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

Jason

September 1st, 2010
9:32 am

I love when religious people channel their deity’s assumed views like they have any legitimate platform to speak on their behalf. If God talks to you the world needs to know!!!! That means you’re a Prophet and shouldn’t be working at the AJC, there’s bigger fish to fry!!!! Otherwise, zip it on His behalf.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
9:32 am

russ
no christian asks other christians what does a christian believe and how they become one. that doesn’t sound christian like. just saying…

lmno

September 1st, 2010
9:32 am

Alcoholics Anonymous is a cult. Type the words AA and Cult into Google and see what you get.

Beck is spewing their message to the masses.

stw

September 1st, 2010
9:33 am

CT: Damn, are you our messiah or is it Obama ?

Georgian

September 1st, 2010
9:34 am

Cynthia,

So there are not a few “liberals” out there that have made those types of statements that the MAJORITY did not agree or base their opinion on?

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
9:34 am

Georgian@9:32, If you read the post three times, what did I say about Mitt Romney?

Some People are stupid

September 1st, 2010
9:35 am

Im confused, how does he quack like a muslim?

Jimnalph

September 1st, 2010
9:35 am

So let me get this straight- you are saying that Beck, who goes out and publicly affirms and promotes Christianity and God etc, which is exactly what the Bible says to do, is not or may not be a Christian, but Obama, who says he is a Christian, but otherwise does nothing to support that statement, and in fact is at least an accessory to promoting Islam is a Christian? Hv you been to church lately? When was the last time you went to a Bible school class? Me thinks you really don’t know what you are talking about.

ctucker=hypocrite

September 1st, 2010
9:36 am

@Some People are stupid, when did I ever claim what Jesus would tolerate?

Really??

September 1st, 2010
9:36 am

Still waiting to see how he is promoting Islam

Robert

September 1st, 2010
9:36 am

Cynthia, If Jesus Christ came down from Heaven and gave a sermon, since he was White, you would have a negative article in your rag paper the next day.

ctucker=hypocrite

September 1st, 2010
9:36 am

I was only responding to Cynthia’s claim

Haters are many

September 1st, 2010
9:37 am

Typical AJC far left hate column ……… Yet another hypocritical, one sided smear column famous to the AJC ………… How about posting some of the pictures of the HUNDREDS OF THOUSAND people from ALL religions that were at the rally ??? Too funny to see all of the time and effort put in by the left wing media to attempt to slow the momentum of this movement ….. Heck, there were more people at the 1 day event, than there are viewers of of the left wing news media AND AJC.COM muster up in a week !!

HA HA ……….. Catch the movement Cynthia and AJC, you can’t stop it cause you don’t have enough supporters !!

Sara

September 1st, 2010
9:37 am

@Union with all due respect, Jesus contradicted the OT ways on more than one occasion (hence that New Covenant to which Cynthia referred). The most obvious example is moving from the OT “eye for an eye” philosophy to the NT “turn the other cheek.” There is no guarantee that just because something was printed in the OT it means that Christ believed it/promoted it. Better to examine the evidence you know you have, which is that Christ was about helping his fellow man, being compassionate and caring, not judging others, and loving everyone despite their failings.

Longboarder

September 1st, 2010
9:37 am

Cynthia, I didn’t see the M. McConnell interview but based on your comments I can’t really see anything wrong with what he said. Are you suggesting that he should have somehow guaranteed/confirmed that Obama is a Christian? I think it would be very presumptuous for anyone except Obama’s closest friends/family to make a stronger statement than McConnell made. Stating “I know he is a Christian” isn’t really any different than stating “I know he isn’t a Christian”.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
9:37 am

my church is predominantly white. i left a predominantly black church. the only difference between them is location. in this case, race is much ado about nothing; so is beck’s mormonism. what is important is that the president has the support he needs to turn this country around.

STONE COLD REALITY

September 1st, 2010
9:37 am

Thats right HDB, keep preaching victimization. Thats REALLY going to help the black community. Of all the racial groups in this country are there any other than the black community who don’t see America for what it is and that is the ONLY place in the world where you have a CHANCE to become wealthy through hard work and determination. You CAN change your class here unlike virtually every other country in the world. Ameriaca has her faults, her scars, sins and demons but the sooner you quit crying about how your descendents were wronged and VOW to avenge them by bettering yourelf for yourself and your children and your grandchildren the better off WE ALL WILL BE!! Rev. Wright, Sharpton, Jackson? They still bathe in the riches derived from hatred and racial dysfunction….do yourself a favor, towel off and reach for God and the truth, lace up your work boots and go create your future instead of waiting for todays hucksters to give you your cup of government gruel. You deserve better and your descendents sacrificed for you to have this opportunity….TAKE IT!!

Fools one and all

Un-real

September 1st, 2010
9:38 am

Mrs Tucker, please don’t waste your time trying to explain logic, ideas and common sense to some of the people on this post. No matter how right you are about what you have to say, they will always find a way to justify their hatred … You are a talented writer and you have appeared on television shows to explain your thoughts, most of the people here are hiding behind the bogus name they post under.

DAWGFAN 86

September 1st, 2010
9:39 am

CT, you couldn’t out-smart your own common sense because you are a moron and a racist! Black people who think like you are racist as well. Instead of waiting around with your hands held out for uncle sam to GIVE YOU SOMETHING, how about you put a shovel in it and DO SOME WORK!

Look up blacks who support bailouts in the dictionary and you will see a picture of CT and all her supporters which make up a few drug dealers, drop outs, and lazy people who wouldn’t know how to EARN a paycheck if moses showed them the way!!!!

blackbird13

September 1st, 2010
9:39 am

“but didnt god say something about homosexuality..”

Really? Just what kind of voice did he/she have? Was it a rich baritone like Orson Welles’s or a sultry siren call ala Marlene Dietrich? Perhaps you were implying he/she wrote it. How was the penmanship? Leaving aside the question of the existence of a God at all, there is ZERO proof that he/she said anything , anytime, any place.

snafu

September 1st, 2010
9:39 am

Oh boy here we go..the article is about BECK but I’ll be damned if these yahoos dont bring up OBAMA! BECK is an idiot, a clown, liar and dishonest…LMAO. The religious nutjobs are out in force to defend their fairy.

White Man

September 1st, 2010
9:39 am

Yes, Glen Beck is outlandish. Yes, he says that offend miniorities and muslim religions. Yes, he can be over the top.

HOWEVER….YES, he says things that others are scared to say. YES, the majority of what he says is true. YES, he is a christian.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
9:40 am

jim
christians don’t have to make an announcement. believe it or not–he is president before he is christian.

Zach

September 1st, 2010
9:40 am

Articles like this are the reason why people don’t read the AJC

Jesuswaswhite?

September 1st, 2010
9:41 am

Really? I always thought that since he was born and raised in the Holy Land he was more Jewish, not Caucasian.

White Man

September 1st, 2010
9:41 am

WAR…your comment is hilarious. He is a Christian before he is Christian is more correct.

Libertarian

September 1st, 2010
9:42 am

Wow CT…two columns this week bashing Beck. He really ticked you off with that MLK day rally, huh?

snafu

September 1st, 2010
9:42 am

Blackbird13..LMAO..high five. Maybe its Barry White! But you know those voices they hear are really the pimps of piety channeling their subliminal messaging so they can part with their almighty greenbacks. Idiots and hypocrites at the same time..geez!

J. Kase

September 1st, 2010
9:42 am

Was always told that religion, politics, and race should never be discussed amongst friends. Now I know why.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
9:42 am

stone cold reality
i applaud your post. it neglects some sensitive issues, but in this case, your point is made without mentioning them.

hatin' on the stupid

September 1st, 2010
9:42 am

When Beck starts practicing what he preaches and refuses to cast the first stone, I might take his new-found piousness seriously. Interesting that someone like him, who slings slanderous lies daily, would lecture us on reforming America. He and those like him are what is poisoning America. ” Get the mote out of your own eye.”

handout

September 1st, 2010
9:43 am

Yeah just like most Dawg fans are illiterate, inbred, halfwits. Yay name calling is fun!

ctucker

September 1st, 2010
9:43 am

Longboarder@9:37, I think you know perfectly well that the question that McConnell was asked had nothing to do with Obama’s morality or whether he genuinely lives by Christ’s precepts. The question was about religious identity: Christian or Muslim. After the Jeremiah Wright controversy, McConnell knows perfectly well that Obama identifies himself as a Christian.

White Man

September 1st, 2010
9:44 am

It is funny how most in this chat room slam the right and idealogs likes Glen Beck. But wait to see what happens in the November elections and lets have a blog in December.
haha

WAR

September 1st, 2010
9:44 am

whiteman
he has to be America’s president before he can be a christian president. but you understood that i know.

JohnnyReb

September 1st, 2010
9:44 am

American by birth, Southern by the grace of God, and grew up in a baptist church where no one ever belittled another man’s religion. Some of the best friends in my life are Jews, Mormons, and Catholics. The salt of the earth, no better men walk the earth. The only religion to fear is one that has a death wish at it’s center, or for you deniers, radicals who have a death wish. I am my father’s son, for Obama to be any different would be a divine miracle, and there has not been any of those for a very, very long time.

MiltonMan

September 1st, 2010
9:44 am

Liberals stating that Jesus was a Liberal??? Liberals do not quite understand the defintion of ignorance. When was Jesus every mentioned in the bible supporting abortion, euthanasia/suicide, global warming, handing more power over to a centralized government, eminent domain, etc. etc.?

White Man

September 1st, 2010
9:44 am

ctucker…..You think Jeremiah Wright is a Christian?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Jethro

September 1st, 2010
9:45 am

Where is Vince McMahon when you need him? “No! He didn’t just do that! A chair to the back of the head while he was praying! What a slobberknocker!”

I feel your pain, CT.

Union

September 1st, 2010
9:45 am

@ sara – thank you. like i said.. i am not one to talk about what others believe.. i appreciate the clarity of your comments.

Nazan Yar

September 1st, 2010
9:46 am

ctucker=hypocrite, The way you present your arguments, it is difficult to defend you. You might want to take a look at the blog on “Hitchens, Harris, and the Need for Some Gentle Instruction” at:

www (dot) runawayplanet (dot) com

White Man

September 1st, 2010
9:46 am

WAR…I mistyped my statement. He is a Christian first then he is the American President. However his Christian beliefs should be reflected in his actions and they are not. Believe it or not we ARE a Christian country.

JT

September 1st, 2010
9:47 am

Congrats CT. Opinion pieces are supposed to stir debate and you certainly have managed to do that with this piece.

Jason

September 1st, 2010
9:47 am

I love it, a Holier than Thou War has broken out. Isn’t there something in the Books about that too?

Comprende?

Paleman

September 1st, 2010
9:47 am

Everyone knows the white man is so beat down and so downtrodden that it’s only a matter of time before he explodes. Oh wait I think you’re forgetting the last 500+ years of white imperialism and oppression of other ethnic groups. Or perhaps you’re fearful that once you aren’t the majority you will receive the same treatment you so graciously gave others. The golden rule gone all ape-sh*t on your ass lol

1ProudVet

September 1st, 2010
9:47 am

Cynthia, you’re a great draw for the “terrorist” Christian. Let me speak from the Bible to these folks about their “precious” American “values”

Jesus was talking to White “Christian” America when he said:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
9:48 am

whiteman
november will not be any different than past elections. the reall challenge is what will happen in january when the chatter is over and people actually have to do some work. do you really think things will change if republicans regain the house and/or senate? i didn’t think that when the president got in office. if the repubs take over it will be business as usual just like when the dems have control.

Union

September 1st, 2010
9:48 am

this is kind of funny.. not too often you see the editor of a newspaper insult their readers for disagreeing with them.

Andrew

September 1st, 2010
9:48 am

HDB:

Thank you for posting the relevant part of the sermon. I had read this and several of his sermons in their entirety back before the election because I wanted to understand his theology in total, not in sound bites. And, to understand better the concept of black liberation theology after the Rev.’s appearance at the National Press Club, I did further research to understand its history and progeny. In my humble opinion, I believe that most who profess to be Christian would not recognize or subscribe to the black liberation beliefs as espoused by Rev. Wright. That was the specific nature of my comment. That is neither a smear nor an ugly statement. It is an opinion I hold. It is an opinion Beck holds. It is likely an opinion that many professed Christians would hold if asked.

White Man

September 1st, 2010
9:48 am

Paleman, that is hilarious. Your IQ is obviously well above everyone else on the board hahaha. Great.