Monday, July 19, 2010

Right Wing Televangelism

"If Jesus Christ came back today and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up." ~ Woody Allen

This is the quote that came to mind today as I was reading some of what Glenn Beck said at a recent political rally in Salt Lake City. Glenn has taken on a Robert Tilton/Televangelist style of teary eyed appeals to the religious Right... and they are eating it up hook, line, and sinker. Tilton must be kicking himself for not adding Right-Wing politics to his formula years ago.

I can assume we are going to hear more and more "Jesus Talk" coming from Glenn in the months to come. This stuff sells.

“God is not having us hang by a thread,” he said to open the show, moments after choking up in the first of dozens of emotional pauses. “He has put a rope down for us to hang onto. … I promise you that the Lord is going to reveal himself and Americans are going to stand together again.(SL Tribune)

Glenn Beck knows what so many have known before him. Nothing brings in the money better than fear and the creation of an outside group; add God to that equation, and you can get the masses in tow.

Glenn knows what Carnegie knew in the recent movie The Book of Eli. Carnegie (played by Gary Oldman) wanted a Bible (Bibles in this apocalyptic future had all been destroyed) because he knew he could use it to control people. Carnegie said:

"IT'S NOT A *&^%$#' BOOK!  IT'S A WEAPON. A weapon aimed right at the hearts and minds of the weak and the desperate. It will give us control of them. If we want to rule more than one small, #$@%^' town, we have to have it. People will come from all over, they'll do exactly what I tell 'em if the words are from the book. It's happened before and it'll happen again. All we need is that book."

Yep. Glenn is tapping into that.... and I don't think he has peaked in his God-talk yet.

Though there are some beautiful things being done in the name of Jesus, overall I think Woody had it right.


Krista said...

I just want to take a moment and thank you for your attempts to chronicle the fallacies of the "religion" of Christianity.

In theory I agree with you, then when you say it in print it gets stuck in my throat (except when you discuss Beck: on him we totally agree). So I ponder on it, turn it over in my mind. I don't always come down on the same side of the fence with you, but wow do you get those neurons firing.

I would personally prefer to seek out positive examples of ways God is working in our world. To see the wonder in the interconnectedness of all things, and point to him as the author of all that is good. "Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." (The Bible, Philippians, chapter 4, verse 8)

Unfortunately, the cynics, the skeptics, and the wounded aren't looking there. They are looking at all the perceived inconsistencies between God's words and the actions of God's people. So I also deeply appreciate your brutal honesty. The first part of that quote starts, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right..." That is what you think on and fill your mind with.

Keep it up. Your words make me crazy, but sometimes truth hurts, eh?

Tommy said...

In the story of jesus in the temple, I'm pretty sure what was going through his head was not "all things that were good". If one did what that verse on the surface says to do one would be in a deluded mindset and psychologically unhealthy. We need to expose those who use what is beautiful for their own twisted reasons.

Andrew said...

Thank you Krista for your thoughtful reply. As a classroom teacher, I really appreciate that neurons were firing, regardless of disagreement. :)

Tommy - That is a interesting point about Jesus.... and I think it always comes down to motivation. Mine is not always sparkly.... but I do have an over arching desire to see our faith represented respectfully, intelligently, and full of compassion when in the public eye (and in the private as well). I am not always sure that what I do benefits that cause but, at least at this point, I feel the need to write what is on my mind.

Krista said...

Everyone has a perspective. none of us presents a complete perspective. My hope would be that skeptics are able to consider elements you bring up, of terrible examples of Christianity in action; as well as elements I feel the need to note, of the examples of God working.

I think my compliment was a little too backhanded yesterday; I frequently do come down on the same side of the fence as you. I think what drives me crazy is not that you say the things you do, but that you are probably right.

And I sincerely enjoy reading your thoughts, especially when I can keep up.

Redlefty said...

Just saw Book of Eli last night. Wow! Didn't see that twist coming at all.

Between that and Michael Clayton, it was a pretty awesome movie weekend.

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