So, Glenn Beck decides to hold a Christian revival at the Lincoln Memorial this weekend, on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and we can’t even get an accurate account of how many people attended? It’s the “Million Man March” all over again. In fact, the National Parks Service stopped giving crowd projections after that last scandal, when Louis Farrakhan accused them of grossly downsizing the estimated attendance.
People need an accurate, straightforward account of the news, not just opinion-driven commentary. This kind of marshalling of the troops, this call-to-arms, is important because of what it represents to our country. Beck’s revival, along with the anti-Islamic sentiment expressed in arguments against the “mosque at Ground Zero,” signify a disturbing trend in America.
Our economic unrest is manifesting itself in xenophobia and racial distrust, the kind that brought Hitler to power. Beck’s audience showed up in Washington to “restore America,” to reaffirm our national values and take back America for Christian traditionalists. They railed against Obama’s “liberation theology,” and stoked the fires of religious bigotry by insinuating that he’s not a Christian, meaning he’s not their kind of Christian, and is therefore a Muslim who was not born in this country.
Christopher Hitchens writes, “In a rather curious and confused way, some white people are starting almost to think like a minority, even like a persecuted one. What does it take to believe that Christianity is an endangered religion in America or that the name of Jesus is insufficiently spoken or appreciated? Who wakes up believing that there is no appreciation for our veterans and our armed forces and that without a noisy speech from Sarah Palin, their sacrifice would be scorned?”
The religious hysteria that was Glenn Beck’s family values revival is not going to disappear if we ignore it or try to laugh it off. Americans are anxious and are looking for a leader. Obama should be that leader for America. We did elect him after all. Nature abhors a vacuum and we will inevitably cling to someone. Let’s just hope it’s not Glenn Beck.