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

barking frog

September 1st, 2010
10:07 am

Elections are completely about judgments. We
select government leaders based on everything
about them. If you don’t want to be judged don’t
enter politics. All beliefs, actions,appearances,
history, and predictions are subject to intense
scrutiny, and rightfully so.

CYNT U MUST KEEP UR JOB

September 1st, 2010
10:07 am

GLEN BECK IS A ATHEIST!

granny godzilla

September 1st, 2010
10:07 am

kayaker 71

85000

get real

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

September 1st, 2010
10:08 am

Enter your comments hereHistory Lesson maybe 1 in 10,000 know…..

Watch and learn the facts!

www . youtube.com/watch?v=dlfEdJNn15E

Delete the spaces1

retired early

September 1st, 2010
10:08 am

I am a non-believer. I wish more non-believers would “come out of the closet”, but I understand; growing up in rural Ga, you would do just as well if you were from outer space as to not be a “Protestant”.
Talk about intolerance. Give me a break. I had more compassion as a 13 year old that I ever saw in the Christian community. I have to say, to be fair, met some wonderful people who professed to be Christians and I was impressed by how they lived their lives; most of them… though not all…did not attend church regularly. I found that very interesting. It would be a wonderful world indeed if humans would accept their place in the animal kingdom and quit believing they are so special they are going to survive death and live forever. If you recognize the fact that you’ve got this “ONE LIFE” without the “PROMISE” of life after death, you may find you will not take this one for granted,or this earth for that matter. Look at those idiots who blow themselves up for 72 virgins . I always wonder; those 72 women must be what, in Hell. People, please GROW UP. Oh and by the way, there is no EASTER BUNNY EITHER !!!

LeeH1

September 1st, 2010
10:08 am

Glen Beck was raised a Roman Catholic. He evidently divorced his first wife because she got sick (so much for “in sickness and in health”). Geln Beck used dope and booze.

If this is the face of the Tea Party, the Democrats and any other americans have nothing to fear. Only the Republicans, who face the departure of their crazy wing, may lose.

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

September 1st, 2010
10:08 am

History Lesson maybe 1 in 10,000 know…..

Watch and learn the facts!

www . youtube.com/watch?v=dlfEdJNn15E

Delete the spaces1

Chris D.

September 1st, 2010
10:09 am

Ms. Tucker, Your entire article confuses me…You stated: “Moreover, he’s an odd spokesman for conservative Christianity, since he’s Mormon” Mormans ARE Christians! Their official name is “The church of Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ”.

Union

September 1st, 2010
10:09 am

granny.. ctucker needs you.. she is angry..

war.. i am going off of facts.. in california 80% of blacks opposed gay marriage.. while only 50% of whites did..

STONE COLD REALITY

September 1st, 2010
10:10 am

HDB…why put your worth or value in what others say or do. If AMERICA…which is exactly who??….claims its sins…what will that change? If Obama crys that America is racist and should be damned to hell for its sins, will that assuage your anger? You must let go of your anger to move forward. Don’t forget, never forget, your ancestors paid too steep a price….sacrificed much too much for that. But make them proud for being the man you CAN be, be a catalyst for liberty and freedom of ALL men, not an adjudicator for the descendants of the sinful. We can all move forward together or fight each other for our version of the past. Its our choice.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
10:11 am

kayaker71
i remember when people said a black president would never be elected in anyone’s lifetime… same thing about a catholic and actor turned governor… guess no women, hispanic, or jews either, huh? just asking…

Tommy

September 1st, 2010
10:11 am

CTucker,
With all of the unemployed and homeless people in Atlanta how do you have a job?

I know Beck is Mormon because he has made that statement. But what is Obama? In the interview last week with Brian Williams he failed to do so when confronted with the question about his birth place and 1/5th of Americans believing he is a Muslim?

Obama laughed it off and said “what do you want me to do wear my birth record plastered to my forehead”. Never once did he say I am not a Muslim or in deed I am a Christian. Why? Is he ashamed that out of all of the churches in Chicago he could have gone to his picked Wrights church? The man who preaches hate, preaches racism, preaches anti-America, shall I go on….

NO Obama sit there and laughed. So I have no idea what the man believes. I do know what Beck believes because he is not afraid to tell everyone. I feel obama is either ashamed or a Muslim. I tend to believe the later.

clintcastleberry

September 1st, 2010
10:12 am

Billybob at 9:54am: Sure am glad you were not around when Jefferson was writing his own version of the Bible and taking out all the miracles (said he couldn’t believe in them), or when our UNITARIAN Second Pres., John Adams, signed the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797 (”As the gov’t of the United States of America was not, in any sense, founded upon the Christian religion”).

And you would have a stroke if Pres. Obama said anything like these three men did:

“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.” – Ben Franklin.

“The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession.” – Abraham Lincoln.

“I DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST, and there are other postulates of the Orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe.” – Wm. Howard Taft, 27th Pres. of the U.S. and CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT.

MarkRH

September 1st, 2010
10:12 am

Mormons like Glenn Beck can believe what they wish, but they cannot change what “Christian” means, and “Christians” do not have to accept Mormons as “Christians” just because Mormons call themselves by that name. It is like calling the beverage in front of you “beer” if it contains anything other than water, malted barley, and hops.

Mormons are not “Christian” because they believe there is more sacred text than the accepted “Christian” Bible, and have different beliefs. For instance “Christians” believe that Jesus will only return to earth at the second coming. Mormons believe He already returned to earth in upstate NY as told in the Book of Mormon.

For those who think this is minor quibbling between believers, change the defining word in question to a name you feel strongly about, such as “teacher”, “doctor”, “engineer”, “veteran”, “realtor”, “black”, or even “Jew” or “Muslim”, and you’ll likewise want the correct definition used and its usage to conform to that definition.

Nazan Yar

September 1st, 2010
10:12 am

Missing the Point, I am interested in what your contention is. I’m not convinced that judging a person and knowing what is in a person’s heart are related. If judging a person’s apparent beliefs is the same as questioning, refining, helping, and at the same time refining your own beliefs, what is wrong with that? The Bible (Matthew, Psalms, Romans, Colossians) refers several times to sharpening one another in love.

Union

September 1st, 2010
10:13 am

granny.. nbc said 300k.. everyone but cbs pretty much stated that number.. is that your source for the 80k?

JD

September 1st, 2010
10:13 am

The messenger in this case is the problem! I can remember about ten years ago I had Beck on the radio on my way home from work—-he made sence then, but now he spews his division of hate to keep his rating up and conservitives suck it up like pulled pork at a BBQ. Beck is using the conseritives and they aren’t even smart to know it. It’s almost like the Civil War all over again but with out guns—-at least not for now. So now the drug/alcohol abuser is a Al Sharpten self appointed chrisian leader for the sheep of the Christian far right. Don’t get wrong, not all Christians are on the far right but you know the old saying about the squeeking wheel. This type of behavior is over the top and is, to use a tired saying, un-American, let alone disstrutive. Now more then ever, we as a nation need to pull together to get past our economic problems not create more!!!

White Man

September 1st, 2010
10:13 am

As Christians shouldnt we love all men and women. We may not approve of their acts but we should love the person.

The Devil Watches

September 1st, 2010
10:13 am

I love it!! Christians all fighting, and throw in lots of racisim in the mix too. Why the Atheist movement is growing because of all the crap above and below. Christians keep things segregated and blame other people for problems. The Native Americans didn’t get a chance before the Christians came a killed them for not converting. Fight On Christians I Love It!

WAR

September 1st, 2010
10:14 am

white man
again it is much less to do with the person and more to do with the act. in the black community homosexuality is taboo because it will open other taboo conversations. interesting assumption, however, my white friends–libs and conserves–don’t really like talking about homosexuality either. SEC football on the other hand always makes for good conversation!

1ProudVet

September 1st, 2010
10:14 am

It sounds to me like Americans on the Right confuse being “Christian” with being “white.” I wonder where they got that from? Oh, right, the KKK.

White Man

September 1st, 2010
10:15 am

I would always rather talk SEC Football than sexuality. Unless I am talking to a 5′9″ blonde hair, blue eyed 110lb cheerleader!

snafu

September 1st, 2010
10:16 am

1ProudNUT..

Were you there when Jeebus supposedly spoke those words. It goes to show how f ing stupid these people are. These people are quoted the book of fairy tales like they were there and that no one can refute the BS in that lying book.

White Man

September 1st, 2010
10:16 am

1ProudVet….why do you have to make it a racial issue? Old old old

Gator Joe

September 1st, 2010
10:17 am

Cynthia,
What is most troubling about the Beck phenomenon is that he has followers; followers who mindlessly listen to his hateful, hate-filled rhetoric. This latest stunt is a shrewd response to, and an attempt to change public opinion, of what most rational Americans see as an incresingly out of the mainstream, often racist, intentionally divisive movement.
By the way, if Beck and his followers manage to “take back” our country, they will take only a part. The remainder will remain as it was intended, a place of tolerance, of compassion, of personal and religious freedom, of equal opportunity for all regardless of color, race or creed.

White Man

September 1st, 2010
10:17 am

It always amazes me to see the amount of ignorance and stupidity that exists in our society.

middler and so tired of all the rhetoric :

September 1st, 2010
10:18 am

For a county founded on religious freedom and tolerance of all beliefs we have an awful lot of people making money and exerting influence by denigrating other’s beliefs and questioning other’s private faith. Our president’s religion or lack of one really doesn’t matter. It’s what he does for the country. And right now religion, ethnicity, political ideology are being used to thwart any efforts our current president makes to fix this country’s ills. I don’t remember Beck or any of these other loudmouth bullies doing a lot positive during the Bush tenure. No one is saying they have to believe or act differently. But their visibility lets them control much of the national legislature and prevent any progress to help the majority of us. One day all of them will have to face God one-to-one and be held accountable for their actions. Just like the rest of us.

Jeff

September 1st, 2010
10:18 am

Cynthia, you are SUCH a hypocrite! You said “JT@8:48, Most of your “facts” are wrong. And you have no business questioning anyone else’s religious beliefs.”

Yet you and thousands of other hard-core liberals love to criticize, chastise, make fun of, demean and scoff at anyone who claims to be a conservative Christian. I have read on this very blog where you rip into anyone who believes differently than you, questioning their morals, character, faith, political affiliation and reasons for believing what they do.

I don’t know the ultimate end of Glenn Beck’s soul, and neither do you… nor do I know the ultimate end to ANYONE’S soul. But I do know this: Glenn Beck is one of the smartest, most decent, most God-fearing, most patriotic people in America. His urging and pleading that we as a NATION, and every individual, get BACK to our country’s roots, which is based on faith, hope, and charity (and small government, might I add) is a welcome breath of fresh air.

Anyone who would criticize this man’s passion for wanting the United States to get back to a strong, secure, upright and moral nation, based on Judeo-Christian beliefs and a democratic republic form of government and a free-market, capitalist-based economy, is a buffoon.

Tucker, you and your ilk have tried to convince America for 40 years that the most important things in life are social justice, that nobody ever be poor, that nobody ever face consequences for their action, and that we as America should adapt to the rest of the world so they “like” us better. I say you’re through — a new generation of Americans is finally speaking out, one that believes in faith, hard work, high moral standards, conservative fiscal policies, a strong military, and a committment by people to help other people WITHOUT relying on government.

Glenn Beck isn’t perfect, nobody is… but thank GOD somebody is willing to stand up and say to America “Get back to our roots, people… help each other, love each other, get your own house in order and seek wise counsel.” Enough finger pointing, chest beating, liberal mamby-pamby-handouts and decisions made for political gain… the time is now for America to finally ask “God, what direction do YOU want our country to go?” Only THEN will America prosper once again.

I Will Make Georgia Howl

September 1st, 2010
10:19 am

Here we go again with the right’s distraction tactics. Instead of focusing on the economy and terrorist threats, the conservatives are trying to distract America and its leaders with fear mongering. Why focus on improving our country and economy when our President is a “muslim” or there will be a mosque built in Manhattan? (It reeks of Defense of Marriage and WMDs of the Bush/Rove era). This country needs to stay focused on the economy, the REAL terrorist threat, and promoting peace and human rights in the world.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
10:20 am

as one of my “im a southerner not a redneck” friends put it: i can work with mormon and live in the same neighborhood with a mormon. but i can’t vote for a mormon.

he said the same thing about a black man too.

kayaker 71

September 1st, 2010
10:20 am

Being black was the only reason why Bozo was elected. If he had been white, he would not have had a chance and you know it. Someone with his liberal views and being a white man, would have not have gotten off the ground. Democrats are not stupid. A bit misguided, but not stupid. They knew a good thing when they saw him speaking at the Demo convention in 2004. Either party would run Donald Duck if he was electable and if you don’t know that, you are very misinformed. No matter that he an empty suit with little to no substance, an arrogant liar with absolutely no experience in running this country, surrounding himself with surrogates that don’t know much more than the does. Do you think that either party will take a chance on a black man/woman as a presidential candidate anytime in the next few years? Do you see any on the horizon which might appeal to the electorate? I don’t either.

A "Voice"

September 1st, 2010
10:21 am

ML, September 1st, 2010, 9:52 am — “the greedy rich” as you called them are not just republicans. There are “greedy rich” democrats, too. I would venture to say that the “greedy rich” contribute more to charitable causes than you would ever admit. The “greedy rich” also includes all those liberal Hollywood types, those NFL football players, NBA basketball players, etc. “The greedy rich” represent many facets of religions and non-religious groups. All throughout the history of the world, there have always been those who are willing and motivated to move up the financial ladder, those who are happy being middle class and those who no matter what will never be more than what they are regardless of how much they are given.

barking frog

September 1st, 2010
10:21 am

How many christians do you think there would
be if St. Paul hadn’t convinced St. Peter that
gentiles could be spiritual jews without being
circumcised ?

Dirty Dawg

September 1st, 2010
10:22 am

granny godzilla’s right, Glenn Beck is exactly as Andy Griffith’s character in ‘A Face In The Crowd’ – it’s the reason Keith Olbermann calls him ‘Lonesome Rhodes’ Beck. The scary thing is that it’s so damned true. I don’t know if the posters here that support this nincompoop are making the kool-aid or just drinking it…God help us, and you, if you’re doing both cause if you succeed it’ll mean the end of whatever good this country was supposed to stand for. The right-wing machine – greedy billionaires financing a psychopathic process for ‘herding sheep’ to the slaughter – may indeed pull off a majority in the Congress come this November, but after November comes January and the results of that vote will begin to be realized. It’ll be doomsday for us all, only the kool-aiders won’t ever admit it…that’s the truly scary part. You’ll go along with this mess, acting against your own self interest because your hate and prejudice will be driving your every thought and deed, what a pathetic way to live. I pity you.

Jason

September 1st, 2010
10:23 am

I didn’t know this many Prophets read the AJC.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
10:23 am

white man
i agree this issue is not about race. sometimes i like beck. sometimes i don’t. sometimes i like sharpton. sometimes i don’t. sometimes i feel like a nut. sometimes i don’t.

Alabama will win back to back!

Martin Luther

September 1st, 2010
10:24 am

Neither Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses are Christians, regardless of what they call themselves.

Union

September 1st, 2010
10:24 am

Jeff

September 1st, 2010
10:25 am

Gator Joe: you said “What is most troubling about the Beck phenomenon is that he has followers; followers who mindlessly listen to his hateful, hate-filled rhetoric.”

I suppose the rants and raves and diatribe by the Sharptons, Bidens, Jacksons, Clintons, Obamas, Deans, Reids, Pelosis, Gores and Kerrys over the last 10-20 years haven’t bothered you at all….

Liberalism hates anything Christian, anything conservative, anything moral, anything where you have to say “no” or “you shouldn’t” or “that’s not the government’s place.” I have been absolutely blasted by liberals for being an “idiot”, yet I’m a college-educated American who owns a nice home, donates money and time to charity, and helps support my family and older relatives.

Don’t throw stones, Gator Joe… ask these millions of idiot Americans who BLINDLY followed Obama and drove him to office in 2008 ONLY BASED ON HIS COLOR AND/OR HIS RHETORIC… he has no significant political background to speak of and he was a one-term junior senator for cryin’ out loud… he was not and is not qualified to be president, but he was a dang rock star to you libs. You blindly follow ANYTHING that man says and NEVER criticize him… he’s the sacred cow to those on the left.

Again, the hypocricy of the left amazes me….

You all have a wonderful day.

White Man

September 1st, 2010
10:26 am

I agree with you about Beck….I agree with you about Alabama (even though I am a die hard Georgia fan). I couldnt disagree with you more about Sharpton.

Hellavuengineer

September 1st, 2010
10:26 am

Hmm, don’t look at any facts Cynthia. Just play on the emotion.

You do the same things that you accuse Beck of doing. Siting others of questioning his Christianity, but you demonize him for it.

Why not ask the question. Beck believes Obama is not a christian because he believes in collective salvation. If this is truly an “ugly attack”, and “rancid dismissal of the religious beliefs” it should be easy to show. Why not site sources and facts that would show that this is a mainstream christian belief. Hmm maybe you can’t

Instead you site sources that coudl also be construed as ugly attacks and rancid dismissal of the religious beliefs. Seems that you don’t have much more morality than you claim Beck does.

This is a prime example of why I don’t buy the AJC anymore.

g rob

September 1st, 2010
10:27 am

No one has the right to challenge ones religion…you should be ashamed for writing such an article and the AJC should not have allowed the article to be published! Religion is ones own choice….

WAR

September 1st, 2010
10:28 am

kayaker71
the only people regretting an elected black man is the republican party with steele. your post is to make his presidency illegitimate and that is not fair. that is like saying blacks don’t vote republican or whites are conservative or democrats don’t pray… you are not making any sense today and you usually have some pretty good things to say. maybe someone name-jacked you.

Jesus following liberal

September 1st, 2010
10:29 am

Jesus: the most famous liberal of all time. Remember, feed my sheep.

WAR

September 1st, 2010
10:33 am

jeff
the same thing could be said about bush 2 who ruined a baseball team, did drugs, graduated from an ivy league college and couldn’t really put a coherent word together. for whatever reason bush 2 or obama were elected isn’t the issue. can we as Americans support the president even if we don’t like him personally or politically. i say yes. that doesn’t mean we believe everything they say (although i did believe the WMD), but it does mean that we believe in them. Americans follow their commander-in-chief no matter what. isn’t that what makes us exceptional?

Paul

September 1st, 2010
10:33 am

I would submit that Glenn Beck is more of a Christian than either the (Rev?) Jesse Jackson or the (Rev?) Al Sharpton. I’m still trying to find out what church they are affiliated with.

granny godzilla

September 1st, 2010
10:33 am

Union

The Washington DC Fire Dept. and a crowd estimate commissioned by CBS news using DOD technology.

blackbird13

September 1st, 2010
10:34 am

“Believe it or not we ARE a Christian country.”

Speak for yourself, white man. The Constitution says nothing about the U.S. being a Christian country. If you mean it’s because the majority count themselves Christians (though their actions may be otherwise), let me ask you this.The majority of the people in this country once believed miscegenation should be illegal, and not that long ago. I’d wager a majority of them were Christians and cited religion as reason for their opposition. Since many of these people are still alive, why the hell would we won’t to lay claim to the moniker “Christian country” when so many morons have called themselves that? The idea that conservative Christians are bumpkins didn’t get made up out of whole cloth; they have offered plenty of evidence for it.

snafu

September 1st, 2010
10:35 am

Well, Joe.Bush was not qualified either. A failed Governor and business person and proof in 8 years fo installments. I guess Palin was more qualified right? SHE QUITTED! Oh..wait I am sure you will refudiate this..LMAO

Paul

September 1st, 2010
10:36 am

Cynthia would you be denouncing Glenn Beck if he was black?