Monday, August 30, 2010
Beck to God
"Something beyond imagination is happening, something that is beyond man is happening. America today is beginning to turn back to God." - Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck said some admirable, reasonable things on Saturday; things like "There is growing hatred in the country. We must be better than what we’ve allowed ourselves to become. We must get the poison of hatred out of us, no matter what smears or lies are thrown our way… we must look to God and look to love. We must defend those we disagree with." I can't find fault in that message, and I wouldn't try.
What I can find fault with, and do find fault with, is the essential emptiness behind those words. It is one thing to pray in public, to make a show of piety; it is another thing altogether to live by your words and demand of yourself real commitment to those words. Beck says that we "must look to love," and perhaps that is an admonishment directed as much at himself as anyone else. But I can't help hearing those words and then recalling these words:
“When I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I’m just like, ‘Oh shut up’ I’m so sick of them because they’re always complaining.”
“The only [Katrina victims] we’re seeing on television are the scumbags.”
"The most used phrase in my administration if I were to be President would be ‘What the hell you mean we're out of missiles?’"
"I have been nervous about this interview with you because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies. ... And I know you're not. I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way." –interviewing Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim U.S. congressman
That's just the tip of the iceberg. Beck routinely, gleefully, grows the very hatred he decried on Saturday. He spreads the lies and the smears he preaches against. And he spends precious little time "defending those who disagree" with him. But given Beck's seeming recommitment to "turning toward God" and my own desire to live by the words I spout here, I thought this quote might be of interest to him and to those in his audience who confuse self-righteousness with righteousness:
"But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?' And He said to him: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND. This is the first and greatest commandment, and the second is like it: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. On these two commandments depend all of the Law and the Prophets.'” - Matthew 22:34-40
America cannot "turn back to God" until its citizenry embraces the spirit of this teaching. Jesus does not say "You shall love your CHRISTIAN neighbor as yourself." He does not say "You shall love your AFFLUENT neighbor as yourself." He does not say "You shall love your AMERICAN neighbor as yourself." He certainly does not say that "You shall love your CONSERVATIVE neighbor as yourself." And yet, for all of Beck's fine, carefully-scripted words to the contrary, that's the gospel he truly preaches. Beck preaches a gospel of intolerance, of fear and divisiveness and greed and devotion to country/politics/gold over God.
I would never be so bold or so blasphemous as to assume I know anything of God's "mind," but I do feel comfortable saying that people like Beck abuse the faith that people have in God for ends that are decidedly adverse to Christ's teaching.
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." - Matthew 7:15