Glenn Beck

I grew up as a Catholic student in the Shrine of the Little Flower Parish.  My pastor was Father Charles Coughlin, whose rabid anti-communistic broadcasts inspired thousands of listeners in the 1920's and 30's.  Among his tenants were support for the Nazis in their defense against communism, support for labor, and family values. He used his bully pulpit to accuse FDR of Communist and Marxist leanings. At one time he received hundreds of thousands of letters per week as he rallied Americans in an economic slump.  He advocated programs of social justice, a term that was bandied about by Glenn Beck last week. Father Coughlin was wildly popular in the difficult economic post WW I economy. 



By the time my family joined his parish, Father Coughlin had been muffled by Cardinal Mooney.  He had incited fringe listeners to anti-semitic violence.  His dogma became dangerous.  He could give up his broadcasts or his vocation. He chose the church, but he was bitter.  He was left to preach to his captive parish audience.  The good Sisters of Charity did his bidding, drilling the students with the terror of an impending Russian invasion. The Communists would make us spit upon Jesus' picture, and we were to risk death by disobeying.  We all sat in church, listening to his sermons, terrified that he would pause to excoriate the parents of a crying child.  He was an eloquent preacher, but he was obsessed and angry.  He is not a good role model for Glenn Beck.  
 Glenn Beck is the class clown who all of a sudden wants to be cerebral and wise.  His latest attention-getting blather,  announcing that churches that espouse social justice are aligned with Marxism or Nazism and should be abandoned- is only the most pathetic overreach to date. A few months ago, I split a gut as he pointed out the socialistic and communist symbolism decorating NBC's headquarters at Rockefeller Center.  I thought he was on the cusp of a mental breakdown, since the Rockefeller name is associated with the most rabid capitalism in the last century.  Now, after this latest folly, I have to wonder, why does the media continue to dissect his every word?  

Glenn Beck is the luckiest boob in radio today.  He used to do morning zoo radio, moved into personality radio, noticed Rush Limbaugh's ridiculous pay scale, lusted after it, became a conservative/libertarian raver, and Voila! He is the next Rush. I am not sure we need two.  Like Rush, he has a history of substance abuse, followed by penance, abstinence, and forgiveness by his clot of fans.  He is a lucky man. 


I know that his fans are loyal to a fault.  I know that even when they have no clue what he means, they are believers and defenders. I admire the loyalty, but Beck exploits it.  When you tell your listeners and viewers to run from churches with social justice programs, you are RIDICULOUS.  Yes, I yelled.  Even a half baked Catholic (me) knows that Jesus was more of a beatitudes guy than a commandments guy.  If there was ever a directive for social justice, Matthew captured it in his telling of the Sermon on the Mount.  From this gospel, we received a list of expectations that are known as the Beatitudes.  
I guess my main reaction to this latest pronouncement is " what in the hell is he saying?" followed by "who in the Hell is listening and embracing this?" The second part sort of scares me.  

As always, Glenn is pulling back.  Perhaps I overstated.  Perhaps you didn't understand what I was saying.   I only meant Black Liberation Churches.  My critics worked with Obama.  The media distorts my message.  

Nope.  

Glenn Beck is out of his depth.  Once again, his need to be noticed overcame his ability to be a wise man.  He got noticed, but in a bad way.  The curtains are pulled back, and the Wizard is a manipulating, self serving little man.  He is not content to entertain: he wishes to lead.  The entertainment business doesn't have the windfall profits that rabble rousing has, nor does it inspire rabid loyalty.  Therefore, he will remain the deranged preacher, like the Network cliche, "mad as hell, not taking it anymore."  Remember when we laughed at Peter Finch, and hated Fay Dunaway for manipulating a desperate man to incense the masses?  33 years later, a desperate man rallies his fan base.  They nod at his every word as if he was intellectually astute and consistent.  They line up to buy his prolific literary and auditory offerings. 
Did you miss the audiobook  America's March to Socialism, why we're one step closer to giant missile parades ?   I am sure he was talking about me when he composed Talking to Idiots: How to stop small minds and big government. I'll take a pass on that one, too.  Now The Christmas Sweater  .....nah.  Not a dime of my money will travel into his manipulating pockets. 
 I think he might want to take a peek at the broadcasting career of my parish priest, a man who over reached and stumbled. He doesn't have a pulpit and vestments to fall back on. 

Glenn Beck is a man whose influence is to be taken seriously, even as his dicta is to be ignored.  He has been on the cover of Time.  God help us if he becomes the Man of the Year.  


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  • Janet,
    I've been a fan of Steve's since 1979 and we've even met at HD Planet, but I believe you are mostly wrong about Glenn Beck.

    Firstly, let's correct some of your statements. You said "[Father Coughlin] is not a good role model for Glenn Beck." Who said he was? Not Glenn Beck. The mainstream media has associated Beck with Coughlin, an association that Beck has renounced on his show as being completely misguided, if for no other reason than (as you mentioned) Social Justice.

    Then you claim Beck's statements that "churches that espouse social justice are aligned with Marxism or Nazism and should be abandoned." If you bothered to read the history of Social Justice (and not the Progressive version of history that pervades our kids' textbooks), you would know that Social Justice is the opposite of a meritocracy. It means "take from the rich and give to the poor." Not *voluntary* charity by the successful to the unfortunate. When you punish success and reward laziness, as our government is trying to legislate, you take away the incentive to strive for a better life, both the entrepreneur and the perpetual welfare recipient. Benjamin Franklin wrote: "I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." Look up Cloward-Piven Strategy.

    You claim that his fans "have no clue what he means." So, you're saying that I'm stupid, since I'm a fan of his. The Social Justice that Jesus preached are certainly not the Social Justice that Rev. Wright or Van Jones or Edgar Cahn, and if you're going to comment on Glenn Beck's use of the term, you should do your homework first. See my comment about voluntary charity above.

    I happen to have been raised Catholic also and am still a devout Christian, which makes me (and you) an enemy of the Progressives. Government had to be secularized so that God could be made to take a back seat to government. The Declaration of Independence stated that our Creator endowed us with inalienable rights and that it was the government's job to protect them. After the secularization of government, now Congress can make claims (as they do) that *they* grant rights to the people, because God has been taken out of the equation.

    It sounds like you have been watching his show for quite a while and I'm surprised that you still don't get it. You have been set against Beck and other conservative broadcasters by the (self-admitted) leftist mainstream media. You probably chuckle along with Olbermann and Jon Stewart. I know you are smart enough to see past the messengers and see the real message.

    I can't defend Beck's cranking out dozens of books and live shows. I think it makes him look like he's only in it for the fame and money. I feel that it only dilutes his message. I've caught some of his mistakes myself, but taken as a whole, his message is true:

    1. our government is out-of-touch with the people's will,
    2. both Republicans and Democrats have been growing government and their power for decades,
    3. Congress serves only special interests and their primary goal is re-election,
    4. government spending and borrowing are bankrupting the US,
    5. Progressives have hijacked both the Democrats and GOP (Bush II was to the left of JFK!), and
    6. our system of government is a shadow of what our founding fathers created (read The 5,000 Year Leap).

  • In reply to korz:

    The one thing I can readily agree upon is that the message that Father Coughlin, while excoriating Communism, was involved in a campaign to make lives of workers economically stable. I realize that the social justice he espoused was exactly what Beck objects to.

    My problem is not with the notion that government has grown too big- of course it has, as Americans struggle mightily and are more needing of, and receptive to assistance. My problem is strictly with Beck. I think he is an opportunistic faker.

    I also think that churches have, for years, dedicated themselves to caring for those that the government has overlooked. That is a mandate. A good church or active faith is more than a "feel good" place, it is a place where we are urged to be good and do good. The propaganda techniques that Beck uses are inciting and not illustrative.

    Even the term progressive is now used as a term of art rather than a description. Social justice has more than one meaning. But in rabble rousing, they become one specific notion, one evil entity. Such polarization will never advance a dialogue, it will place people in hostile positions. Maybe the reason our government is so frozen is partly because the art of diplomacy and compromise is lost, and the new model of politics reflects the banging adversity as exemplified by the Fox-MSNBC media gulf.

    So many people wish for smaller government. But the problems we are coping with today have their roots in a failure of government to monitor a financial system of greed and exploitation. SO it is a conundrum. It is easy to say that we are making laziness easy, but in truth, there are not enough jobs for the unemployed to fill. So, until we can rev up the economy, sustaining social order through social programs is a band aid that seems unavoidable. Ben Franklin was a genius- but the issues were far simpler in his time.

    I think your notion that government seeks, or claims to be the "giver of rights" is off point. The founding fathers came here to get away from a monarch that functioned as the church. Government was the delivery system to protect each person's choice. There was to be separation of church and state.

    I hate the bleating notion of meritocracy, because life is sometimes random and cruel, and people sometimes need a hand up. I have lived long enough to see people's lives collapse with a lost job and subsequent illness. It is simpler to think that government programs become enablers of sloth, but life is not always black and white. There are grays. The grays are lost in the carnival braying of Glenn Beck. That is why I am adverse to his role as messenger. Sound and fury...signifying nothing.

  • In reply to korz:

    Janet,
    Two more quick notes...
    When you quoted Beck as saying "I only meant Black Libertarian Churches." I'm sure you meant "Black Liberation Churches" because that's what Beck said. I didn't want the Libertarian political party mixed in with Black Liberation Churches (like Rev. Wright's).

    Finally, you wrote: "The entertainment business doesn't have the windfall profits that rabble rousing has, nor does it inspire rabid loyalty." Oh yeah, it seems to have worked for your husband and I'm no less loyal to Steve than I am to Glenn Beck. You should note how similar they are: ex-DJ's, recovering alcoholics, comedians, loyal husbands and fathers (in an age of disposable spouses, especially among entertainers), broadcasting trailblazers, live comedy show performers, branched out into other media endeavors (books vs HD Planet and songwriting), labeled as "shocking" by the established media, and popular (in part) due to their personalities.

    In fact, both Steve and Glenn have made the same comments on many of issues. Three that immediately come to mind are government red tape, union influences in government, and how everyone who participates now is supposed to get a trophy (another tentacle Social Justice, btw) as opposed to the way that it was when they were kids.

    I hope I wasn't too harsh, but if someone would have posted such disagreeable and unfair things about Steve, I would have been up until 2am posting a rebuttal also.

  • In reply to korz:

    Janet,
    Sorry, I hadn't refreshed my screen from late last night and thus didn't see your post until after I had posted my second.

    We agree on some points, but disagree on others. I, personally, believe that Glenn Beck is not fake, but sincere. I have been a listener and viewer for over four years, long before he became as popular as he is now. Were you listening/watching when he was critical of George Bush's massive expansion? He was as critical of Bush's overreaching and government expansion as he is now about President Obama's.

    Beck is a very religious man, but you are mixing two topics. He recently spoke about how his statements regarding churches and Social Justice have been distorted by his opponents. I understood them without explanation, but Beck is chipping away (quite successfully) at the power of the entrenched in Congress and has shined a light on many damning problems with Obama's selections for his inner circle. Would we have known that former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones is a self-avowed Communist or that former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn expounded the merits of Mao Tse Tung (who killed over 8 million of his own people) at a high school graduation commencement?

    I most strongly disagree with you that "Maybe the reason our government is so frozen is partly because the art of diplomacy and compromise is lost, and the new model of politics reflects the banging adversity as exemplified by the Fox-MSNBC media gulf." Greed is the problem with government. Government is now frozen because the administration is pushing a Socialist agenda and, thanks in part to Glenn Beck, citizens are actually paying attention to what their "representatives" are doing in Washington. On the one side, Obama is willing to give up a few dozen seats to pass this Healthcare bill (which also includes sweeping changes to Education funding, by the way, and it eliminates private funding of college loans, which means the government can decide who goes to which college), but a lot of Democrats are thinking about actually voting the wishes of their constituents (73% of Americans believe the Healtcare bill should be scrapped and started fresh). The media is blaming the Republicans for the stalemate, but in fact, the Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority and could have easily passed any bill.

    In Ben Franklin's time there were different problems, but in essence, the same issues were being debated. At the core of what the founding fathers created was the notion that the Constitution must protect the people from the government. It was (as Pres Obama has pointed out) a document that said what government *can't* do. Our current administration is trying for the biggest power grab in history. When you control health care (1/7 of our economy) and education, you control the people. Once the people learn that they can vote themselves handouts, we've started down a slippery slope. But, it's unsustainable as Glenn Beck has been pointing out for over a year. Even the road that Bush put us on was unsustainable. Handouts started with FDR, grew with Johnson, shrank with Reagan, grew again with Bush (remember the unfunded Medicare drug plan?), and now have grown more in 1 year of Obama than it did in 8 years of Bush.

    Government can't create prosperity. Government jobs don't add to the GDP. I lived for a while in the Soviet Union in the 1970's. It's not a model that can work. Even the administration last week admitted that they are going to have to rely on the private sector to grow jobs.

    I have been unemployed twice in my life (9 months and 1 month) and I benefited from Unemployment Insurance. That's not what I'm pointing to eliminating (nor is Beck) when we talk about reducing government. Last week, Friday, Hannity had a special called Waste 102. He pointed out 102 of the worst wastes of our tax dollars. You should get a copy of that and see what government we can start trimming right away. I propose we start with graft. We might even be able to insure some of those 37 million without health insurance with the savings.

    The separation of church and state was an 1840's notion that, as I said in my first post, was meant to secularize our government. The Bill of Rights quite simply states that there will be no national religion. That does not mean that there can't be religion in government. The founding fathers had differing opinions on how to legislate this, but there was no doubt that our country was to be founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Read The 5,000 Year Leap. It's a compilation of bits and pieces of writings from the founding fathers and in reading it, I am certain that you (as I did) will read a sentence and say to yourself "my goodness, that's the opposite of what Congress passed last December!" or "that's 180-degrees from what the administration did last week!"

    Finally, the people of the United States are the most generous and charitable in the history of the world. If the government hadn't stepped in to "solve the problems of unemployment" then the churches and communities would still be doing it. The people on my street would likely join together to help out those who had fallen on rough times. I contend that if not for government meddling (for the last 80 years), we wouldn't have the enormous financial and social problems we have now.

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