“You’re a Jehoshaphat,” a pastor told Glenn Beck before the August 28, 2010 Restoring Honor rally that drew a crowd whose quantity climbed in the hundreds of thousands. The panelist drew a parallel between the Fox News host and a Biblical king of Judah who restored his nation’s godly heritage. Glenn Beck himself has named God as the solution to America’s deep problems. Why would anyone in this day and age take this guy seriously?
American people are listening to Glenn Beck because he is shattering a glass ceiling in the mainstream media: shamelessly invoking the faith of the individual within the political newsroom. Recently, faith in God has been segregated in public life because of secularist pretensions. The God of our fathers has been segregated from information and policy. The politically correct consensus that dominates talking points has insisted that we don’t need God or honor anymore because society has evolved to a much higher caliber than that which the Founders experienced.
But Americans who aren’t entrenched in government will not be fooled. They are weary of hearing predictable rhetoric about the government pulling us through these damaged times if only the right bill gets passed or the right person gets in office. But God and individual responsibility offered as solutions? Now that’s a previously taboo option.
Yet cynical statists ridicule whatever cannot be interpreted according to a government-run agenda.
Keith Olbermann (who thinks Beck might be the “dumbest man on the planet”) called the Restoring Honor rally a “glorified book party.” Christiane Amanpour concluded that tremendous crowds showed up to “hear a feel-good message”. Christopher Hitchens wrote that “Glenn Beck’s rally was large, vague, moist, and undirected – the Waterworld of white self-pity.”
Glorious party time? Touchy-feely? Undirected racial self-pity?
To be honest, those analyses do not reflect the sentiments of citizens that are engrossed in learning from their ancestors, applying self-responsibility, and interested in voting out anyone who has too long romanticized public office - regardless of political party. This mindset enrapturing the nation is intangible to the one-dimensional political strategist. In fact, it could be classified more so as an awakening than a political movement.
A notable characteristic of awakenings in history is their blazing, uncontrollable origin. “No single religious denomination or sect monopolized the Awakening,” says a secular textbook about the Great Awakening (pg. 111, America Past & Present, Volume I). “This unprecedented evangelical outpouring altered the course of American history,” (pg. 110, Ibid.).
At the Restoring Honor rally, Dr. Alveda C. King (niece of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.) asked the audience, “How many of us here know that we need to rebuild America?” (the crowd applauded). Angelica Tucker sang an original song about rebuilding “stone by stone” and “home by home”. This imagery further bolstered in my mind the parallel of Nehemiah’s mission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. This simple, unified act to restore his nation’s heritage was scoffed at and mocked by Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem:
“What is this thing you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?”
“What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble even the burned ones?”
“Even what they are building - if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!”
“It is reported among the nations…that you [Nehemiah] and the Jews are planning to rebel; therefore you are rebuilding the wall. And you are to be their king, according to these reports.”
(Nehemiah 2:19, 4:2, 3, 6:6 respectively).
Weren’t there some rumblings about Glenn Beck possibly plotting to catapult himself to office?
Naive cynics have to draw the subject back to political bickering when they don’t see a reason to restore anything. Also, a quibble or two comes in handy, as Olbermann à la Sanballat so cheerfully mastered:
Now we know that if you use a simple figure of speech, you run the risk of being labeled a liar.
Most Americans are probably not that cynical, nor will they be convinced that Glenn Beck is crazy. In a wild and insane era, Beck has a good chance of appealing to the people as someone who offers sanity - simple solutions in place of convoluted policy, and reality in place of virtual reality:
“He brought you the chalkboard in an age of high tech devices…”
“On Aug. 28, 2008, the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Obama was nominated as the Democrat presidential candidate.
On Aug. 28, 2010, Fox News commentator Glenn Beck held a conservative gathering at the Lincoln Memorial. This was criticized as usurpation, demagoguery and cynicism…”
After the Restoring Honor rally, a slideshow appeared on The Huffington Post titled, “Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally: The Most Ridiculous Messages“. Compare those pictures with the pictures celebrating Barack Obama’s nomination.
Which is more ridiculous - the shirts with a quote from George Washington and the tagline “got principle?” - or the shirts proclaiming Obama “The Hope Pope” and depicting President George W. Bush as a vampire?
Amanda Read is an unconventional scholar, a Southerner without an accent, a Christian who hasn’t been a churchgoer in 16 years and a college student who lives with eight younger siblings. A writer and artist, she blogs at www.amandaread.com and is the author of the historical drama screenplay The Crusading Chemist. Amanda is majoring in history and minoring in political science at Jacksonville State University.
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