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

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
9:18 am

ctucker=hypocrite@9:10am, You either didn’t read the part I wrote about the religious prejudice that Mitt Romney encountered because he was a Mormon, or you couldn’t comprehend what you read.

mini mi-mi

September 1st, 2010
9:18 am

I Jesus has a problem with gay marriage, I wonder what he thinks about pork and shellfish eaters participating in matrimony?

teamguy

September 1st, 2010
9:18 am

I grew up in middle Georgia, family was poor. Most of the folks we knew thought Herman Talmadge was God, and when they died they’d go to Atlanta. I personally do not care whether this President, or any President, is even religious. I can go to a local church to find a pastor. .I need someone to get this economy going so business people will have enough money to hire people, buy stuff, etc. If I want to hear sermons, I’ll play some old Peter Marshall tapes.

Blue

September 1st, 2010
9:18 am

“Joe, It’s wrong for anyone to question anyone else’s religious beliefs. None of us is God.”…”(this country) can survive Beck’s pseudo-theology.”
Too easy to prove your hypocrisy. Go ahead…tell us that saying “Beck’s pseudo-theology” is not “questioning anyone else’s religious beliefs”.

Wow, that's Pulitzer material

September 1st, 2010
9:18 am

Our founding fathers were in fact liberal, only in the sense that they wanted a change from the exsiting form of gov’t oppression. Nice try though.

Nazan Yar

September 1st, 2010
9:18 am

Ms. Tucker, I’m pretty impressed you read your comments.

Your comment at 8:51 states “It’s wrong for anyone to question anyone else’s religious beliefs.” I’m not sure I understand the authority behind this statement. If one believes that his/her belief dictates that he/she should question others’ religious beliefs, aren’t you by definition questioning his/her religious beliefs by your statement?

I believe one of society’s great obstacles is the gist behind your statement, that all beliefs are personal and acceptable, if I am understanding your point correctly. What we all must discern is whether or not it is possible that there is one truth about our understanding of the universe. We can either decide there is one truth or decide there are many truths (in other words no truth).

If there is one truth, we must seek it and must question ours and everyone’s beliefs – sharpen ourselves and others. If there are many truths, there are no truths. If there are no truths, we also must question others’ beliefs, because all beliefs are by definition invalid. These are the only two options. Your statement is therefore logically inconsistent.

HDB

September 1st, 2010
9:19 am

Andrew September 1st, 2010
8:51 am

“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”

Look who’s parsing? Conservative media has parsed Jeremiah Wright’s sermon just to paint a negative picture of what the man REALLY said! Here’s the transcript of the key part or the sermon…..

“Governments fail. The government in this text comprised of Caesar, Cornelius, Pontus Pilot – Pontius Pilate – the Roman government failed. The British government used to rule from east to west. The British government had a Union Jack. She colonised Kenya, Guana, Nigeria, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Hong Kong. Her navies ruled the seven seas all the way down to the tip of Argentina in the Falklands, but the British failed. The Russian government failed. The Japanese government failed. The German government failed. And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian decent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese decent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating her citizens of African decent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them in slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton fields, put them in inferior schools, put them in substandard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education and locked them into position of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing “God Bless America.” No, no, no. Not “God Bless America”; God Damn America! That’s in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating her citizens as less than human. God Damn America as long as she keeps trying to act like she is God and she is supreme!
The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African decent. Think about this, think about this. For every 1 Oprah, a billionaire, you got five million Blacks who are out of work. For every 1 Colin Powell, a millionaire, you got ten million Blacks who cannot read. For every 1 “Condeskeeza” Rice, you got one million in prison. For every 1 Tiger Woods, who needs to get beat at the Masters with his cat-blazing hips, playing on a course that discriminates against women; God has this way of bringing you short when you get too big for your cat-blazing britches. For every 1 Tiger Woods, we got ten thousand Black kids who will never see a golf course. The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African decent. But I’m fitting to help you one last time – turn to your neighbour and say “he’s fitting to help us one last time.” Turn back and say “Forgive him for the ‘God Damn’, that’s in the Bible Lord.” Blessings and cursing is in the Bible, it’s in the Bible. But I’m fitting to help you one last time. Let me tell you something.
Where governments fail, God never fails.”

STONE COLD REALITY

September 1st, 2010
9:19 am

CT what is your definition of Hope….collective salvation?? Reparations? Being a worker bee for the State??? You and your kind are the biggest rubes of them all….you actually beleive that these underpaid politicians are going to Washington to work for and bring justice to “the people”. You can’t live in Washington on what they make!!! OPEN YOUR EYES!! They are on the take, ALL OF THEM and they are selling themselves to the highest bidder, the Democrats just lie and say they are trying to help the little man….enlighten me, how are things getting better for the little man? The little man is either out of work, getting hit with higher taxes, higher costs on goods and services due to higher taxes on corporation (like healthcare costs!!) and losing his house because he can’t get a loan now. THANKS FOR HELPING OUT THE LITTLE GUY DEMS!!! At least with the Republicans you know they’re working for business….the Dems pat you on the back and take your wallet.

Fools one and all.

ctucker=hypocrite

September 1st, 2010
9:19 am

Wow, you say Jesus Christ would have “tolerated” gay marriage????? You are absolutely out of touch with being a Christian. I am praying for people like you.

BIGDICKCHENEY

September 1st, 2010
9:19 am

I never ran from military service. My ass was just too sore to go.

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
9:19 am

Union@9:09, This may be an unrealistic expectation, but I expect people to read the entire post before they rant about it.

Troglodyke

September 1st, 2010
9:19 am

his desire to return the country back to our Christian roots strikes a harmonious chord with most Christians as they don’t like the direction of the current government.

I don’t have a problem with people being upset about the state of the country, even if their fears are sometimes misguided (and sometimes correct). I don’t know how the current administration is moving us away from Christianity, exactly. I think the myriad Republican scandals of the last few years are very telling, and have nothing to do with this administration.

The problem I have with Beck is that America is NOT a “Christian country.” What does it mean to “get back to our Xtian roots?”

This country is a secular republic with a population of diverse people of diverse faiths (and no faith). That “Christianity” is the most checked box on the form by our citizens does not make America a “Christian country.”

Anytime politicians or hucksters cry that we need to get back to our “Christian roots,” I know they have not read the Constitution, and that scares me.

If the majority of Republican Xtians weren’t such hypocritical, holier-than-thou arseholes, I probably wouldn’t mind as much.

Al Czervik

September 1st, 2010
9:20 am

Give the little girl a break….she can’t write anything intelligent to have others read her blog so she goes for the shock factor. Gotta do something to keep herself employed.

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
9:20 am

ctucker=hypocrite@9:19 am, Have you actually read the New Testament for yourself?

Union

September 1st, 2010
9:20 am

im agnostic.. so.. i cannot comment too much.. but didnt god say something about homosexuality.. and if i remember the bible correctly.. jesus taught the teachings of his father.. so..

Call it like it is

September 1st, 2010
9:21 am

What??????????????

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

So Cynthis what does Leviticus 18:22 mean too you?

Georgian

September 1st, 2010
9:21 am

Cynthia,

I find the hypocrisy of your blog to be very stunning. Just days ago you title one about Barack Hussein Obama, and it not being our business if he is Muslim. Then you come back today and attack Glenn Beck for promoting Christianity. Beck did not promote a specific type of Christianity. He promoted a return to Christian values, something America needs to desperately get back to. Im tired of liberals bashing the notion that the founders did not consider a devotion to Godly principles when this country was born.

However, you Ms. Tucker, would find fault with anything Mr. Beck said. You would, however, praise and exault the words and actions of your precious Muslim President, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama. It wouldnt matter one bit what he stood for, you would still support him for one reason…

Please spare us the bull Ms. Tucker, its rotten by now.

Drew

September 1st, 2010
9:21 am

Glenn Becks form of religion is not even considered main-stream Christianity. He is more of a charlaton, a wolf in sheeps clothing.

Union

September 1st, 2010
9:22 am

ms. tucker.. i do read your whole post before commenting.. but then thats me.. and from what i remember from literary class.. never assume anything about your readers?

Un-real

September 1st, 2010
9:22 am

I can’t understand why so much attention and discussions are around Beck and Palin. They are always in the news and here we are wasting time this morning discussing this idiot who deep down only cares about himself and his pockets.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for getting yours through hardwork and determination, but what Beck is doing is playing on people’s fears. The demographics of this country is changing, get used to it!!!

There are just some hateful people out there and the hate has risen 100% since President Obama has come in to office. Too bad, deal with it… The country is moving in a positive direction..

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
9:22 am

Georgian@9:21, Many of my readers are having trouble reading today. Please read the entire post. If you can’t find your reading glasses, get someone to read it to you.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
9:23 am

teamguy
Amen to that brother!

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
9:23 am

Call it like it is@9:21, Jesus Christ wasn’t born at the time that Leviticus refers to. Christ came to bring a New Covenant. Remember that part?

Cryingeyes

September 1st, 2010
9:23 am

Give Beck a break….he can’t say anything intelligent to have others watch his show so he goes for the shock factor. Gotta do something to keep himself employed. Wow that does so describe schizo Beck!

ctucker=hypocrite

September 1st, 2010
9:24 am

Ok so how do you defend the title of your article? How do you defend this statement:

“That sort of rancid dismissal of the religious beliefs of liberal-leaning public figures…”

You wrote an article which is a rancid dismissal of someone’s religious beliefs.

And yes I read the New Testament frequently, do you? Who are you to speak of what Jesus Christ would tolerate?

granny godzilla

September 1st, 2010
9:24 am

HDB

Thanks for the post…..Rev Wright was right.

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
9:24 am

ctucker=hypocrite, I have the same right to express what I believe C/hrist would tolerate as you do

Sarah H. Lewis

September 1st, 2010
9:25 am

Hey Cynthia,
Who cares what Beck’s religious affiliations are? The man is a conservative with philosophy built on principle. He is good to the core and not an evil, bribing, Chicago style politician … which is what we are stuck with for the time being.

Sundawg

September 1st, 2010
9:26 am

Articles like this just shows that the socialists left are getting concerned.

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
9:26 am

ctucker=hypocrite@9:24, I take it you didn’t get to the part about Mitt Romney and the “religious bigotry” to which he was subjected? Or you saw that part but couldn’t comprehend its meaning?

Georgian

September 1st, 2010
9:27 am

I supported Mitt Romney in the beginning of the last election. My change in opinion did not come from him being Mormon but from learning of issues he had varying opinions on himself. My support went elsewhere when I learned the facts. Romney being Mormon had nothing to do with it, and I feel the liberal media was responsible for painting the picture that Repubs were not willing to accept him for that reason. I believe Repubs just found candidates they found more appealing. I supported Mike Huckabee myself and found his plan and view for our country to be excellent.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
9:27 am

jesus is probably the ultimate socialist! he took fishes and bread from another person and redistributed them to thousands; he did this at two different events. both times more than enough was gathered as left-overs. or maybe he is a conservative by eating and drinking with family and friends. or maybe a lib because he did ask the disciples to feed his sheep. or maybe a humanitarian who didn’t want the woman at the well to be stoned. or maybe a….

Call it like it is

September 1st, 2010
9:27 am

Call it like it is@9:21, Jesus Christ wasn’t born at the time that Leviticus refers to. Christ came to bring a New Covenant. Remember that part?

Okay, just want to make sure I read you right here. You are telling us that Jesus would be okay with homosexuality. Yes or No will be fine.

shoe-other_foot

September 1st, 2010
9:27 am

In the first couple of paragraphs, Tucker lumps Beck in with an historical “assortment of eccentrics” with “bizarre sentiments,” and calls Beck’s beliefs “pseudo-theology”

If Tucker is talking only about Beck’s oratory, fine, but her choice of words was broader than that.

Her own words seem rooted in the same “dismissal of religious beliefs” she says “has been a tactic of the religious right since the 1970s”

ctucker=hypocrite

September 1st, 2010
9:27 am

Cynthia, you are the hypocrite here, you are the one that wrote this article. Don’t try to hide behind people’s prejudice to Mitt Romney’s religion and say “they’re the one’s saying it, not me”. You are the one that wrote this article, take ownership of what you’re saying.

Art

September 1st, 2010
9:28 am

I had an opportunity to briefly speak to Mr Beck last year and found him to be warm and engaging. He won me over in that after telling him I was from Georgia, he said he was a big Dawg fan. I also should mention that I ran into a gentleman from Alabama after the meeting and we struck up a conversation about what we had just heard. When I asked what he thought of Beck, he stated: I like him alot. When I told him I was from Alabama, he said he was a huge Tide fan. I have since wondered how many school mascots are included in his vast vocabulary.

Boots

September 1st, 2010
9:28 am

Lincoln was not a church member and didn’t go to church, not that anyone cares.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
9:28 am

for all you people who hate gays and think gay marriage is icky: you do know that jesus only around twelve guys and never dated or had children… i’m just saying…

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
9:28 am

Georgian@9:27, Sadie Fields and a few other outspoken conservative Christians made it explicit that they would not support Romney because he was Mormon. The “liberal media” merely quoted Ms. Fields and her fellow travellers.

Russ

September 1st, 2010
9:28 am

Some one needs to ask Obama what does a Christian believe, and how did he become a Christian?

WAR

September 1st, 2010
9:29 am

everyone here knows that reagan didn’t attend church regularly either… just saying…

paulfromatlanta

September 1st, 2010
9:29 am

I don’t like Glenn Beck. I don’t support Glenn Beck. But this has to be one of the scummiest pieces by a “journalist” the AJC has ever published.

The Title implies the President isn’t a Christian. Then Tucker jumps immediately to a Hitler/anti-Semitism analogy. This is just really, really low class and the AJC should be ashamed.

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
9:30 am

ctucker=hypocrite@9:27, I’m owning every word. are you owning your inability to comprehend?

Danny Collins

September 1st, 2010
9:30 am

This is why we attack Glenn “Charles Manson” Beck: Sedition
Sedition is a term of law which refers to overt conduct, such as speech and organization (Tea Party, Beck giving out the home addresses of Democrats, and Limbaugh calling an Administration who won by 8 mil votes, a “regime,” intimating, “regime change”), that is deemed by the legal authority as tending toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Seditious words in writing are seditious libel. A seditionist is one who engages in or promotes the interests of sedition.

Typically, sedition is considered a subversive act, and the overt acts that may be prosecutable under sedition laws vary from one legal code to another. Where the history of these legal codes has been traced, there is also a record of the change in the definition of the elements constituting sedition at certain points in history. This overview has served to develop a sociological definition of sedition as well, within the study of state persecution.

The difference between sedition and treason consists primarily in the subjective ultimate object of the violation to the public peace. Sedition does not consist of levying war against a government nor of adhering to its enemies, giving enemies aid, and giving enemies comfort. Nor does it consist, in most representative democracies, of peaceful protest against a government, nor of attempting to change the government by democratic means (such as direct democracy or constitutional convention).

Sedition is the stirring up of rebellion against the government in power. (Tea party)Treason is the violation of allegiance to one’s sovereign or state, giving aid to enemies, or levying war against one’s state. Sedition is encouraging one’s fellow citizens to rebel against their state, whereas treason is actually betraying one’s country by aiding and abetting another state. Sedition laws somewhat equate to terrorism and public order laws.

ctucker=hypocrite

September 1st, 2010
9:30 am

You’re trying to paint other people of having religious bigotry with Mitt Romney when you clearly wrote an article with religious bigotry about Glenn Beck. Sorry but maybe you should listen to what I’m saying and admit that you’re a hypocrite.

Tech82

September 1st, 2010
9:31 am

gmaye @ 8:23 -
You rail on Beck for being undereducated yet your own post contains no fewer than five grammatical and spelling errors. My personal favorite was, “He attracts the undedcated who can not research for themself.”

You should consider spending a few hours in a classroom yourself before condemning another man’s education.

ctucker=hypocrite

September 1st, 2010
9:31 am

I comprehend exactly what you’re saying, thank you!

Georgian

September 1st, 2010
9:32 am

Cynthia,

I read the entire post not once but 3 times. I couldnt believe what I was reading.

How can you attack Beck for promoting Christian values, and tell people they cant question the beliefs and religion of the PRESIDENT! He works for US!!! His business is our business. He has no private areas. He took the job.

But you question and attack the belief and religion of Beck because he is Mormon. That has nothing to do with him promoting Christian values to be recognized by our nation.

k

September 1st, 2010
9:32 am

“It’s wrong for anyone to question anyone else’s religious beliefs. None of us is God.” The book say’s, “you will know them by their fruits” another words, if it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, it’s most likely a DUCK…. both claim to be Christian, but one walks like a morman, one quacks like a muslem. It IS for you to judge and see….

Some People are stupid

September 1st, 2010
9:32 am

ctucker=hypocrite wrote:
Who are you to speak of what Jesus Christ would tolerate?

While doing the same thing. The name should be
ctucker=hypocrite=hypocrite