Profxm of Main Street Plaza posted some interesting data yesterday about Glenn Beck fandom. Beck has over 1.5 million ‘fans’ on Facebook, and using a Fan Page Analytics tool, we can find out the geographical distribution of these fans.
Anti-gay bullying and the recent gay youth suicides have been making headlines lately. It’s tragic that these things are even issues in the 21st century, but I’m glad the media are drawing attention to them.
I want to share with you a few stories related to anti-gay bullying and gay youth suicides. The first is a video of Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns. Fighting back tears, he shared his personal story as a gay man and assured gay teens that “it gets better.” Please watch. His message is an important one.
Readers will know that among my intellectual interests are politics and Mormon history. I especially love when these two subjects intersect, as they do with the League of Nations.
You’re probably asking how the long-since defunct League of Nations, the forerunner to the United Nations, is relevant in 2010. The answer: Glenn Beck.
In the past year, Beck and his disciples in the Tea Party movement have ratcheted up the rhetoric against America’s most progressive president. And they’re not talking about Barack Obama, but—oddly enough—Woodrow Wilson.
Here’s what Beck said about President Wilson back in February: “I hate that S.O.B.! He was an evil, evil dude.” Why such invective? Beck’s litany of complaints against Wilson include, among other things: the federal income tax, the re-segregation of government offices, the imprisonment of anti-war dissidents during WWI, and the League of Nations.
Glenn Beck is a regular recipient of ridicule (hooray for alliterations!) at this blog. But every now and then I like to highlight something redeeming about an ideological foe. A couple of weeks ago, I attempted to humanize the Westboro Baptists. And today, I’ll attempt to humanize Glenn Beck.
On Fox News last night, Bill O’Reilly asked Beck why he wasn’t more of a “culture warrior”—why he doesn’t discuss issues like gay marriage and abortion. Beck explained that “the country is burning down” and that social issues are basically a distraction. “Honestly, I think we have bigger fish to fry,” he said.
O’Reilly then followed up with this question: “Do you believe gay marriage is a threat to the country in any way?”
“A threat to the country? No, I don’t,” Beck responded. “Will the gays come and get us?” he asked mockingly. “I don’t think … the government actually has anything to do with [marriage] … that is a religious rite.”
I’ve had a series of recent posts in which I’ve been critical of the Book of Mormon. I make no apologies for those criticisms, but I also don’t want to give the impression that I find the Book of Mormon devoid of any value.
I don’t think it’s inspired. I don’t even think it’s a good read. But what the Book of Mormon says about poverty still resonates with me:
And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—but I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
Can you believe that this video was produced by a Mormon? Mormons have long been politically conservative, sure. But this kind of apocalyptic paranoia is not usually the hallmark of Mormons. So why the change?
Beck’s influence on our national political discourse cannot be overstated. He was the single most important catalyst for the Tea Party movement in my opinion. Beck’s incessant fear-mongering about this administration is also likely why 67% of Republicans think Obama is a “socialist” and 38% say that Obama is “doing many of the things that Hitler did.” So Beck undoubtedly has a national audience and influence. But I’m convinced that his influence is more pronounced among Mormons for three reasons:
This article from The New York Times is a must-read, so here it is at length:
Last week, the conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck called on Christians to leave their churches if they heard any preaching about social or economic justice because, he claimed, those were slogans affiliated with Nazism and Communism.This week, the Rev. Jim Wallis, a liberal evangelical leader in Washington, D.C., called on Christians to leave Glenn Beck.
“What he has said attacks the very heart of our Christian faith, and Christians should no longer watch his show,” Mr. Wallis, who heads the antipoverty group Sojourners, wrote on his “God’s Politics” blog. “His show should now be in the same category as Howard Stern.”
Mr. Beck, in vilifying churches that promote “social justice,” managed to insult just about every mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, African-American, Hispanic and Asian congregation in the country — not to mention plenty of evangelical ones.