Glenn Beck Attacks the Churches and Threatens Religious Liberty

Glenn Beck “Am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”  (Fox News Photo)

Preface: This post comes in the midst of my Lenten journey in which I have become reacquainted with the works of those who confronted Nazi policies that placed their ideology over the Christian faith. During this time I was not expecting to begin to see certain commentators actually attempt to blatantly attack a key part of the witness of the Christian Church in telling Christians to place political ideology over faith and recommend that church members leave their church if it does not conform to those commentators’ political ideology.  As a historian as well as a Priest I can only draw parallels to the Nazis who placed their ideology above the Church and persecuted those who stood against them, even before they took power. Glenn Beck did just that this week, though not in power he has thrown down a gauntlet to the Church which does not agree with his ideology and strikingly urged church members to leave their churches if those churches had “social justice” as one of their belief’s equating it with Communism and Fascism. This is an attack on the church and as a Priest I cannot be silent. There would be some that will disagree saying that the Left is more of a threat and I do not disagree that ideologues on any part of the spectrum can threaten religious liberty, however I have never seen anyone as popular as Beck is with the Right, who on the Left propose what Beck has this past week.  That is why I must oppose Beck on this issue now. I do hope that my readers understand that this is not an attack on conservatives or conservative principles but rather against a man whose ideas if carried to their logical conclusion would be dangerous. Beck talks a lot about faith and religion on his show which attracts many listeners but he seems to believe that religious expression is one in the same with political ideology.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

“It is not God who divides us but human beings. The Almighty has blessed our work; therefore it cannot be destroyed. No power within or without the Reich will keep us from going our way into the future.” Adolf Hitler speaking in an address at Regensburg July 7th 1937 referring to the arrests of 11 Catholic Priests who condemned Nazi policies.

“We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds; we have been drenched by many storms; we have learnt the arts of equivocation and pretence; experience has made us suspicious of others and kept us from being truthful and open; intolerable conflicts have worn us down and even made us cynical. Are we still of any use?” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.” Martin Niemöller

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body [is] joined and knit together.” (Eph. 4:15,16)

The Christian Church is the congregation of the brethren in which Jesus Christ acts presently as the Lord in Word and sacrament through the Holy Spirit. As the Church of pardoned sinners, it has to testify in the midst of a sinful world, with its faith as with its obedience, with its message as with its order, that it is solely his property, and that it lives and wants to live solely from his comfort and from his direction in the expectation of his appearance.

We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church were permitted to abandon the form of its message and order to its own pleasure or to changes in prevailing ideological and political convictions.” The Barmen Declaration Article Three.

I do not think that people learn anything from history.  This week Glenn Beck called his own church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints “Communist or Fascist” its official statements of beliefs regarding social justice.  Now I may disagree with LDS theology but I hardly think them to be Communist or Fascist in fact I think for the most part they are to be commended for their love of this country as well as their ethic of doing good and taking care of needy LDS members.  Not only did Beck call his own church these rather pejorative names but he recommended that people not only leave the church but urged the same for any member of any church that espouses social justice in their official beliefs.  To quote Beck:

“I’m begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words ’social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”

Beck went on the attack this week against churches who teach social justice.  The reason according to Beck is that “Social justice was the rallying cry—economic justice and social justice—the rallying cry on both the communist front and the fascist front….” He went on and attacked his own church saying “Where I go to church, there are members that preach social justice as members–my faith doesn’t–but the members preach social justice all the time. It is a perversion of the gospel….” When called out had to try to reframe his very clear attack on his own church’s official doctrine as well as so many other churches and religions groups.  Speaking as a Christian I cannot answer for other religions but Beck has attacked the clear commands of Scripture and the Christian tradition of caring for the least and the lost in elevating his ideology above both his own church as well as the vast majority of Christian faith and belief that goes back 2000 years.  He has sought to divide people from their churches and from the faithful of their traditions for political expediency.  However Beck is not the first to do so.  Let us take a trip back to the end of the Weimar Republic and Nazi era….

Niemöller in WWI Inperial Navy Uniform

Martin Niemöller was a war hero.  He had served on U-Boats during the First World War and commanded a U-Boat in 1918 sinking a number of ships.  After the war he resigned his commission in the Navy in opposition to the Weimar Republic and briefly was a commander in a local Freikorps unit. His book Vom U-Boot zur Kanzel (From U-boat to Pulpit) traced his journey from the Navy to the pastorate. He became a Pastor and as a Christian opposed what he believed to be the evils of Godless Communism and Socialism.  This placed him in the very conservative camp in the years of the Weimar Republic and he rose in the ranks of the United Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union.  Active in conservative politics, Niemöller initially support the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor.  However, he quickly soured on Hitler due to his insistence on the state taking precedence over the Church.  Niemöller was typical of many Germans of his era and harbored ant-Semitic sentiments that he only completely abandoned his anti-Semitic views until after he was imprisoned.  He would spend 8 years as a prisoner of the Nazis a period hat he said changed him including his views about Jews, Communists and Socialists.  Niemöller was one of the founding members of the Pfarrernotbund (Pastor’s Emergency Federation) and later the Confessing Church. He was tried and imprisoned in concentration camps due to his now outspoken criticism of the Hitler regime.

Herman Maas was another Evangelical Pastor.  Unlike Niemöller, Maas was a active participant in the ecumenical movement, built bridges to the Jewish community and defended the rights of Jews as German citizens.  He received a fair amount of criticism for his attendance of Reichspräsident Friedrich Ebert’s funeral.  Ebert was both a Socialist and avowed atheist.  Maas too was active in the Pfarrernotbund and the Confessing church, and unlike Niemöller maintained his opposition to anti-Semitism and the Nazi policies against the Jews. He would help draft the Barmen declaration.  He too would be imprisoned and survive the war.  Maas was the first non-Jewish German to be officially invited to the newly formed state of Israel in 1950. In July 1964 Yad Vashem recognized the Maas as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.

Bonhoeffer in Nazi Prison in 1944

Dietrich Bonhoeffer a young Pastor and theologian would also step up to oppose the Nazis and offer support for the Jews.  He helped draft the Bethel Confession which among other things rejected “every attempt to establish a visible theocracy on earth by the church as a infraction in the order of secular authority. This makes the gospel into a law. The church cannot protect or sustain life on earth. This remains the office of secular authority.”  He also helped draft the Barmen declaration which opposed and condemned Nazi Christianity.  Bonhoeffer would eventually along with members of his family take an active role in the anti-Nazi resistance as a double agent for Admiral Canaris’ Abwehr.  For this he would be executed after his final sermon in the concentration camp at Flossenburg just a month prior to the end of the war.

Karl Barth convicted of “Seducing the German people” and exiled to his native Switzerland

Another opponent of the Nazis in the Confessing Church was Swiss-German theologian Karl Barth.  Barth angrily denounced Naziism when it attempted to create new “German Christian” churches in which National Socialist political theories were given the same sanctity as theological dogma.  Barth went into exile as a Swiss citizen after being removed from his professorship at the University of Bonn for refusing to take the mandatory oath to Adolf Hitler, alter his teaching to meet Nazi standards or begin class with the customary “Heil Hitler!” He would say that it would be in bad taste “to begin a commentary on the Sermon on the Mount with Heil Hitler.” For his efforts he was found guilty by a Nazi court of “seducing the minds” of German students.  For an excellent short article on Barth see “Witness to an Ancient Truth” Time Magazine April 20th 1962 online at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,873557-1,00.html

Fr Rupert Meyer the “Apostle of Munich” and steadfast opponent of Hitler

Bishop Galen of Münster and Father and others including Father Rupert Meyer in Munich who opposed Hitler in the early 1920s would also oppose the Nazi policies toward the Church, the Jews and Nazi policies on euthanasia.  They would also end up in concentrations camps with some dying at the hands of the Nazis, in fact over 2000 priests and Protestant ministers from Germany and occupied countries were housed at Dachau.

All these men took risks to defend the Jews who were religious minority group that had been traditionally discriminated against in Germany as well as other groups, political and religious.  They opposed the Nazi policies which were widely supported by much of the German populace making them unpopular in their own churches as well as among the traditionally conservative supporters of the Evangelical and Catholic Churches.  Since I have dealt with the Nazi persecution and atrocities against the Jews and others in other posts I will not elaborate further here.

General Wilhelm Groener, despised by the Nazis for saving the by working with Socialists to prevent a Communist takeover

Not only were Jews the enemy but so were any parties that disagreed with the Nazi policies including the church or rather the church that refused to surrender to them.  Likewise military officers who stood by the Republic against Nazi and other right-wing putsches during the 1920s, men who risked all to defend the rights of people on both sides of the political chasm that divided the country.

Deposed after the Nazi seizure of power General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord was deposed as head of the German Army and in retirement worked against the Nazis including the Valkyrie plot until his death from Cancer in 1944

Leftist accused them of being reactionaries and Monarchists while the right did whatever they could to discredit men like General Wilhelm Groener, General Major Walther Reinhardt, General der Infantrie Georg Maerker, General der Infrantie Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord and General Kurt von Schleicher were either driven from office and ostracized, forced out of the military or in the case of von Schleicher killed by the SS during the “night of the long knives.”

Confidant of President Hindenburg, opponent of the Nazis and briefly Chancellor of the Weimar Republic General Kurt von Schleicher would be assassinated by the Nazis during the Night of the Long Knives

Additionally other men who kept the German Republic from becoming a Communist state notably Gustave Noske of the Social Democratic Party who was the first Reichswehr Minister and who with his successor Otto Geßler of the German Democratic Party worked with the military leadership to keep both the extreme left in the form of the Spartacist League, the Independent Socialists and from the extreme Right who attempted to overthrow the government in the Kapp Putsch.  All were treated shamefully by the Nazis and even their successors did not fare well, to consolidate power Hitler had the General Leutnant Werner Freiherr von Fritsch falsely accused of homosexual acts and disgraced and evidence points to his murder on the Polish front in 1939 as the “honorary colonel” of his old Regiment.  Those who opposed Hitler and the Nazis later in the war, even those who were genuine heroes were put to death before Nazi “People’s Courts.”  They did the same with politicians who they viewed to be threats to their rule, even conservatives not just Socialists or Communists.  Religious leaders who resisted both Protestant and Catholic were sent to concentration camps where many did not return from.

Too frequently we here Beck and others call Americans with views different from their ideology “traitors” or “un American.” Before Iraq I listened to talk radio almost every day and when I came back I could no longer stomach the invective and malice that is so widespread among these commentators.  If they continue to dominate “conservative” politics then I fear that they will use the power of the government and media to silence those that oppose them and it will not matter if the opponent has served in the military as they routinely condemn former high ranking military officers who disagree with them such. These propagandists are not patriots and neither Beck nor any of the major conservative talk show hosts have served a day in the military yet they influence “conservative” opinion more than anyone else and dare to slander those in the military or those who have served honorably including Senator John McCain who dare to disagree with them. The Nazis did the same thing.

Today we face a similar movement by some “conservative” voices in the United States.  Many influential members of the “conservative” media, including Rush Limbaugh and most recently Glenn Beck who I have previously referred to own the airwaves, their words listened to often more than those of the Gospel.  They derive some of their popularity from voicing support for “Christian moral values” such as being against abortion.  This has endeared them to many conservative Christians who listen to them more than their faith or religious institutions.  Unfortunately many “conservative” Christians cannot differentiate between the vitriolic and un-Christian rage of these talkers against anyone identified as the enemy that they have forgotten the Gospel and become simply an appendage to Republican or “conservative” politicians.  It is not uncommon to see Christians on the web or on the call in talk radio programs agree lock stock and barrel Beck and others on the crass materialism and social Darwinism of “pure” Capitalism and the anti-Christian policy of pre-emptive war, even when they attacked Pope John Paul II when he refused to countenance the invasion of Iraq. Beck uses Scripture only to give his ideology, whatever it may be some semblance of decency.  What Karl Barth said of Nazi ideology can be said of Beck’s ideology: “This was a nationalist heresy…. confusion between God and the spirit of the German nation.” Pundits and politicians on the Left may also place ideology over religion however they seldom espouse the heresy of linking the Christian faith with the spirit and destiny of the United States.

That may seem harsh, but there is a group led by Andrew Schlafly the “Conservative Bible project” that seek to re-translate the Bible into their own political, social and economic policies even seeking to change or minimize any Scripture that might be equated with to the “Social Gospel.” I guess if Beck wants he can get a copy when it comes out.  If you don’t like what Scripture says change it…right?

I cannot sit by while Beck and others smear people including churches who disagree with their ideology which does not rest on Scripture or but merely uses it to inflame people into actions that turn them against the members of their own churches.  This unfortunately is evil masquerading as good.  Too many turned their eyes away from the Nazi menace thinking that Hitler could be reasoned with and that he really stood for their values.  Too few stood up early to sound a warning.  My issue with Beck and others like him be they pundits, talk show hosts, media personalities or politicians of any stripe regardless of whether they come from the right or the left do what Beck did this week I will call them on it.  People can play political games and fight all they want but when they attack the Church for political and ideological gain, seek to divide it against itself or co-opt churches to do their bidding then I have a problem.  I do not care if that threat comes from the Left as it sometimes does or the Right where a few years ago I would not think it was possible to come from. Unfortunately Beck’s message is main stream to many of his followers regardless of their faith and this is a threat to religious freedom for if those like Beck gained power then religious freedom would only be for those who agree not with Scripture or 2000 years of the Christian tradition but for those who agree with the ideology espoused by Beck and those like him.  It would be the “freedom” of the German Christians who gave themselves to the Nazi ideology to be “free.”  Ideas have consequences and when one advocates revolution and for people to leave their churches for any political ideology it is a grave threat to religious freedom.

Beck and those like him are enemies of freedom of religion. For Beck that cannot be blamed on being a Mormon. In fact he has attacked, perverted and misconstrued the doctrine of that church as well as the Roman Catholic Church and numerous Protestant denominations spanning the theological spectrum simply because he paints them “progressives” which is simply another word for Communist or Fascist. Beck is an enemy of religious liberty because he places his political ideology over that of the Gospel, not just that of his own church, but others.  That is why he should be opposed and confronted every time that he makes such statements. They reveal his true heart, ideology and intentions and no amount of backtracking, excuses or attempts to change the subject can alter that hard cold and brutal fact. His sleight of hand to go on the attack and criticize offenders on the left, notably Jeremiah Wright only clouds the issue and does not change the fundamental truth of Beck’s worldview. Likewise his attempt to separate the Church from the poor is destructive and if Christians want to follow Beck’s teaching then they chose evil over truth. As Father James Martin SJ said in America “Glenn Beck’s desire to detach social justice from the Gospel is a subtle move to detach care for the poor from the Gospel.  But a church without the poor, and a church without a desire for a just social world for all, is not the church.  At least not the church of Jesus Christ.” http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?blog_id=2&id=21159420-3048-741E-7761300524585116

To again quote the Barmen Declaration”

“Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matt. 28:20.) “The word of God is not fettered.” (2 Tim. 2:9.)

The Church’s commission, upon which its freedom is founded, consists in delivering the message of th free grace of God to all people in Christ’s stead, and therefore in the ministry of his own Word and work through sermon and sacrament.

We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church in human arrogance could place the Word and work of the Lord in the service of any arbitrarily chosen desires, purposes, and plans.” The Barmen Declaration Article 6

I am afraid of the Glenn Beck’s of the world.  We appear to be at a precipice that we may or may not be able to pull back from. The Nazis used the same kind of language to attack the Christian faith and co-opt the vast majority of them. Men like Niemöeller, Bonhoeffer and many others were sent to the concentration camps, tried by kangaroo courts and some killed.  I was on another blog where the discussion of this has been heated. I don’t like getting called a communist by allegedly “Christian” people who have bought Beck’s vision hook, line and sinker. If this is Beck’s version of the faith he can keep it.  Unfortunately the rhetoric is so high, the division so deep and the anger so real that I am afraid that the fuse of violence may have been laid and that nothing will stop it especially with Beck  and others stoking the fire on a daily basis on television and radio. Beck seems to be predicting and almost hoping for some kind of violent revolution seizing upon the now boiling anger on the Right and to some extent on the Left, anger that has consumed and co-opted so many conservative Christians is so great that at sometimes I wonder if this can end well though I do not predict civil war or revolution like Beck.

While I criticize Beck I cannot exclude from criticism those on the Left who have used angry, inflamed and hateful language and actions which also raises ante in ideological clash because it does take more than one faction to stir the witches’ cauldron of hatred which threatens not just religious liberty, but all liberty in this nation.  I will pray for peace, respect and mutual understanding and I will not give up hope or resign myself to despair as my faith is in Christ crucified and resurrected.  I will maintain the faith and remember the words of Bonhoeffer which help to undergird me in times like these:

“The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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24 Comments

Filed under faith, History, philosophy, Religion

24 responses to “Glenn Beck Attacks the Churches and Threatens Religious Liberty

  1. Padre Steve,

    Your church is false along with your religion.

    With eyes wide open, the Catholic religion persecuted Anabaptists and other children of God for over 600 years with the approval of the Pope, who is an affront to Christ, since Yeshua is the Head of the body of Christ. They even made numerous torture devices to TORTURE people as young as FOURTEEN years old to DEATH. No kingdom can stand if divided against itself.

    I have even seen a picture of Catholic hierarchy making the Nazi hand-raised symbol.

    Heck, even the Vatican’s own excorcist says Satan is at work at the Vatican.

    Flee all denominations and all who advocate “social justice,” since if a man will not work, he should not eat.

    BTW, used to be Catholic and went to Catholic school.

    Thanks for listening,
    777denny

    • padresteve

      Denny

      Thank you for your kind words

      I have seen your blog many times and to be charitable I find it hard to think that you are a Christian, though I do trust the grace of God even in cases like yours. For a person who calls there bog “The Gospel of Eternal Life” I see little but extreme right wing political commentary bordering on psychotic. When you do talk of faith it sounds to be one of the most oppressive and hateful forms of “Christianity that I have ever seen. I have refrained numerous times from posting criticisms of your beliefs on your blog. I figure that you have as much right to believe and preach what you want as I do. However since you have elected to blast me I might occasionally show up.

      By the way I am not a Roman Catholic Priest I am an Anglican who grew attended a Southern Baptist Seminary and I’m sure that you can find a lot wrong with that too and it doesn’t bother me a bit. If you had read the “about” tab you would have realized that fact. It pays to do a little research before you make yourself like like an irrational idiot on this site.

      I do not need to defend the Catholic Church, they are big enough to defend themselves, but I will lift up those who stood against Hitler even as many of their brothers did not. I’ve seen the same pictures and know that there were many Catholics, including some of the hierarchy who were devoted Hitlerites and not just in Germany. At the same time there were a good number who resisted to the point of giving up their lives as martyrs. I have been to Dachau and visited the “Priest Barracks” where up to 2000 Priests and ministers we held, starved, beaten and many killed or died of diseases while caring for other prisoners. You should also take a look at the popularity of the Nazis in this country in the 1930s as well, they had a lot of friends here including Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh.

      As far as torture devices I would have imagined that you would approve of such devices as I would imagine from what you write that you are a fan of torture of course as long as they are people that you disapprove of. In fact from reading your blog that me and others like me would be silenced and persecuted in a lot of really cool and exciting ways. That is probably what makes guys like you and Glenn Beck so much fun at parties.

      As far as them persecuting people you should see what Zwingli did to Anabaptists, really sweet because they were former students of his. Almost every church with the possible exception of the Anabaptists and Mennonites have engaged in some form of persecution of those that they disapprove of and unfortunately many American denominations and our Founding Fathers considered blacks to only be 3/5ths of a person and heartily approved of slavery. The Puritans were really good about religious liberty, especially theirs if you had lived in hte Massachusetts Bay Colony they would have eaten your lunch. You are no historian and a bad theologian and sound like a pretty angry dude, dude.

      Denny you may have gone to Catholic school and hate that church including the Pope and I am sure that you have your reasons, maybe you or one of your friends or family was abused or molested by a Priest or Nun, you write as if you were an abused child and if that happened to you I am sorry. If the Catholic Church or school that you went to or those who worked in it those people should pay in this life and the next. Abuse is abuse and many times the abused become abusers themselves. Looking at your blog again especially your tab related to “false doctrines” regarding sex it really looks like you have some issues, I don’t know what they are as I am not a shrink however dealing with a lot of military members who have been sexually abused, including Christians, it indicates to me that indeed you might have been sexually abused and that you probably need to get some professional help. You can’t go on as angry as you are, it will eventually either drive you mad or lead to physical illness.

      I grieve for you. I really do and will pray for you since you have taken the time to enter into my world. People like you and Glenn Beck scare me but at the same time I cannot hate you or or Mr Beck. The call of Christ is to love you and care what happens to you. Maybe you will need someone to look after you someday when you can no longer work and have driven people away from you because of your anger.

      God’s Peace

      Padre Steve+

      • padresteve,

        I believe all denominalationism to be false, yours not the exception.

        My Jesus is ANGRY at His children who promote false doctrines and pervert the Word of God. The reason I know this is because Yeshua IS the Word of God, these things recorded in holy scripture for all to see and read.

        Jesus said to the man who gave him the talent that had been given to him, “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

        29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

        I am NOT asking to people to follow me if and when I am in error, but rather the Word of God, which CANNOT be altered no matter how many join hand in hand to convince others that is can be.

        I am to warn all to go back to heed what the clear teachings of the bible are, and not what man has put together and made as a new religion(s).

        You have said so in your own words that you think that only a few groups have not
        persecuted Christians. Think about that. A kindom cannot be divided against itself and the gates of Hell would not be able to overcome the body of Christ, his church.

        The Anabaptists had NO NAME because they were following pretty closely to the scriptures in most things (there were NO denominations at the beginning, since MAN is the one who started this). Notice the early Christians had to deal with the Satanic Gnostic teachings, that eventually Augustine of Hippo was heavily influenced by, which basically believes that all flesh is evil, including babies. This man heavily influenced the Catholic church and those involved with the Reformation that essentially brings us to the denomations that exist today.

        Now why would Satan be against those that wanted to baptise people and put them completely UNDER the water, just like John was doing when Jesus came up OUT of the water and God said that He was well pleased? But John’s paptism was for SINNERS to make the path straight for the Son of God, so why did Jesus have to be baptised?

        This all goes back to getting rid of speaking in tongues and perverting the way the Holy Spirity is supposed to operate as believers assemble together to partake in seeking his will as sainst of God.

        The Anabaptists were opposed to Satan’s idea of baptising infants, and the Catholic church, Lutherans and Calvanists all persecuted them FOR that reason.

        I think that I have given you enough information to continue to disregard my words, or to ask some basic questions as to what happened to the Truth along the way of of man’s religion. Remember that Yeshua warned us that if we add or take away from the book of Revelation, there would be severe consequences. You may call that anger, and you would be RIGHT!

        Thanks for listening,
        777denny

      • padresteve

        Denny Denny Denny

        There you go again, you are so fun. I don’t want to spend times shooting your arguments down in flames it would be like shooting fish in a barrel and not very sporting of my to do that to you. Contrary to what you said about “getting rid of speaking in tongues” is silly. Since most on the Protestant and especially the Pentecostal side of the house bough into the dispensational belief that the Holy Spirit kind of quite after the Apostles died and that everything got rigt again at in 1901 in Kansas and later at Azuza street.in 1906. That was cool, but missed by all were that many Catholic saints from the end of the Apostolic era not only believe in the gift of tounges but used it, nor did they stop believing in spiritual warfare. St Anthony the Desert Father and Monk has an amazing book about the spiriual battles that he engaged in and there are many others like him.

        Of course I agree with you that Jesus is grieved at the brokenness and the division of the church and my prayer is that the divisions will cease and we will be one just ans the Father and Son are at the same time I don’t see “Angry Jesus” .

        So anyway, I will pray for you as I am concerned about your anger controlling you and that it will lead you into a place that you cannot step back from, maybe even to blasphemy Jesus by transferring your again to him. Doing that you make a God in your image and again I think thinks like that get the term idolatry.

        Peace be with you and your house.

        Padre Steve+

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        “A fanatic does what God would want done — If God only KNEW What Was REALLY Going On.”
        — can’t remember where I heard that one, but it’s good

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        Hey, Denny the Uber-Protestant:

        The Treaty of Westphalia ended the Reformation Wars in 1648. It is now 2010. Sorry you never got the news.

  2. Sam smith

    Great piece. Nice to see the morals and positive aspects of the church continued in your blog.

    It is unfortunate that people like Beck pray on the ignorant.

  3. Zoe

    Thanks for the insights.
    P.S.
    I’m praying for Denny and getting all my friends to pray for him too.

  4. Larry C.

    Great article Steve.

    Thanks for reminding us that the history of Christian resistance to the Nazi movement was done by Christians on the Left and Right and from all communions.

    Denny reminds me of myself when I was very young, fundamentalist “Bible-believer”and had lots of passion and chuzpah but little knowledge about the complex history of the church, theology , politics or life itself. After being a right-wing zealot for many years, it finally starting sinking in that my mentors in the conservative world had been wrong on just about any issue.

    I recently laughed when I heard Glenn Beck favorbly quote Martin Luther King, Jr., when in the 60s, Beck’s predecessors in the John Birch Society and Radical Right, painted King as a communist and the Civil Rights movement was nothing but a conspiracy to set up a Soviet styled socialist “Negro State” in the middle of the US! I know about this because I was a teenage John Bircher in the early-mid 70s. The John Birchers had absolute proof that King was a communist, when they showed a picture of Dr. King at a “communist training camp” in Tennessee (the “Highlander Folk School”). Of course, Highlander was not a communist “training camp” but a liberal activist and labor organizing retreat center. People like W. Clean Skousen, whose John Birch conspiracy books Beck has reprinted and promotes on his shows, was a believer in the Martin Luther King, Jr. is a communist view.

    Beck is articulate and entertaining, but he is way over his head when he starts throwing out comments about history, scripture and tries to twist it to fit his own personal prejudices. Fox News has done our nation a great disservice by giving someone so poorly informed a national bully pulpit from which to nightly spew all his crapolo. But, he does get great ratings which translates into huge profits, and that is the bottom line for “Fox News”.

    As a substance abuse counselor, Beck is a classic “dry drunk” alcoholic. . . .someone who is not drinking, but who is not really practicing a program of recovery, which includes things like practicing honesty, humility, truthfulness, tolerance and compassion in his daily life. Dry drunks, like active drinking drunks, like to rant and rave about things as a way to divert attention from their own pathologies and lies. Beck cannot be a happy person, though he is very successful. He will eventually crash and burn with all this anger and willingness to slander good people and good causes, and his media house of smoke and mirrors after him.

    • padresteve

      Larry

      Funny bit not huh? Beck can be witty and even funny. He is articulate but way out of his league when it comes to history, theology, political science and probably baseball…he wouldn’t understand the nuances. Having worked with a fair amount of alcoholic or recovering alcoholics in the military I have to say that you are indeed correct about Beck. He fits the profile.

      Blessings my friend

      Steve+

  5. Padre Steve,
    I don’t like Glenn Beck on a good day, and as you probably realized from visiting my site, I am one of those flaming liberals. That being said, though, I really object to Beck’s comments about religion and politics (more than just my usual objections about his malarkey). Too much harm has been done throughout history by those who purport to know the “truth” and incite others to believe that there can be only one truth, one way of examining things. Your comparison to Nazi Germany is spot on. Social justice has nothing to do with fascism or communism. Anyone who takes the time to do a bit of research should be able to figure that out.

    Have you ever read any Primo Levi?

    • padresteve

      Dear Poietes

      Thank you for your kind words. It is sad that people like Beck so shameless “baptize” their political views and use faith as weapon to destroy those that thye disagree with. In the post that I will publish later today I mention how Beck is threatening Jim Wallis of Sojourners. They don’t care about social justice or for that matter justice, so long as they are in charge of being the judge.

      I will “Google” this Primo Levi as I do not know anything about him.

      Thank you and blessings

      Padre Steve+

  6. Dear Padre Steve, Thank you for your excellent article on Bonhoeffer, Barth, Niemoller, and others who courageously defied the Nazis and paid for it with their lives. About Beck and his demonizing Teddy Roosevelt, the Progressive movement,
    “social justice,” etc., just consider it as “The Education of Glenn Beck.” He’s learned a little something and thinks it’s the complete picture. Take “social justice.” He’s right that there are Marxists who use that phrase as code for socialism. But go to Acts of the Apostles, at the end of chapter 4, and you’ll see that Karl Marx got his “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” from the Bible (also in chapter 2). But don’t stop there, go on to chapter 5. There you learn from the words of Peter that this was all voluntary, that private property was affirmed, and that the communal sharing was within the Nazarene community (not called Christians yet) and not coerced by the state.

    • padresteve

      Dear Dwight

      Thank you for yoyr kind words. I actually talked about the Biblical references in a follow up article today. You are so right on what you mention. Jesus and the apostles didn’t go around quoting Adam Smith.

      Blessings!

      Steve+

      • Your last sentence, “Jesus and the apostles didn’t go around quoting Adam Smith” has me confused. They were not proto-Marxists either. Did you fail to go on to chapter 5 in Acts, the Ananias and Saphira event, where Peter makes three points:
        1. Sharing, having “all things in common” was strictly voluntary.
        2. Private property was affirmed.
        3. This “communitarianism” had nothing to do with the state. It was only within the community of believers, the nascent Christian community.

        I’m sorry I’m making a lot out of the tag line in your hurried reply. I don’t enjoy arguments over Scripture. But I just came away from two examples of not reading enough and coming to anti-Jewish sentiments:
        1. Reading John 1:11 and not going on to verse 12.
        2. The lectionary was amiss (deliberately?) leaving out Luke 22:1-6 from the Passion Narrative.

        Happy Resurrection Day! Your brother in Christ, Dwight

      • padresteve

        Dwight

        As always thank you my brother for your comments. I do appreciate them and also wish you a happy Easter.

        When I cite this I am specifically dealing w3ith the modern understanding of Capitalism which is far removed from what the early Church practiced. While private property is affirmed some places in scripture and not in others within the community of believers the affirmation of private property in scripture not the same as Adam Smith’s economic social Darwinism. Even in the Old Testament property rights were revocable. A family which lost its property was required to have it returned to them by those who had purchased it at the end of 50 years. My problem with Beck and others is that they superimpose a modern understanding of Capitalism on scripture and cultures which were primarily agrarian as if Capitalism was the norm. It is similar to how the Roman Catholic Scholastic theologians “baptized” Aristotle’s philosophical model and made it the official church doctrine. Beck and others due the same with things that are uniquely Anglo-American and try to force them into Scripture as well as cultures that they have nothing in common with.

        As far as “anti-Jewish’ sentiments I am not presenting those whatsoever. I am very careful about that because of what others who harbor real anti-semetic sentiments have done. As far as scripture goes I pretty much stick to the lectionary readings of a particular day. I think that it keeps me honest as otehrwise I might left to my own devices just do what I want. Since the lectionary readings from the synoptic Gospels are in a three year cycle and the church has over the years tried to soften the harshness of how the medieval church placed so much blame on the Jews I know that at least in the Anglican tradition this anti-Jewish prejudice is not the case. . The Episcopal and Anglican lectionaries do the utmost not to avoid even the appearance of blaming the Jews alone as do many like Mel Gibson. The only reason that that section is left out of the Passion narrative on Passion Sunday as it is part of the Good Friday readings in John 18. There is no avoiding this in the lectionary. There is also the reality that the reading of the Passion narrative is quite long and that to include something that will be prominent in the Good Friday readings is simply a way to save a minute or two.

        Again my friend thank you for your comments I do take them seriously and even if I disagree with them I will treat you with respect and love as a brotehr in Christ.

        Blessings

        Steve+

  7. casper

    Padre Steve,
    Glenn Beck was speaking about listening to the words of your preacher, if they dont fit with the message of your church alert the authorities of that church or find a new one. He is asking people of all faiths including his own to watch out for hidden political agendas by priests or bishops. I myself am also LDS and a conservative, but I believe all men have the right to pray how they see fit. I appreciate your comments however I feel you missed the point he was trying to make. churches and citizens helping people is charity, a good thing! but when a government takes from one group to give to another it is theft. socialism and marxism are a great threat to our freedoms in this country including freedom of religion. All he wants is for us to watch out for radical religious zealots who have a political agenda behind thier preaching. I listen to Beck as well as other conservative shows and he is one who is still willing to keep god in the message of saving this country.
    thanks again for your comments, I can tell you really are a good Christian and are trying to bring home Christs people.Thank You and God Bless-Ryan Casper

    • padresteve

      Ryan
      Thank you for your comments. While I may disagree with your assessment of Beck and his actions. In his case though he attacked teachings that a key part of the Gospel and taught and believed not only by many Christians outside of th4e LDS church but the LDS church itself. My view of Beck is that he twists the Gospel into something that it is not, simply a venue to buttress his own political beliefs. I know that people on the left do this too, but Beck’s is more insidious because it ties God country and political agenda so tightly together that the Gospel itself is lost in translation. I do thank you for your comments and your gentlemanly tone. God bless you always,
      Peace,
      Steve+

  8. bio_9

    Dear Padre Steve,

    Reading this comment thread and about the misleadership of Glenn Beck exhausts me and makes me thankful I became a Baha’i and therefore am not beholden to any pastor, personality or denominational doctrine, and am free from feeling obliged to pass judgment on the so-called “unwashed.” That said, I also am grateful for pastors like Richard Foster, Soong-Chan Rah and Dietrich Bonhoeffer for getting down to the fundamental teachings of Christianity and showing them for their healing, unifying and compassionate intentions. Their lessons made me who I am today. In regards to Bonhoeffer, I think it’s disgraceful how his memory has been appropriated by the very kind of polarizing attitudes he endeavored to rise above. His memory has no place on Glenn Beck, on Keith Olbermann, or in any way in American political discourse.

    Bio_9

    • padresteve

      I do not know if you are saying that I am appropriating Bonhoeffer’s memory wrongly or if Beck and Olbermann do so. As I am not a regular follower of either man except when they say really idiotic things I do not know if either is appropriating Bonhoeffer on their shows. But you are mistaken in saying that you are not beholden to any personality or denominational doctrine. Baha’i does not exist in a theological or philosophical vacuum. It has its own faith, scripture and beliefs which its followers subscribe to. Since you are a convert to Baha’i the assertion that you are not beholden to any personality or denominational doctrine is a false proposition. You rejected one set of beliefs in favor of Baha’i. I offer no criticism of you becoming Baha’i but just point out the logical fallacy of your assertion. You believe because something about Baha’i convinced you and to be a faithful Baha’i you must as any follower of any religion must be beholden to the claims of that religion.

  9. Pingback: DOMA Struck Down: The Day After our 30th Wedding Anniversary | Padresteve's World...Musings of a Passionate Moderate

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