Monday, August 30, 2010

Why The Beck Event Didn’t Need Politics

Palin likened the rally participants to the civil rights activists from 1963. She said the same spirit that helped them overcome oppression, discrimination and violence would help this group as well."We are worried about what we face. Sometimes, our challenges seem insurmountable," Palin said. "Look around you. You're not alone." - Yahoo News

Many of the pundits and talking heads were concerned today about what the motive was for Glenn Beck’s rally over the weekend. Many questioned why Mr. Beck who has been one of the staunchest critics of this president would hold a political rally without the politics? By all accounts the rally was a cross between a revival meeting and a church picnic. There were no political speeches extolling the shortcomings of this president and his administration. There were no references to liberalism, socialism, or Obamacare in any of the speeches. So with one of the largest captive audiences in recent memory why was there no demagoguery by two of the best in the business?

The answer is really very simple. All one has to do is look at the demographics of the rally goers to understand that there was no need for these types of speeches. The majority of the participants were white, over 50, and evangelicals. With this group there was no need for over the top rhetoric, racists signs, or t-shirts. Just as the Pope does not have to detail the tenets of the Catholic faith during Mass at St. Peters Basilica neither did Glenn Beck have to give the tenets to those gathered at the rally? Is there any doubt what the political leanings of those people in that demographic would be? The people who showed up at that rally are conservative right-wing voters and their politics is their religion. In their minds there is no separation of religion and state or religion and politics. America in their minds is a Christian country and anyone who does not share their brand of Christianity is an outsider. One of the reasons that President Obama’s religion is questioned and is treated with skepticism is because he does not espouse or demonstrate their brand of Christianity. So we get “He says he is a Christian and I take him at his word.”

When groups of like minded individuals get together there are certain ideas or values that don’t require being spoken. Your very presence at the event signals your agreement with the group’s positions on politics, social values, and community mores. We are God’s people and everyone else are godless infidels who are not worthy of our compassion but instead they are worthy of our contempt. The thing to remember with group dynamics is that certain words can carry special meaning that the majority of the group understands so even a non-political rally can carry political significance. So instead of talking about liberals or foreigners we talk about those who share our version of religion and those who don’t. To the folks in the crowd the meaning is crystal clear and there is no difference.

"When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some." - Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun

The question that continues not to be asked today is not why more people think that President Obama is a Muslim today than when he was elected. The question that needs to be asked is in a country where we supposedly have freedom of religion why does it matter what religion he is. So we have these endless conversations on the television about what the poll numbers mean to the President’s ability to do his job and no conversation about the hypocrisy of this whole conversation. The thing that should scare the hell out of all Americans who value freedom about the Glenn Beck rally is that today it is the liberals tomorrow it will be the Methodists or the Catholics. A prime example of this is the fall-out from some Christian groups that stated following the rally that because Glenn Beck is a Mormon he is unfit and offering a false gospel. You see that once the hate mongering starts it becomes contagious and it will infiltrate and contaminate everyone it comes in contact with.

What Glenn Beck was attempting to do was to marry religion with politics. He is seeking to rally the troops under the cross, the flag, and oh yeah a little gold wouldn’t hurt. America has a history of following these Elmer Gantry wannabes promoting that good ole time religion. The problem with these charlatans is that their version of ole time religion is not very old. I truly believe that no group has done more to divide the Church in the history of the Church than the Evangelicals. According to them God is constantly providing new revelations that only they can hear and decipher which of course makes it next to impossible to dispute. Glenn Beck decries the liberation theology of others yet as you can see from Ms. Palin’s remarks that this is exactly what they are promoting only it is liberation for those who are the most liberated in the country. Who is more liberated than middle-aged white people? What they don’t realize is Beck, Palin and their rich cronies are the ones who are oppressing them.

You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. - Anne Lamott

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