Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Cult of Glenn Beck and the Religion of Tea

I really hadn't intended to write anything about politics again for a long time. But today at work we got off on a tangent and "Stuff" came up. To be honest though, this post really isn't all that much about politics. It's really about false Messiahs. It's just that the topic brushes up against politics. That's all.

So this afternoon at the store, myself and two friends were talking. Mick asked if I remembered Jim Jones and the big cult suicide down in Jonestown, Guyana. (I have no idea how that, of all topics, came up. Mick is just weird that way.) I said that I did, and we kind of went off from there.

For those of you who don't know, there was a fellow named Jim Jones who founded the People's Temple in the 1950s. It was a quasi-christian set up, with Jones as the leader. In 1974, a huge chunk of them left the U.S. for Guyana to set up a socialist paradise. Instead, in 1978, they either willfully drank, or were force-fed poisoned kool aid and 900 people died. (Hence the term "To drink the Kool-Aid"..."Oh, yeah!")

"As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

Jesus answered, "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, "I am the Christ," and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come."
Matt. 24:3-6

So this weekend, the Fox talk show host, Glenn Beck, held a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. It was all about restoring America's honor, with no solid explanation as to what that meant. I guess that who ever loses an election is supposed to assume that they can explain the loss by saying the country has also lost it's honor and such.

I am no fan of people on either extreme of the political divide...a divide that seems to get wider every time political talk shows are aired. I paid little attention to Beck's rally until I heard about the controversy of the date he chose. I had no idea that it coincided with the big 1963 Civil Rights march on Washington.

Needless to say, that choice stirred up a hornets nest. Across the street from Beck's rally was a counter demonstration held by Reverend Al Sharpton. (So I guess you had the best of both worlds for extremist, conspiracy theory loving, race-baiting, loony lefties and mighty tighty righties all in one spot. Very likely, a well coordinated terrorist attack would have resulted in a major increase in S.A.T. scores for the entire country.)

Again, most of this stuff didn't do much for me either way, until some interviews I heard this morning on N.P.R. Please read the transcript, or listen to the whole story, for yourself. Pay close attention to what the last person, Cheri Newell, says. "I love my country, and I love the Lord. And that's why we're here."

"I love my country, and I love the Lord." OK, fair enough. I do to. But I kept wondering what Mz. Newell meant by that. I have friends in Canada and the Czech Republic who could say the very same thing about their country and God. I didn't see any of them at Beck's rally, though.

If by saying that she loves God & country, and that is why she is at that rally with other Tea Party activists, is she implying that the people on the other side of the street do not love America or God? I mean, we all know that God is a Republican. I've seen enough signs at various political rallies that have told me so. I also understand fully that Democrats and Independents...and especially Green Party members, hate the U.S. and want to replace it with a godless, neo-nazi, socialist regime...and feast on live puppies & kittens.

Or is this just another form of "Works" creeping it's way into religious fashion? You listen to X, you work for Y, and you vote for Z. And that's how you know that you are among the righteous.

Now if you think I am kidding around...well, I am...a bit...take a gander at how Glenn Beck explained this whole rally. He states plainly that he wants to be a spokesman for traditional Christian values. In their own words, this rally was to honor the military and Christian values. (Which is odd, because those two things most often do not go hand in hand.)

I find it even stranger that Beck is talking about/using Christianity. I've heard him try and use the Bible to justify some of his points. Frankly, he would make Jim Jones proud the way he yanks scripture out of context.

Glenn Beck is a Mormon, NOT a Christian. This may sound harsh, but there is a massive difference between Mormons and Christians. The historic, orthodox, Christian faith that has gone on for 2000 years now, has virtually nothing in common with Mormonism. Heck, any religion can lay claim to Jesus...and many do. But the Book of Mormon reduces Jesus to just one of many gods. In fact, next to Hinduism, Mormonism is the most Polytheistic religion in the world, and historic, orthodox christianity is absolutely Monotheistic.

So here is essentially an apostate, a heretic, who says that the current President doesn't hold to true Christian values. Furthermore, he claims that it was "Divine Providence" that he accidently picked this date that coincided with Martin Luther King's speech. (So now he is claiming that God intervened on his behalf?!?!?!)

The funny part is, that while he was claiming in public that the choosing of the date was an accident...or the work of God, he is actually lying his face off. Don't believe me? Read the following. It seems to me that he is merely promoting a more pedestrian Messianic Complex then a fellow like Jim Jones did.

What REALLY upsets me.
I get very tired of people who use Jesus, the gospel, or the bible for their own selfish ends. This is regardless of politics. This goes for any area...including some of the crap I see in the church. Glenn Beck is not a stupid man. It's pretty clear that he doesn't believe half of what he says. But he knows that he is getting RICH saying this stuff.

I also believe that those who use the gospel and such, to further their own selfish ends incur judgment when they do so. The only time that you see Jesus getting violent in the gospels is when he went into the temple and saw that the areas set aside for gentiles to worship had been turned into a money-making centers. He was so incensed by seeing the Holy Temple, his Father's house, used in such a manner that he was willing to physically attack those people. (Makes you think about what may be in store for guys like Beck and some of these T.V. preachers.)

What really upsets me, though, is that there are so many gullible people out there who actually DO believe what a guy like Beck says. Many of them are my brothers and sisters in Christ. (You should see the scads of e-mails that my Dad gets trumpeting the end of the U.S. and our "Christian Republic," on a weekly basis.) They buy into goofy conspiracy theories, and go to rallies like this one because they "Love the Lord," and think they are protecting him. They weep & gnash their teeth over our "Nazi/Muslim President," and all of the heathen, brown-skinned types that he is allowing to cross the border and ruin our way of life.

The followers of Jesus back in the day were told not to fear. What ever calamities were coming down the pipe, wether it was persecution, war, famine...he said don't be afraid, God is in charge, he is sovereign...and you CAN TRUST HIM! He also told them to watch out for false Messiahs.

I get the feeling that many, many people involved in the whole Tea Party movement will be sorely disappointed when their false gods eventually let them down...and they WILL let them down eventually.

We can be bamboozled so easily. People love simplistic and easy answers, because life is hard. It is. But the fact of the matter is that there really are very few easy answers to be found in politics or elsewhere. So it tends to be easier to simply accept something outrageous to cling to.

To me, it also shows a tremendous lack of faith in the risen Christ. (I prefer clinging to Jesus. He is gentle, and tends not to shout & scream in my ears all that much.)

I dunno. This was just what was rolling around in my head for the last 24 hours. So there it is, for what it's worth.



P.S. World history has shown the dangers of what happens when large groups of people get together when they are emotionally fired up...and it's rarely a good outcome. All it takes are a couple of charismatic leaders and the next thing you know, people are getting hurt.

It made me recall a song from the Adult-ish cartoon, "Heavy Metal," when I was a kid. I suppose there is no irony in the band Black Sabbath having recorded it. Still, the gist of the song is accurate. Plus, in this video, you get to watch Ronnie James Dio work his comb-over, and Tommy Iommi try to hold his gut in. Enjoy.


  1. AMEN!!!! If you hold a rally Joe, I AM SOOOO THERE!!

  2. I dunno, Zach. I'm nobody. I just wish that people would keep their eyes on Jesus more, and less on secular politics.

    OK, I would also hope and wish that so-called "Christian Leaders" would do the same and stop making money off of Jesus. (And I'll stop there.)