Some More Glenn Beck Discussion

Glenn Beck is a regular topic of discussion on this blog (see here and here).  My reservations about Beck are numerous (both political, ideological, historical, and theological).  Recently, Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally has gained much attention.  Some have lauded Beck for showing courage to stand for America’s “founding values” and others have cautioned evangelicals to be careful with whom they partner (at this point the essay by Russell Moore is genuinely helpful).  Not only has Moore weighed in but Doug Wilson and Scot McKnight have offered some commentary on the situation.

One denominational side note that I found disappointing was the alliance of Richard Land (president of  SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) with Beck as part of his multi-faith “black-robed regiment.”

Outside of Moore, Robert Parham has proven to be the most helpful.  He not only provides insightful commentary about the dangers of civil religion and generic, theistic alliances, he does so with ample quotations from the actual event in question (“Restoring Honor” on August 28, 2010).

Fox News host Glenn Beck muddled biblical references with fragments of America history, recreating a pottage of civil religion that says America has a divine destiny and claiming that a national revival is beginning…

Beck said, “We can disagree on politics.  We can disagree on so much.  These men and women don’t agree on fundamentals.  They don’t agree on everything that every church teaches.  What they do agree on is that God is the answer.

It is insightful to note that the definitions of god provided by these various clerics are so broad that god is probably not even a sufficiently meaningful category.  Whose God?

No amount of Bible reading, sermons masquerading as prayers and Christian hymns can cover up Beck’s civil religion that slides back and forth between the Bible and nationalism, between authentic faith and patriotic religion.

He treats the “American scripture”—such as the Gettysburg Address—as if it bears the same revelatory weight as Christian Scripture.

What is important to Beck is belief in God—God generically—not a specific understanding of God revealed in the Biblical witness, but God who appears in nature and from which one draws universal truths.

Not surprisingly, Beck only uses the Bible to point toward the idea of a God-generic…

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One thought on “Some More Glenn Beck Discussion”

  1. Good thoughts – I read this article from the Denver Post (interestingly via the Washington Post) that offered a unique insight as well:

    Rather than fire-and-brimstone, Beck offered up more of a soft-focus religion, divorced from specific points of doctrine. This was new-agey spirituality as self-help, fortified by a hefty dose of patriotism garbed in religious imagery.

    There is every reason to think this is the thinnest veneer of tolerance: fresh from the rally, Beck was back to dismissing President Obama’s religious views. “People aren’t recognizing his version of Christianity,” Beck told Fox News’ Chris Wallace. This would be insulting from any leader, but it is particularly galling coming from Beck, whose own faith – Mormonism – is viewed as a suspicious cult by some Christian leaders.

    Read more: Marcus: Glenn Beck’s gathering like a church revival – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_15964287#ixzz0z3a9rFBa

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