Glenn Beck: A Revival of Irresponsibility
On March 27th Glenn Beck will be kicking off his American Revival tour in Orlando Florida. Entitled “The Future of History’, this eight hour long stage show will discuss ‘Faith, Hope and Charity’. For the price of admission, Glenn promises that this event will give information, inspiration and preparation to turn this country around(1). His prescriptions for the future provide a brilliant endorsement for the separation of church and state, the continued need for the republic’s representative democracy, responsible to the needs of its citizens, and a harbinger of disaster should anyone who agree’s with Beck ever achieve political power.
There are two main contentions that Glenn asserts leading up to his American Revival. First, he claims that support and charity should not be provided through the government. Second, he claims that rights are granted by God and not by man. These comments have received a great deal of press this past week. While many took exception to his attack on churches that preach social justice(2), he received resounding support from conservatives on these two main points.
Like the Republicans, Glenn exhorts the benefit of smaller government and rails against what he calls a nanny state with entitlement programs. Glenn proposes that all charitable acts should be religious in nature. He states that any such services or supports should be offered through churches or synagogues, or by individuals exercising their religious duty of almsgiving. He declares that social justice is forced charity, and dismisses Christian churches that preach or practice this philosophy as being not truly Christian, but progressives cloaking themselves in Christianity(3). He continues by stating that justice is only to be given by god and supporting this argument by explaining that that is why there is a judgement seat in heaven. According to this rationale, you may not get justice here, but if you behave as instructed, you may achieve it in the afterlife. Justice in society is not for man to create, it is the providence of God.
The wonderful convenience of this, is that it gives the wealthy complete control over the masses. If someone is born into poverty, it is the will of God. The fortunes of the affluent are likewise explained, and therefore claimed as God given right. The wealthy are in a position to give only what they deem necessary and appropriate to give, and are never required to give enough to allow someone to break free of their poverty; only enough to maintain them in it, if they are so inspired. The only requirements they have are what they choose as their interpretation of scripture. It creates a wonderfully cheap, impoverished working class for the elite who get to choose what each person’s allotment should or should not be.
With this power and control over the basic necessities of life, the power and ability to affect complete social change, and influence laws and legislation according to the will and advantage of the elite, is elementary. The masses, relying wholly on the wealthy for their survival would have no recourse. Without options one could be commanded to work for whatever wage offerred or face utter destitution. There would be no unemployment or social services, simply a large, cheap, desperate work force. This is apparently God’s will, and just happens to work really well with laissez faire, free-market, capitalist economic systems.
For someone who preaches the Constitution as much as he does, Mr. Beck seems to completely miss the point of it by being caught up in the very elitism that the document was drafted to protect Americans from. His system of charity hearkens back to the days of fealty to feudal lords for a pittance in return. His plan for the future is a revival of desperate hope of the oppressed, for benevolent masters governed only by their peity. This prescription for reform is nothing short of a road map to a two tiered, wildly disparate, third world system with an extremely wealthy minority wielding complete control over a vast majority of impoverished and subjugated laborers.
Beck has co-opted the founding fathers as the clergy for his own messianic campaign, choosing excerpts from their works to support his theories and agenda. He has deified mere men and made their words gospel. He has re-contextualized their thoughts and subjected Americans to a destorted understanding of statements over two hundred years old and rejects any divergent views or development of their theses, as he interprets them, as heresy.
Rights Determined by the Clergy
Glenn is very adamant that rights can only come from God(4). The Declaration of Independence states, “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”. This is what he considers unassailable proof of his assertion. He didn’t consider that the intention was to say that a person’s rights cannot be assailed, limited or controlled by another person. According to Glenn, your rights are the rights God gave you. What you have is what you’ve got. What you can achieve is what you are allowed. If God put you in a position where you don’t seem to have any rights, you apparently need to take it up with God, or simply wait until the afterlife. He seems completely distraught that the American Government would have the audacity to recognize the rights of it’s citizens, articulate them, codify them and legislate the protection of them(5). Once again we see a theocratic rationalization for concentrating power in the hands of Glenn Beck’s God fearing elite, to dole out as they see fit.
As Desmond Tutu so eloquently stated, “I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.”
Mr Beck offers no description, nor does he cite any reference material to discover what rights are granted by God. A search of the bible yielded only six mentions of rights(6).
Exodus 21: 7-11
And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her. And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters. If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.
Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn.
Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”
God sent his Son,born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive thefull rights of sons.”
refers to Esau, who “sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.”
Although two of these encourage advocacy for the rights of the less fortunate, there is no definition as to what those rights are. Only two rights are represented in the remaining four verses. Three verses are dedicated to the property and inheritance rights of men, and one verse is dedicated to the right of women to be treated as chattel. As scripture fails to adequately discuss the issue of rights, I’m sure the implication is that church doctrine communicated through clerics would provide the necessary guide.
Therefore, a persons rights could only be granted by, or affirmed by, the clergy, rather than their own democratically elected representational government. The Nineteenth Amendment would certainly have run into trouble with 1 Timothy 2:12-14 which allows women no authority over men which would include the right to vote for or against a man.
The world according to Glenn
On the basis of these two principles alone; That the people cannot provide for themselves as a collective through their government, and that the government of the people and by the people cannot articulate, codify and ensure their own rights, Mr. Beck would effectively take us back to a time ruled by Nobles and Clerics not enjoyed since prior to the French revolution, with the potential upward mobility of share-croppers, or minors wholly owned by the company store. This would take the country much farther back than even Mr. Beck admits, as he races headlong towards yesteryear.
His desire to take the country back is not motivated by what is good for the country, but serves only to benefit those that currently enjoy privilege, while disenfranchising and disempowering the vast majority of Americans. This country doesn’t need to move backwards, it needs to move forwards. The use of religion and a God, as a surrogate to usurp the rights of the people, is based on failed societal models recycled throughout our history. The distorted past that Mr. Beck wants to revive, with an added and increased role of religion, is nothing but the ramblings of a terrified fool. The past is the comfortable domain of cowards and the status quo is the sanctuary of the elite.
This desire to abdicate responsibility to an omniscient being in order to avoid responsibility or accountability is destructive regardless of how tempting it may seem. America is governed by a government of the people, by the people and for the people; not of the people, by the rich and religious, for God. The representatives of the people can and should recognize, articulate, codify and ensure the rights of the people, by the people and for the people. The people must take collective action and provide services and supports for themselves through their government. The government is not the alien ‘other’, or ‘them’, as in the paranoid delusions of Mr. Beck. The government is made up of the representatives that American’s elect to represent their will. If their representatives fail in this, they can and should be replaced by the people. They should not be replaced by the clergy or the affluent, or their agents, that offer no such representation or democratic remedy.
America has evolved and progressed and will continue to do so. As new obstacles and past shortcomings are identified Americans will meet the challenges and move ahead, learning from their past so as not to repeat it. Americans must be careful not to follow the fearful call to retreat into the embrace of the devil they once knew simply because of the uncertainties inherent to the future. Is this not the land of the free and the home of the brave. Let Mr. Beck retreat into the past. Americans have the freedom to claim their rights and insist that their government recognize and ensure them, and the bravery to take those rights into the future that they will determine of, by and for themselves.
1 – http://www.glennbeck.com/
2 – http://mediamatters.org/research/201003120055
3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VR9Apn5N0MI
4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiucQ_INghE
5 – http://www.mediaite.com/online/glenn-beck-confirms-that-your-rights-come-from-god/
6 – http://www.ccfwebsite.com/archives/What_does_the_Bible_say_about_rights.pdf