Glenn's Beck and Call

All Things Examined

On the anniversary of the March on Washington, and standing within feet of where Dr. Martin Luther King shared his dream of a better, more just day, political commentator Glenn Beck announced, “America today begins to turn back to God.”

It was the launch of his “Restore Honor” rally.

Speaking to a crowd that extended from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, Beck urged: “Recognize your place to the Creator. Realize that he is our king. He is the one who guides and directs our life and protects us." Included were appeals for more prayer and for the restoration of traditional American values. All well and good.

Then, a few days later, Beck appeared on The O’Reilly Factor. When asked by host Bill O’Reilly why he steers away from cultural issues like abortion and gay “marriage,” Beck answered, "Honestly, I think we have bigger fish to fry," adding, "You can argue about abortion or gay marriage or whatever all you want. The country is burning down...I don't think marriage, that the government actually has anything to do with...that is a religious right."

Anyone see a disconnect?

To “turn back to God” is to place allegiance to our heavenly King before that due our earthly kings. It is to put the law of God above the law of man, including what his law says about the sanctity of life and the sacredness of marriage. Any “turn” failing to do so, is a turn of 360 degrees.

In the words of a hero

Martin Luther King is a personal hero of Beck, whom he is fond of quoting. In his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail, King gave three features of an “unjust law”: 1) it is manmade law that is out of harmony with the moral law of God, 2) it degrades the human personality, and 3) it is forced upon “on a minority that,,,had no part in enacting or devising [it].” All three apply to legalized abortion and gay “marriage.”

Both abortion and gay “marriage” are incongruent with the moral law of God: abortion because it is the taking of innocent life, prohibited by the Sixth Commandment; gay “marriage” because it is against the institution, divinely ordained, of marriage between one man and one woman.

Both degrade our humanness: the former because it deems the smallest and most powerless among us as unworthy of basic human rights; the latter because it presumes that man is a response-stimulus organism that has no choice but to act on its creaturely instincts.

Finally, and most disturbingly, both have been legalized without the consent of the governed. Abortion-on-demand was made the law of the land by the “robed masters” of the judiciary. The same is true in states where gay “marriage” has been made legal. But in every state where it has been put to popular vote, gay “marriage” has been roundly defeated. Currently, that’s 30 states and counting.

Broken legs and picked pockets

In his tete-a-tete with O’Reilly, Beck further explained his position, quoting another of his personal heroes, Thomas Jefferson: "If it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket, what difference is it to me?"

Beck is right. The legitimization of homosexual unions will not lead to broken legs; it will lead to something much worse: a chilling atmosphere for religious freedom.

In 2006, anti-discrimination laws in Massachusetts forced Catholic Charities to make a gut-wrenching choice: extend child adoption to gay couples or lose state funding. Rather than abandon its faith statement on sexual morality, Catholic Charities chose the latter. Sadly, the loss in funding forced them to give up their adoption services; but the real losers were the parentless children and childless couples of Massachusetts.

Recently, during the deliberations over the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, a group of chaplains warned legislators that if the policy is rescinded, “it is only a matter of time before homosexual couples request participation in the [military’s marriage counseling] program.” Which means that chaplains who refuse to counsel such couples, or who counsel them according to their religious convictions, will face "the risk of career-ending accusations of insubordination and discrimination."

Just a few months ago, an Augusta State University graduate student was directed to undergo “remediation” training, or face expulsion. Her offense? Stating her belief that homosexuality is a choice and that gender is not. Her training is to include gay sensitivity sessions, pro-gay literature reading, and participation(!) in the local Gay Pride parade. Her attorney called it a thought-reform program intended to “force her to change her beliefs.”

No, it is not leg-breaking, but thought-policing and religious persecution that loom if the institution of marriage is deconstructed and redefined.

As to picking our pockets, the biggest provider in the abortion industry, Planned Parenthood, receives nearly $350 million annually in federal money. Money picked from the pockets of taxpayers, Glenn Beck included.

What’s more, despite the claims of its supporters, Obamacare has gaping loopholes for abortion funding that Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and Maryland have made plans to exploit.

Regrettably, all this appears to have escaped Glenn Beck’s notice. More regrettably, Beck is not alone.

Change in strategy

With mid-term elections around the corner, some conservatives are backing off hot button social issues.

Republican governor Mitch Daniels has called for a truce on abortion. Mississippi Republican Haley Barbour counseled candidates to refrain from bringing up social issues in this election year. And in the aftermath of the recent overturning of California’s Proposition 8, GOP reaction has been strangely mute.

Conservative political analyst Larry Sabato puts his finger on what’s at play here: “A modern party does not want a campaign that’s built around a crusade on gay rights [or, presumably, other cultural issues, either]...it won’t work, for one thing, and for another, it’s so controversial that it would obscure the nonpartisan appeal of the economic issue.”

Still smarting from their past mistake of forgetting “It’s the economy, stupid!” conservatives are opting for winning elections over winning hearts, and turning to political wonks rather than turning back to God. But putting pragmatism over moral principle is the reason we have a financial crisis in the first place and why, as Glenn Beck puts it, “the country is burning down.”

If the strategy works, you can be sure that social issues will become less of an issue next time around, and less still the time after that, until they fail to register on the social conscience meter altogether. Conservatives may gain power, but they will lose their way and, in the end, we will all lose.

How soon the lessons of the past are forgotten.

The better course

On that sunny August day in 1963, Dr. King spoke out against such compromises: “This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy...Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children...”

In oratorical eloquence, King went on to explain the need for unwavering commitment to the cause of justice:

We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

King could have chosen the path of compromise and expediency, allowing civil rights to be placed on the political back burner in hopes of gaining wider political support. Had he done so, the strides made in racial equality and justice over the last forty years would have been much longer in coming. But he chose the better, surer course. He held the spotlight on the injustices of his day, while steadily pressing for the cause of civil rights.

In the socio-political climate of our day, we would do well to stand on his shoulders, applying his rousing rhetoric to the current situation:

  • We can never be satisfied as long as the abomination of abortion stains our social fabric.
  • We can never be satisfied as long as marriage is a contract between two people, regardless of sex, in force for as long as both shall love, instead of a vow, exclusive to one man and one woman, for as long as both shall live.
  • We can never be satisfied as long as the desires of adults for unfettered sexual expression take precedence over the needs of children for their biological parents.
  • We can never be satisfied as long as religious expression is suppressed and persecuted for the cause of political correctness.
  • We can never be satisfied as long as the law of man is out of harmony with the law of God.
  • No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

If that sense of dissatisfaction resonates with you, I invite you to join me and the nearly half million others who have signed The Manhattan Declaration and the growing numbers who have joined the Pray and Act initiative.

Regis Nicoll is a freelance writer and a BreakPoint Centurion. His "All Things Examined" column appears on BreakPoint every other Friday. Serving as a men’s ministry leader and worldview teacher in his community, Regis publishes a free weekly commentary to stimulate thought on current issues from a Christian perspective. To be placed on this free e-mail distribution list, e-mail him at centurion51@aol.com.

Articles on the BreakPoint website are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Chuck Colson or BreakPoint. Outside links are for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply endorsement of their content.


Glenn Beck
I have read and used several of Mr. Nicoll's material and have appreciated his insights. But Brian M. I have to disagree with one thing you said about the criticism of Beck. I watch Glenn often and Mr. Nicoll has expressed the same concerns I have about the issues Beck promotes. You are correct in that following someone who is a Mormon, (although his ties seem to be weak at best)for a Christian is definetly an unbiblical move because of the faulty gospel that Mormons teach.

However, what Beck promotes is more political than religious (as Nicoll points points out in the artical)and Beck's view that he does not care who you sleep with or that you can debate about abortion and still have God in the center of the argument denies some very fundamental issues of the faith that Beck claims to adhere to. I don't think Beck sees the problem with his views because as you have pointed out, he as a Mormon he does not know the true gospel.

Never-the-less I do think that Glenn is in many ways a reflection of the frustration many of us have had with the leadership in the country for many years, and if the church would wake up we could and should take advantage of the opening Beck is creating by calling everyone to have a personal relationship with Christ, which he often does.
Beck & Call
I think this is a great article and totally agree with the author regarding the social issues of our day. How can America become strong & well again? By truly turning to God, repenting of our ways, and uphold those things that are righteous in the sight of Almighty God. And do not be fooled, Mr. Beck happily marches all the way to the bank.
For the love of Beck!
It's not at all surprising to see would-be article writers talking negatively about what Glenn Beck is doing in and for this country. All of you who stand on your bully-pulpits know that you don't have what it takes to bring people's hearts and minds together like GB. I cried when I watched the program on 8/28 on television because I could feel what was happening. And Mr. Beck, a recovering alcoholic through changing his own life while we watch and asking us to be a part of it ("it" being a return to a place in our history when people trusted one-another and made business decisions with nothing more than a shake of the hand..)GB was just given an opportunity on Fox to tell whatever story he wanted to the world and whoever would listen. Glenn is bringing tears to the eyes of big 250 lb. guys like me, (50 years old) by asking us to look to God (whoever that may be) and we'll fin he's been there all along. The fact that you authors and you, Mr. Colson are sitting on your butts eating pop corn and expecting the donations to come pouring in, could get a little lesson on self-improvement of your own by really LISTENING to Mr. Beck, instead of just wishing you could do what he's been doing while a soul-hungry country looks on..
Glenn would love this discussion!
I think Glenn Beck would love to discuss this topic. I think it would make a great radio or TV show discussion. I don't think I've heard more calls to "read your Bible" and " Get on your knees and pray" from any other major television show host short of one that is openly Christian. Many people across the country are following this lead. I bet this would make a great discussion and encourage many in their application of Scripture to world view.
This is definitely a well written article, but Mr. Micoll, I would beg to differ on your criticism of Glenn Beck.

Glenn Beck is a mormon who obviously preaches a far different gospel than what the scriptures teach. Beck's worldview may somewhat be consistent with a Judeo-Christian worldview but to expect Beck to adhere to true, Orthodox, Evangelical worldview is a bit of mistake.

I can sense Beck's sincerity in his "Restoring Honor" rally but without the foundations of the true scriptures, should we expect more from Beck? My answer is a resounding "No". My take on his "Restoring Honor" rally is that we Evangelicals should capitalize on the momentum and begin the change ourselves - with Beck at our side or not. In the end, Beck is doing what Beck believes in - inconsistent it may seem - but at least he has the gumsion to go out there and tell people to return to our Creator.

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