In the latest step cementing (sanctifying?) his relationship with Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, pseudo-religious scholar/phony historian David Barton has declared in prayer that Beck’s August 28 “Restore Honor Rally” at the Lincoln Memorial in our nation’s capital is divinely inspired. (Civil rights leaders don’t see it that way — they are particularly upset that the rally is set for the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the same site.)
Last week Beck initiated a daily “Glenn Beck Morning Prayer” on his website. Barton, head of the Texas-based far-right organization WallBuilders, offered up the first prayer on August 16, devoting much of it to an assertion that the Beck rally is God-inspired, saying in part:
“We acknowledge this (rally) to be a time given by you, at an event called by you, conceived in your mind and your heart, Father — and executed here.”
Well, gosh. How can people not attend if God (through apostle Glenn Beck, of course) called them to the rally? And you might recall that Barton has declared Beck to be a better Christian than evil Democrats like Bill Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. Good ol’ St. Beck.
The arrogance is astonishing, isn’t it?
As MediaMatters notes, Beck himself has been increasingly integrating overtly religious rhetoric into his political rants. Barton, a lecturer for the so-called “Glenn Beck University” online, is clearly part of a new strategy to promote the talk jock as someone especially qualified to speak on issues of faith.
In an e-mail to supporters on Sunday, Barton promoted Beck’s August 28 rally, which ostensibly is in support of military servicemembers. He portrays the day as one for “leaving all politics behind” to “gather in unison not only to honor pure character and faith in God but also some special unsung heroes who reflect these values.” Leaving all politics behind? Seriously? Barton’s e-mail also includes this:
“As a nation, we’re facing a number of decisions that will impact posterity for decades to come, and it is vital that the results reflect the religious and moral values that have kept America strong over the past 234 years. Consequently, if we as traditional faith leaders don’t step up and take a vocal leadership role, then the only hope for our nation’s security will slip further away.”
Gee, nothing political there, right? And who will be one of the rally’s main speakers? Sarah Palin. Yeah, they’re gonna leave politics behind. Sure.
Look, Barton and Beck have every right to declare their political work to be divinely inspired and approved. As long as customers are buying, they’re selling. But no one should be fooled: their intention is to marry religion and politics, while promoting distrust and fear of those whose religious beliefs and political views differ from their own. The clear goal of the Barton-Beck union is to use faith as a weapon to divide Americans and promote an exclusionary, hard-right political agenda. That’s a union and a mission we should all oppose.