So, Glenn Beck held a rally in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.
As President Obama rightly said, “As an American citizen, he’s got that right.”
But I’m wondering, “What did it accomplish?”
Beck is a popular TV and radio personality. He has published several books, some of which have become best-sellers.
So what did he do or say on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that were important enough to stage such a rally?
I am very familiar with the speech Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made on those same steps on August 28, 1963. It was hopeful. It was forceful. It was inspiring.
But for a man who built his career on sound-bites, I can’t find a single quote from Beck’s rally that I believe will live beyond this current news cycle. Here's one, spoken to the largely-white crowd:
"We are the people of the civil rights movement. We are the ones that must stand for civil and equal rights, justice, equal justice. Not special justice, not social justice. We are the inheritors and protectors of the civil rights movement. They are perverting it."
Are you kidding me? Is that the best you’ve got?
News reports indicated that “thousands”, or “tens of thousands”, or “hundreds of thousands” – maybe even 500,000 – people attended the rally.
Giving him the benefit of the doubt, let’s say the number was 500,000. And let’s say he has 3 million viewers. Break that down into percentages and that would be like if I held a Revival at my church and only six people showed up!
Better yet, compare Beck’s rally attendance to the numbers of his arch-nemesis – 2 million people turned out for President Obama’s inauguration!
Beck said he wanted to honor the troops. But did he? Did he mention the fact that the President has declared an end to the combat mission in Iraq?
One of Obama’s campaign promises fulfilled, by the way!
Wait... what about this?
Nope, that was from a rally back in February.
Okay, but Sarah Palin honored the troops in her speech. She bragged about raising a military son.
God bless America!
Which brings me to another question: Does Glenn Beck really think he is the new Messiah who is going to lead this country back to God?
Has anyone checked his creds? The dude is Mormon!
If you remember, just a couple years ago Mitt Romney was turned down as a Republican presidential contender because he is Mormon.
It wasn’t long before that when the Southern Baptist Convention targeted Mormons in a concerted effort to convert them.
I find it ironic that Liberty University (founded by the dearly departed Rev. Jerry Falwell) gave Beck an honorary Doctoral degree this spring!
Even the United Methodist Church, which loves everyone (unless you’re gay!), calls the Mormon Church a “faith tradition outside the parameters of historic, apostolic Christianity”. Would-be converts from the Latter Day Saints would have to be baptized and instructed in the teachings and ways of Christ.
I did a little research on Glenn Beck and this is what I discovered. He was raised Catholic and attended parochial school during most of his childhood. His mother was an alcoholic, which led to his parents’ divorce when Beck was 13. Oddly, custody was awarded to the alcoholic mother. Two years later she drowned. Some say it was an accident, others (including Beck) say it was suicide.
That started little Glenn (at age 15) down the road of drug and alcohol abuse, which steered his life for the next 16 years. He was also diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.
That explains a lot right there!
He tried a semester of college at Yale University. He took a course in “Early Christology” and dropped out. From that point forward, he “self-educated”.
He married his first wife at age 19 and had two daughters. One of the daughters developed cerebral palsy. The marriage ended in divorce after 11 years because of Beck’s drug and alcohol abuse.
Beck got sober in November 1994. He married a second time five years later. After “church shopping” with his new wife, they family settled on the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. Beck was baptized into the Mormon faith.
Beck started his career as a radio DJ, then as the annoying guy on the morning program, then on to the ever-so-popular "shock jock". At one station, while on the air, he phoned his rival's wife and mocked her for her recent miscarriage!
What a guy!
He entered television as a news commentator for CNN. He was hired away from CNN by FOX News in October 2008 and given his own show (simply called “Glenn Beck”) in January 2009. He claims the show is “a fusion of entertainment and enlightenment.” He describes himself as an entertainer, a commentator (not a reporter), and “a rodeo clown.”
Those who like him love him. Those who don’t like him hate him. Horror writer Stephen King calls Beck “Satan’s mentally challenged younger brother.”
...but I’m not sure if Stephen King meant that as a compliment or an insult!
So what I see when I look at Glenn Beck is a semi-intelligent but deeply wounded man who has been given free reign on the airwaves to vent a lifetime of pain.
He is a clown, but a sad clown.
And he has found his audience among other Americans who feel disenfranchised. Apparently there are a lot of them out there.
Unfortunately for Beck, his viewers used to find him entertaining. But not so much anymore. As he has started taking himself more seriously, his viewership has plummeted. In August of 2009, he surpassed Bill O’Reilly with 3.2 million viewers. Today, his numbers have fallen to 1.7 million.
So I’m thinking this rally was not about honoring our troops or returning America to God at all.
I’m thinking it was a desperate little boy’s cry for help: “Do you still love me?”