all religions.

How ’bout them apples?

ctucker=hypocrite

September 1st, 2010
9:02 am

“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.”

So you condemn someone for not recognizing Obama’s religion in an article attacking Beck’s religion? You should add hypocrite to your resume, right next to crappy journalist.

PappyHappy

September 1st, 2010
9:03 am

Beck is a talk show host with distinct opinions. Folks can choose to listen, or not listen to him. For the same preachers who are questioning his religion, where is their voice on: 1) the demise of public education; 2) the high unemployment rate — and what they are doing about it; 3) high teenage pregnancy rate — and what they are doing about it; 4) the increasing homeless numbers; and a biggie — 5) the decline of those attending church in the USA????

Sounds like we have some preachers with a lot of time on their hands!

barking frog

September 1st, 2010
9:03 am

Ben

September 1st, 2010
8:55 am

Tax the churches I say
————————————
Amend the Constitution and you can.

Union

September 1st, 2010
9:03 am

@ jason..

i saw those movies.. good stuff..

Union

September 1st, 2010
9:04 am

speaking of sheep…

Dollar is known for his controversial teachings of Prosperity theology. He has been criticized for his lavish lifestyle as he owns two Rolls-Royces, a private jet, a million dollar home in Atlanta, and a 2.5 million dollar home in Manhattan. Dollar has refused to disclose his salary and Creflo Dollar Ministries received a grade of “F” for financial transparency by the organization MinistryWatch.

gmaye

September 1st, 2010
9:05 am

Funny, how we never questioned Bush, faith, Oh, I forgot he was white.

Glen Beck draws 89,000, at the rally, KKK had over 1 million people at one of their rally back in the 1940’s some thing never change.

Cedric

September 1st, 2010
9:06 am

Left or right commentators aren’t elected. We turn off their blabbing when we want if their beliefs or views are unacceptable to us, Beck included. His perspectives really don’t count. It’s a different matter with elected or appointed public officials and worker WHO WE PAY to represent us. That Beck is of any faith is unimportant and not worthy of discussion. At least the Mormons didn’t attack the WTC on 9/11.

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
9:06 am

ctucker=hypocrite@9:02, Did you read the post? If you did, you didn’t comprehend what you were reading. You entirely missed the point.

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
9:07 am

Ela@8:57, you know to read the post. Read before ranting. Think about what I wrote. Try to comprehend its meaning.

Sam the Sham

September 1st, 2010
9:07 am

Let me wipe the venom off of my computer. Jeez Cynthia.

casual observer

September 1st, 2010
9:08 am

Guess nothing on the Palin wire! Now it’s Glen Beck? Read my lips….Hundreds and Hundreds of thousands of people. Get over it.

The producers aka Tax payers , people with values, family people have finally mobilized and it frightens the crap out of people like Cynthia Tucker and Al Sharpton.

This is so fun to watch!

STONE COLD REALITY

September 1st, 2010
9:08 am

BTW….I see Glenn Beck for what he is…an entertainer. I would not vote for him or Palin….we already have a huckster in the White House and don’t need to compound the mistake by electing someone else who can’t manage a huge corporation (which is what the US is). Follow Becks call to get closer to God, your family, your community. YOU should help your fellow man….not the government. Washington and all who reside, Democrat and Republican alike, are denizens of a vipers nest and the sooner we defang them of their power the sooner, we all will have HOPE.

Union

September 1st, 2010
9:09 am

ctucker -

how can people “comprehend” the meaning of something as ambiguous as your broad brush statement that you title your blog with?

I'm Here From The Government And I'm Here To Help

September 1st, 2010
9:09 am

An estimated 87,000 attend Glen Beck’s rally in D.C.; a volcano erupts after four centuries of inactivity and Paris Hilton’s new mug shot. Betty Nguyen has these stories and more on this week’s episode of “The Feed.”

PROOF CBS can’t count. Try 300,000 plus!

Liberal chaning to conservative

September 1st, 2010
9:09 am

Can’t you write anything that has merit? All your articles are about hate. You have not written one accurate article that debates the merits of an issue.

Wow, that's Pulitzer material

September 1st, 2010
9:10 am

CT, if you think opposition to the new healthcare bill is the only problem that conservative Christians have with the current leadership, you are confused.
Clearly conservative Christians are not socialists in their ideals, this current leadership certainly is socialist/ marxist, bordering on communistic ideals. Statements supporting the building of a mosque near the world trade center. Passing a stimulus that doesn’t correct the mistakes of the previous administrations. Putting socially liberal justices on the supream court. The mishandled oil spill in the gulf.
The lack of respect shown to the American public with regard to their opinion about these things listed above.

Trying to say that Christians don’t support the President solely because of healthcare is reaching. The current leadership has proceeded with their own agenda because they think they know best. In november there will be a reckoning.

Conservative Christians are just like any other conservative group; they like fiscal responsibility, less government, secure borders, and a federal gov’t that serves the people, not one that serves their own political aspirations.

In response I would say that conservative Christian values are at the heart of our founding fathers ideals for this country. Clearly this current leadership doesn’t espouse the same views. Conservative Christians are not happy with this trend and will vote accordingly.

Steve

September 1st, 2010
9:10 am

The spokesman for the Southern Baptists did not say that Beck was not “Christian enough.” Please, folks, before you bash anyone, Christian or Mormon or other, do some research on your own. Check the beliefs of Mormonism for yourself and compare it to fundamental Christian beliefs (fundamental, meaning basic tenets of the Christian faith, not someone’s definition of conservatism.) The two are not approaching as equal faiths. That is what the SBC spokesman was saying. Not saying Mormons are not good, decent people; however, their faith is not the Christian faith, despite the use of “Jesus Christ” in their updated name. As far as the Founding Fathers’ faith, if you read some history about those guys, you will praise God that this country was established and has become as great as it has, despite their personal, spiritual, and political shortcomings and failures.

Straight Talk

September 1st, 2010
9:10 am

Cynthia, your racism masquerading as journalism never ceases to amaze us. God forbid anyone should have the audacity to call out our President for his hypocritical behavior…because then folks like you will then call them hypocrites. Try as your might with your pen to make readers feel guilty for violating your definition of political correctness no one much cares what you think anymore. In a word every over the top assertion you make [like the ones about Glenn Beck in this column] simply make your views [and your newspaper] even more irrelevant. Beck and many of us agree with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr….it is the content of one’s character not the color of their skin that is important. The problems a lot of folks have with you…and with the President…is your character. Period.

I'm Here From The Government And I'm Here To Help

September 1st, 2010
9:10 am

With the U.S. Department of Justice’s approval, Georgia now has one of the toughest voter verification and ID systems in the country.

Thank God!

ctucker=hypocrite

September 1st, 2010
9:10 am

Um yes I read your post Cynthia Tucker. And yes you are a hypocrite because you are attacking someone for doing the exact same thing you are doing in this article (i.e. You are attacking Beck for saying Christian’s don’t recognize Obama’s religion as Christian while at the same time not recognizing Beck’s religion as Christian).

Don’t try to hide what you’re actually doing here.

Beck's a First Century Christian

September 1st, 2010
9:11 am

Glenn Beck’s theology is based on First Century Christianity, not Fourth Century Creeds. For example, the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) views on Baptism, Lay Ministry, the Trinity, Theosis, Grace vs. Works, the Divinity of Jesus Christ comport more closely with Early Christianity than any other denomination. And Mormons’ teenagers have been judged to “top the charts” in Christian Characteristics by a UNC-Chapel Hill study. Read about it here:

http://MormonsAreChristian.blogspot.com

Those who would denigrate Glenn Beck’s religion, usually have an ulterior motive. 11 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were non-Trinitarian Christians. Those who insist on a narrow definition of Christianity are doing our Republic an injustice.

Cynthia's Alter Ego

September 1st, 2010
9:11 am

Funny how I have denounced Southern Baptist in the past as being racist, bigoted, etc. but now they have something to say against someone I disagree with they are just fine. I suppose the old adage of “An enemy of an enemy is a friend” really holds true for me.

Boots

September 1st, 2010
9:11 am

Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s patootey what a politician’s religious beliefs are, or even if they have any religious beliefs.

That’s a personal matter.

I am, however, intensely interested in whether they are emotionally stable, intelligent and have good judgement.

This criterior immediately excludes Beck, Palin, Gingrich and an array of others who long to be “players” on the political stage.

For example, Bush was a neat guy — someone I’d really enjoy having a beer with and talking football — but he was a mental light weight and didn’t exercise good judgement by getting involved in this “tar-baby” of a war in Iraq.

Look to your religious leaders for spiritual guidance, not your politicians. That’s not what we hire them to do.

Avenger

September 1st, 2010
9:12 am

right. “You mean to tell me that if Beck was black you would have written this crap?”. Do you people have to make every thing about race. Right – you are just wrong – change your name.

Sara

September 1st, 2010
9:12 am

The single biggest problem with this country is the Christians … and the fact that none of them actually know what being a Christian means anymore. Christianity is walking the walk, not talking the talk. Christianity is not about getting rich, but enriching the lives and souls of your fellow men. Christianity is not being full of hate, but forgiving and accepting. Christianity isn’t clinging to Leviticus but embracing the Sermon on the Mount.

If Christians would spend their time making sure they themselves are living embodiments of the teachings of Christ, instead of running around making sure everyone else is “living right,” perhaps they’d find the restored honor they are seeking.

Personal Responsibility

September 1st, 2010
9:13 am

Straight talk @ 9:10 has just hit the nail on the head.

BIGDICKCHENEY

September 1st, 2010
9:13 am

Obama knows I won that freaking war while hiding in my man sized safe with a heart stimulator shoved up my rectum!

Grandpa Right

September 1st, 2010
9:13 am

Beck does in fact create a conflict. His past is checkered, and, as a devout, Reformed Christian I believe that the tenets of Mormonism are contrary to biblical truth and are not reflective of true Christianity.

However, his message is dead on. Our government has become intrusive, and our current CIC does in fact want to transform not only our government but our American way of life. Beck recognizes that and, as I do, wants to see this transformation stopped and its impacts up until now reversed.

CT and her disciples cannot intellectually refute Beck’s fundamental message, so they attack the messenger. For those who do not understand the redemptive qualities of Christ, they find that to usually be an easy strategy, for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” We are all hypocrites, it is just a matter of degree. When I take a stand for Judeo-Christian values in our culture and our government, you can dig deep enough and find rank hypocrisy in my life. I am NOT a saint, but a forgiven sinner, in perpetual need of additional forgiveness.

But this is the part that the liberals and non-Christians just don’t get. I don’t want a theocracy, I just want my world view represented in government. If my position on cultural issues is rooted in my biblical faith, it does not mean that I cannot have my views represented. And the core of my faith- salvation through Jesus Christ- is a personal matter. I can’t force you to accept him- as a matter of fact I believe that He chooses us, not vice versa- I can only hope that you do, for your sake. I don’t want my worst enemy to miss out on salvation.

I believe that Mormonism is a cult, not a true religion, but that is a matter of the heart, not the public square. The Mormons share my cultural values, so I will find much in common with them. Since I believe in redemption, Beck’s past doesn’t stop me from agreeing with his message, and I don’t see him continuing to live the way he did in the past while he delivers that message. If his past as a drug using, alcoholic DJ inherently made him ineligible to speak for what many believe is good and right, then OBama should be officially declared ineligible for the Presidency because of his early childhood exposure to Islam; neither of those positions is fair.

I do not accept Mormonism as true Christianity, so I pray for the hearts of the Mormons; the same can be said about my Jewish friends, and Muslims and Hindus as well. But I find myself as an ally of many Mormons and Jews in political endeavors because we grasp the same cultural values, which are independent of our beliefs about the path to eternal salvation. As a matter of fact, I see Mitt Romney as our best candidate to represent the right in the White House at this point in the process, despite my private prayers for his soul.

Two different issues.

So I don’t have to reject Beck when I agree with his message. And Christians do not seek a theocracy- the whole concept is silly actually.

Our hypocricy is simply an easier mark than our message.

aj

September 1st, 2010
9:14 am

im sure that cynthia really practices what she preaches. i mean after all, let gays get married in church etc. im sure jesus christ would have tolerated that.

Cryingeyes

September 1st, 2010
9:15 am

Nothing beats playing the “take a drink every time Beck cries” game. You’ll be sh*t faced before the show is half over. Seriously, Beck, take your meds.

ken R

September 1st, 2010
9:15 am

Hey guys, don’t be so upset, Tucker is just pissed because Sharpton only had 3,000 at his rally and Beck had 300,000

When all you can do it tear people down what does that say about you? Like CT says, stop and comprehend what you just read.

I'm Here From The Government And I'm Here To Help

September 1st, 2010
9:15 am

Why are we running from a terrorist State?

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2010 – Iraqi security forces today arrested two suspected al-Qaida in Iraq criminal associates during joint security operations conducted in east Mosul, Iraq.

Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors searched several buildings for a suspected al-Qaida in Iraq leader allegedly responsible for extorting money from oil-related contractors and oil transportation workers in order to fund terrorist operations against Iraq’s security forces and the Iraqi public.

Union

September 1st, 2010
9:16 am

religion and talking about how bad white people are.. two good ways to get people to read your blog..

jlw

September 1st, 2010
9:16 am

Most of our country’s founding fathers were “Home Brewers”. They did not need a law to restrict alcohol sales on Sunday. Sounds like good christians to me.

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
9:16 am

aj@9:14, actually, I believe Jesus Christ would have “tolerated” gay marriage. He never mentioned homosexuality

lovelyliz

September 1st, 2010
9:16 am

Beck likely doesn’t care; his bank account (and his ego) will only grow larger as a result of the attention.
—————————-
Wasn’t that the whole point?????????????

granny godzilla

September 1st, 2010
9:17 am

aj

i believe Jesus would have had the wedding shower and officiated at the ceremony….

he always loved love

Call it like it is

September 1st, 2010
9:17 am

Hmmmm……Cynthia why don’t you just come out and say what your real issue is. Is it Beck or is it the fact that he is a white guy that got s bunch of other white people at the mall this past weekend for a rally? You and your ilk were not able to come up with any sound bites, pictures or anything else showing these fine people doing anything wrong, just getting together to have an American pep rally.

I find it funny that you never comment on Al Sharpton or his little snide comments. “Those people are marching on our day!”

Don’t get me wrong, I am no huge fan of Beck, but him and his fans said nothing wrong and did nothing wrong this weekend.

granny godzilla

September 1st, 2010
9:18 am

85000

get real