The Bible and Culture

The Bible and Culture


Beck Beckons at the Lincoln Memorial

posted by Ben Witherington

beck2.jpg

On the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I have a Dream’ speech, somewhere between 300,000 and 600,000 people showed up for a rally at the Lincoln Memorial featuring speeches by Glenn Beck (a Mormon) and Sarah Palin (some sort of conservative Protestant).  Here is the link to the NY times article on the matter this morning—-

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/us/politics/29beck.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

Meanwhile at Dunbar High School in D.C., a much smaller rally was held, led by actual Civil Rights leaders and the main speaker was Rev. Al Sharpton.

If nothing else these two parallel rallies show that we still have a very long way to go when it comes to race relationships in this country. It is understandable how many African Americans might find the rally led by Beck, which was not focused on improving our race relations and was in that regard not in accord with King’s speech and vision cast on that very day so many years ago now, offensive in various ways.

Glenn Beck disavowed this was a political rally and instead concentrated on saying that America needs revival, needs to get back to God, and also needs to get back to the vision of our Founding Fathers and our charter documents.  What should we think of all of this?   Several observations are in order.

1)  As I have pointed out on various occasions on this blog, our Founding Fathers were a religiously mixed multitude.  There were Deists, there were Christians, and there were even others involved.  Any one who has done serious religious research into the faith of people like Benjamin Franklin or John Adams or Thomas Jefferson or other early luminaries will realize that many of the guiding lights at the founding of our nation were not ‘born again Christians’ in the modern sense at all.  Take for example Thomas Jefferson, the man who famously produced the Jefferson Bible, a Bible which was said to have inspired Jesus Seminar founder Robert Funk.  The Jefferson Bible deletes various miracles of Jesus and the NT ‘dogmatic’ passages to focus on a ‘Judaeo-Christian’ ethic.  Of course at the same time Jefferson was producing Gospel light (less filling, tastes great), he was also advocating principles espoused by John Locke when it came to things like freedom or  private property, principles that don’t exactly jive with what the Bible says about property—- namely that ‘the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof’. 

2) While I quite agree with Mr. Beck that this nation needs revival badly, it is right to be leery of the sort of uncritical amalgamation of our civic religion (‘God bless the U.S.A.’) and our Christian faith that we hear coming out of Mr. Beck’s mouth.   It was precisely this sort of amalgamation of Americanism and Christianity that Martin Luther King often took exception to, and which caused him to be accused of communism among other things.  We need a revival alright in this country, but it needs to be a genuinely Christian counter-cultural revival, not a rebirth of a slightly Christianized civic religion.

3)  A counter-cultural Christian revival would indeed have to involve repentance of the serious sins of our country, not the least of which are racism, materialism, and militarism.  There is a reason why Paul told us that ‘in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, no male and female, for all are one in Christ’ (Gal. 3.28).  There is no spiritual Gospel that doesn’t have such social implications, and despite Glenn Beck’s ranting and raving about liberation theology, the truth of the matter is that God cares about justice issues, and salvation from our besetting sins inherently involves dealing with things like racism, greed, and a host of other isms. 

At the end of the day,  what yesterday revealed to us is that we are still a deeply divided nation, indeed even the Christians, who were present in considerable numbers at both rallies, are deeply divided.   My hope would be that this Fall the politics of fear doesn’t overwhelm the politics of faith, for our country has been making too many fear-based decisions in the last decade.  We are at a place of profound cynicism in our culture about our major institutions—- political, educational, and yes religious institutions.  Movements like the Tea Party movement reflect this profound cynicism. 

A society however can not be held together, or make progress on the basis of fear based decision-making.  There has to be trust, there has to be faith,  and there has to be meaningful discourse and dialogue….. not merely ideological posturing by either the left or the right.  Dueling banjos are incapable of playing in harmony or producing a meaningful and helpful ensemble.   We need less bombast and posturing and more of the spirit which says ‘come let us reason together’.  

My prayer is that there will indeed be both a funeral and a revival.  We need to hold a funeral for cheap talk, dirty politics, character assassination, fragmentation and posturing from whatever point on the political spectrum  We need a revival of co-operation, can-do spirit, and bipartisanship.   We need to hold a funeral for talk shows which are high on moral outrage and ideologically driven vituperation and low on actual facts or reasoned discourse.  We need to simply stop watching such shows— it is noise not news. 

But more than anything else we need a true revival that centers on Jesus Christ who famously said ‘if anyone would come after me, let him take up his cross and follow me’.   The road that Jesus is walking down doesn’t lead to either the Lincoln Memorial or  Dunbar High School, necessarily.   It leads to Golgotha and the death of self-serving, self-centered, selfish behavior of whatever sort.   It leads to the death of all our short-sighted parochialisms for God loves the world not just America, and that is why he sent his Son so that all of us, yes all of us, might have everlasting life, freedom from sin in Christ, and the happiness of the pursuit of God’s calling on our lives to make this world, including this country, better, not bitter.         



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John

posted August 29, 2010 at 3:43 pm


Ben,
I loved your comments on the founding fathers and the reality of nominal “God bless the U.S.A” Christianity. I fear that this patriotic form of Christianity that has little substance to it and serves a blanket Judeo-Christian deity (one that I suppose Jesus does not fit all that comfortably in?) characterizes much of the church today. On the other hand, what concerns me is not those loudly vocalizing their opinions such as Beck and others–the “noise” as you say, but a culture that doesn’t know how to be discerning. Is it reasonable to expect a culture with “less noise” or a church that is more discerning and able to distinguish what is good from what is bad? I would incline towards the latter because I would hate to throw the baby out with the bathwater. For instance, while Beck has been criticized heavily for his attacks on liberation theology (bringing up its social justice focus), I don’t think that his criticisms have been taken into context. He never denied the importance of social justice, just a movement that is fundamentally characterized by the raising of an oppressed social group. On the contrary, as you say Jesus was more concerned about his followers taking up their cross, not their rise in social status even if within his followers there existed a profound equality and mutuality.



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Eddie Bromley

posted August 29, 2010 at 4:05 pm


Thanks Dr. Witherington for your way of cutting through the fog and clarifying the real issues. I believer Beck means well and is at times insightful. However, this was not one of those moments. He, like many others, confuses the differences between the Church and a country. While I am thankful for Christian people who serve in political positions of authority, I am always a little leary of those who would want to have America behaving as if it were an ecclesial body.



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ben witherington

posted August 29, 2010 at 5:04 pm


John I am right there with you. I agree that critical discernment in the church seems to be at an all time low. What to do about this? Motivate the church to tease their minds into more active thought and raise the level of Biblical literacy in the church……which I am working on.
BW3



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Allan R. Bevere

posted August 29, 2010 at 6:16 pm


Ben,
Excellent thoughts as usual. I think we need to eschew civic religion, whether it is the Glenn Beck version or the Al Sharpton variety. I also fear that not only has James Dobosn fallen into the civic religion trap, but so has Jim Wallis.
Unfortunate indeed.



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david gibbs

posted August 29, 2010 at 8:02 pm


I don’t Know Dr Witherington whether Beck, Palin and the Tea Party crew will take time to read and absorb your post and to consequently rethink their position.
Beck thinks that Christianity does not require adherence to social justice. He seems to thinks that the USA is God’s favourite nation. That capitalism is part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Social Welfare is of the devil. His standard for national righteousness is the values, beliefs and philosophies of the founding fathers. That is his litmus test and measuring rod for deciding where America ought to go. And under his Gospel USA is has been designated by God to lead the world. This may make for good patriotism but ought not not be confused with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel is way too radical for Mr Beck’s petty political doctrine of America’s nationalist supremacy, favouritism and narcissism. The Gospel will transform (“go sell all and follow me”; “deny mother and father… and take up your cross”; “blessed are the poor in spirit”. Beck is more concerned in retaining, recapturing, reverting and returning to the glory days of the 1776.



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nnmns

posted August 29, 2010 at 9:51 pm


Ben, good post. I don’t agree with everything but I agree with a great deal of what you say.
I’ve read that citizens interviewed at the Beck rally seemed to have some generalized idea about returning honor but perhaps not much specific. I’m no way a Tea-partier or Beck fan but I can see how people could be frustrated, what with big business still seeming to have its hooks in a government we might have hoped would pull them out, and with the fact the economy was left such a shambles by the Republicans that Obama hasn’t been able to finish the job of getting it back on track, and probably won’t for months to come.
But it would be still more tragic if, in their frustration, people voted for the party that got us into this mess rather than the party that’s trying, if not hard enough, to get us out of it.
And it is tragic if any large part of this “return to honor” movement is motivated by the fact we have a black man as president. I’m sure for some his race is more important than his intelligence and civility. I hope that’s not a lot of people.



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Matthew

posted August 29, 2010 at 10:47 pm


A friend on Facebook made the following observation:
For those who watched the Glenn Beck “Restoring Honor” rally yesterday, they might have wondered why Glenn Beck started by having a Jewish rabbi (Daniel Lapin) stand next to (and, first to the left, of) two Native Americans and a descendent of the Pilgrims to celebrate America’s origins.
Here were Beck’s words from yesterday, speaking first of ancient Israel… “A chosen people listened to the Lord. At the same time, those things were happening, on this side, on this land another group of people were gathered here, and they, too, were listening to God. How these two people were brought together again happened because people were listening to God.”
To those few evangelicals who are familiar with Mormonism, they immediately recognized that Beck was asserting the core belief from the Book of Mormon that Native Americans are the descendants of ancient Israel.

Any thoughts on the Mormon angle?



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Michael

posted August 29, 2010 at 11:16 pm


Hi Ben,
Greeting from Hong Kong.
Just want to say, thank you for your post, since it makes me coming across, what is the different between a true Christian and a politician.



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Fletcher Law

posted August 30, 2010 at 12:43 am


One problem -Beck is not Christian.
No belief in the Trinity or Deity of Christ.
I attended a liberal seminary.
No theologian would declare the LDS church Christians-because of real reasons.
Only Mormons and people ignorant of the historical gospel could say they are Christians.
If Mr. Beck is as ignorant of politics as he is of the gospel-flee.



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J Joyner

posted August 30, 2010 at 2:16 am


Reading the comments does not give me any hope that there is a “silent” group of people who really “get it.” I dislike Glenn Beck but David Gibbs above has mischaracterized Beck, which is the “stock in trade” of all political dialogue today; it is dishonest and perpetuates misunderstanding. Nnmns places confidence in the government to correct the evils of corporations, ignoring the fact that both governments and corporations are “legal fictions” comprised of people who function within their respective structures to exercise power over others. Governments have been and continue to be subject to corruption just like corporations or “big business;” so why would any honest person of faith place confidence in the power of government as nnmns does? This perpetuates misunderstanding too. Fletcher Law accuses Beck of being ignorant, but what about the hundreds of thousands who took time and money to attend; they too are ignorant, and such a characterization perpetuates understanding.
Dr. Witherington, your reflections are interesting but I think it misses much. Many believe the current administration has established the foundation for some serious social injustice by empowering the people who together form the legal fiction we call government. What will ensure the government persons will consistently act justly as they extract money to pay massive debts resulting from borrowing to which they were not a party and for which they received no benefit? I feel great fear of the consequences of recent government actions and how the consequences will cause more discord and misunderstanding. My fear does not come from Beck who I genuinely dislike (but as a person of faith I do not wish to mischaracterize his views or the motivations of his followers).



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J Joyner

posted August 30, 2010 at 2:23 am


J Joyner
August 30, 2010 2:16 AM
Reading the comments does not give me any hope that there is a “silent” group of people who really “get it.” I dislike Glenn Beck but David Gibbs above has mischaracterized Beck, which is the “stock in trade” of all political dialogue today; it is dishonest and perpetuates misunderstanding. Nnmns places confidence in the government to correct the evils of corporations, ignoring the fact that both governments and corporations are “legal fictions” comprised of people who function within their respective structures to exercise power over others. Governments have been and continue to be subject to corruption just like corporations or “big business;” so why would any honest person of faith place confidence in the power of government as nnmns does? This perpetuates misunderstanding too. Fletcher Law accuses Beck of being ignorant, but what about the hundreds of thousands who took time and money to attend; are they too are ignorant and this characterization perpetuates understanding? I think not.
Dr. Witherington, your reflections are interesting but I think it misses much. Many believe the current administration has established the foundation for some serious social injustice by empowering the people who together form the legal fiction we call government. What will ensure the government persons will consistently act justly as they extract money from others us to pay massive debts resulting from borrowing to which we were not a party and for which we received no benefit? I feel great fear of the consequences of recent government actions and how the consequences will cause more discord and misunderstanding. My fear does not come from Beck who I genuinely dislike (but as a person of faith I do not wish to mischaracterize his views or the motivations of his followers).



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ben witherington

posted August 30, 2010 at 7:18 am


Hi Friends:
This is a useful discussion. You are correct that the Book of Mormon is problematic, not least because of what it says about American Indians, and you are also correct that the official doctrine of the Mormon church in regard to the Trinity and the Deity of Christ is more than a little problematic. Mormon doctrine on these things is not Christian doctrine, but there are some Christians in the Mormon Church who are unaware of the differences and distinctions. As for the government as a legal fiction, I’m afraid I must disagree. The government is a legal fact, and we were hugely in debt long before this government ever came along, chiefly because of the Iraq war, an unnecessary and undeclared war altogether which does not even meet the criteria for a just war.
Blessings,
BW3



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Dave

posted August 30, 2010 at 10:10 am


On “observation #1″: Yes, the founding fathers did not all have identical religious views. What’s your point? Jefferson? Really? You use him as your stale worn out example?
Observation #2: You accuse Beck of pushing civic religion, but you give no examples and you don’t address the fact that he made an effort to separate politics from his gathering. I think he was attempting the impossible, since he is a political commentator and it was held in D.C., but you should have given him the benefit of the doubt and used some examples rather than just accusing him of pushing a civic religion.
Observation #3: First off, this isn’t an observation about Glen Beck or what happened. So, what’s your point? What does your opinion of what this country needs have to do with your criticism of what happened in D.C. It’s almost like you started out talking about Beck to capitalize on the Beck interest, but really you wanted to push your opinions because you didn’t really have any facts about what Beck does or says.
The whole blog was rambling and had no clear points. All I heard was “This is too main stream and my church didn’t organize it so it can’t be good”.



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nnmns

posted August 30, 2010 at 10:35 am


Well how about “Fox News organized it”, and News Corporation, FN’s parent, is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a foreigner, and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud of Saudi Arabia. So it’s unlikely to have America’s interests at heart.
As an atheist it doesn’t bother me that Beck’s not a Christian, but as a patriot it bothers me a lot that these people stir up war between America and a billion or so Muslims so they can get more power.



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J Joyner

posted August 30, 2010 at 10:38 am


Dr. Witherington, Please permit me to clarify “legal fiction.” It is a technical term used sometimes in academic economic discussions or legal theory discussions. It is not a political statement or a term of derision. It simply means that neither governments nor corporations can exist apart from some sort of law or mechanism of enforcement. A human does not require a vote, or a statute or a state charter in order to exist; both corporations and governments must have some “legal fiction” created by human imagination in order to exist.
Please understand my point is that neither government (some of your commenters) nor corporations can be relied upon to accomplish justice, consistently and thoroughly. The current administration clearly believes government is a superior means of promulgating justice. But government is comprised of humans who often abuse their power, just like corporations.
Also, the massive national debt must be repaid by income or wealth created by then taken from individuals like you and me, or else suffer the consequences of default. This debt is an invitation for more social injustice.



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Chap

posted August 30, 2010 at 10:47 am


I agree with the point made about our hope not being in some Americanized civic religion…it is in Christ alone. If change will happen in our country it will happen as Christ changes the heart…this is the unique job description of the church.
I do think however it is naive to think we should all just have faith and hope (not any fear) in politics. I do not like the tenor or tone of the hard left or right, but neither should we stick our head in the sand.
Joyner’s comment is one that should we addressed…
“What will ensure the government persons will consistently act justly as they extract money from others us to pay massive debts resulting from borrowing to which we were not a party and for which we received no benefit?”
This doesn’t make a concerned American fear-based–it is based in an honest fear about the future of the country and for our grandchildren. Ben, you may be right about paying for an unjust war, however it still does not justify outrageous spending by the government (which now exceeds the spending of both wars). Calling this fear-based–or subtly accusing tea-party folks (of which I don’t belong myself) as fear-based, not faith-based does not help us have honest debate about an issue we should have real fear about.



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Leanne

posted August 30, 2010 at 11:46 am


What unnerved me as I watched part of the Rally on Saturday, was the description of the Washington Mall as the Temple of Freedom. It is a blend of Mormonism (Beck) or Christianity (those Christians following Beck) with America. We are making or perhaps have already made Christianity over in the image of America. Instead of being a people who partner with God to see His kingdom come, we have established our own kingdom. Our voices sound too much like the republican or democrat parties and not enough like the Gospel.
Thanks for your post, Dr. Witherington. You have given words to what I am feeling.



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ben witherington

posted August 30, 2010 at 12:11 pm


Mr. Joyner I take exception to the whole language of ‘extraction’ when applied to taxes. The NT even advocates paying taxes to Caesar a dictator, and this is found not only in the teachings of Jesus, but also in Paul. The notion that government is some sort of system foisted on free peoples is not a helpful view of government, especially when it was precisely many of the ‘less government and less taxes folks’ who were such strong advocates for our involvement in Iraq. Please remember that before George W. Bush took office, we had a budget surplus, not a deficit at all.
As for the comment that I was not specific enough in my critique of Glenn Beck, you should read my other post on the matter. Beck, like some other Mormons is a person who tries to blend together Mormonism and Americanism in various ways. It is the syncretism of phrases like ‘temple of freedom’ which reveals what is going on in his mental cuisinart. I do not see his ideas as a way forward at all for this country if it wants to take either its civic or its religious duties and freedoms more seriously.
BW3



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Chap

posted August 30, 2010 at 2:00 pm


Ben, I applaud your analysis that is skeptical of Beck and wrapping religion around American-ism! Evangelicals (of which I consider myself) have been there done that…yuck…government, especially in bed with religion never changes the human heart.
I would only say that it is up to free people in a democracy to determine its tax burden–this is our/my civic responsibility Seems to me this is a difference between our democracy/republic and the Roman system.
I think there may also be a growing and irrational fear of free people (who seem to be conservative politically) organizing and demonstrating–outside of pro-life groups this doesn’t normally happen in American culture. I don’t think politically liberal people were concerned when we saw peaceful anti-war demonstrations (btw, what happened to those demonstrations since GW left office). I for one was never offended by these demonstrations, except for any violent expressions.
Again, I felt like taking a bath after hearing the syncretism espoused from the rally–but I did resonate with the concern people have about the mounting debt and deficit we are incurring for future generations (to me this feels like a justice issue). Yes, I felt the same about the Bush administrations disregard for this reality as well.



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Thorn

posted August 30, 2010 at 3:43 pm


Great thoughts as usual, Dr. Witherington. On a more basic level, the “get back to God” phraseology troubles me. It sounds as though the country was with God at some point in the past. I don’t think that is necessarily accurate. Maple veneer doesn’t have the same qualities as solid maple, if you catch my drift.



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Cary Hughes

posted August 30, 2010 at 8:01 pm


Outstanding blog, Dr. Witherington.



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R Mark

posted August 31, 2010 at 2:38 am


Fears about taxation and outrageous government spending, the Afghan & Iraqi wars, along with an increasingly devastating economy, combined with the antagonistic atmosphere of pundit vitriol both left and right, are all legitimate concerns for many Americans. They are issues that are felt deeply. Politicians and pundits using religion to manipulate for power is certainly nothing new in human history.
As a pastor who cares deeply about challenging the people under my charge to a Christ-centered vision of life, I am nevertheless keenly aware of the emotional pull of many of the issues raised in this string of responses to the day-to-day lives of many of my people, including myself. For anyone who cares about these issues, it sometimes feels nearly impossible not to get sucked into the fear, the emotionalism, the feeling of needing to “take a stand” or “choose a side.” It is my perception that even for many, many Christians, we have forgotten that there exists a vision for life outside of republican and democrat, which is a very deep concern to me.
I genuinely do not know the answers to most, if not all, of the many legitimate issues raised here. But I do have to say that I believe that while many of the same types of concerns and issues impacted the daily lives of early Christians, who lived under far worse political regimes and dangers, and who I would assume had the same type of variety of opinions on the various issues, nevertheless had a much more (biblically) eschatological world-view than today’s American Christians.
Obviously, it’s fine for Christians to have personal opinions about issues, whatever they are. But to care so deeply about our opinions that we get sucked into the vitriol and the name-calling and the demonizing of those who don’t see things the way we do, then I fear that we have lost sight of the Telos (which is Christ), and have instead allowed ourselves to become a bit too concerned about issues that are passing away.



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Chris G

posted August 31, 2010 at 6:44 pm


Ben,
For all of your posturing, your blog begins with precisely the derision you seem to revile Beck for. I am no Beck fan (I remember him from Louisville, KY radio back in the early 80’s…”Jerk” comes to mind and a few other terms not suitable for print). However, opening
your blog with a statement passively deriding the Lincoln Memorial rally (“a smaller rally…led by actual Civil Rights leaders”) and description of Sarah Palin as “some sort of conservative protestant” feigning a masked sarcasm doesn’t serve to bring anyone together either.
Both sides are right and both sides are wrong. Your piece only shows your issues with the right. How ’bout any issues you have the left?
Jesus hung out with the freaks and the Pharisees, so a lack of balance in your perspective seems to bely your point (or maybe it proves your point). It appears you may “care so deeply about our opinions that we get sucked into the vitriol and the name-calling and the demonizing of those who don’t see things the way we do.”



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nnmns

posted August 31, 2010 at 9:02 pm


CG Glenn might fancy himself a civil rights leader but where has he championed a minority or put himself on the line for a mistreated group? Instead he’s among those who try to convince white Americans (like me) that we are endangered, mistreated, denied rights or such. Except for the natural inclination of most people to want to feel like martyrs, that would be a hard sell. Perhaps he’s helped, as pointed out in Newsweek, that Anglo Saxon-derived Americans are soon to stop being the majority. Some of the courage-challenged probably expect all those Jews, blacks, Hispanics, Indians, Pakistanis, etc. to join forces and gang up on us. Hah!
I, personally, would worry more about that if it hadn’t been Anglos who elected GWB, likely the worst president we’ve ever had, and a whole passel of Republicans who screwed this country into the sad shape we’re in now.



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Jeremy Pierce

posted August 31, 2010 at 11:15 pm


Ben, have you actually read any of Locke’s contributions to political philosophy? He grounded human rights in God’s property rights over us. In other words. the reason why I ought to respect you and treat you as if you have rights is because you belong to God. He had a similar ground for the stewardship of God’s property in the form of land that we would have property rights for. It’s not some absolute notion of ownership. It’s much closer to biblical stewardship that your criticism allows for. I have no idea whether Beck’s view is compatible with Locke’s, but I’m not a big fan of misrepresenting people, and you misrepresented Locke pretty seriously. I’m not a fan of Locke on most issues, but I think he gets this one right.



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Drane Reynolds

posted September 1, 2010 at 2:45 am


I think all christians in the U.S. practice some form of civil religion. I say this as one who despises civil religion. Just as I also say that we are all liberals (in the history of philosophy sense). It is the environment we were raised in. It is the armosphere we have always breathed (at least in the U.S.) It is also something we must resist and attempt to constantly re-think, and reject.
That said, Beck, the “Christian right”, and other intentional forms of civil religion are clearly evil and must be rejected, while we must still attempt to win over those in that camp.



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MARTIN S.

posted September 1, 2010 at 8:08 pm


Don’t mistake grand-standing for
spirituality !!



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Quiddity

posted September 2, 2010 at 12:35 am


Re Ben’s “… it is right to be leery of the sort of uncritical amalgamation of our civic religion (‘God bless the U.S.A.’) and our Christian faith …”
I have always been puzzled by the display of the Stars and Stripes in churches (and in other countries, their national flag).



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Danny D

posted September 8, 2010 at 12:47 am


There are a few major issues going on here.
1. that many prominent evangelicals think that affirming and institutionalizing morality somehow constitutes a genuine return to God; and,
2. that when someone calls us to look to God we should disregard his/her view of who God is, which, as a Mormon, Beck has incorrectly discerned; and,
3. the veneer of ‘restoring honor’ as if this were a primary concern in a call to return to God; and,
4. the common claims by those that attended saying the rally was not theological necessitate the idea that a discussion concerning God can be without theological foundations; this impossibility would be necessary for a call to return to God that brings us together based on our common American citizenship rather than a common faith.
I find the event to have been an exercise in civil morality presented in religious terms although lacking theology and aimed at a religiously-minded group.



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