“We are 12 hours away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” Beck said, adding, “It has nothing to do with this city or politics. It has everything to do with God almighty.”
Beck, a converted Mormon, welcomed a host of Evangelical leaders, as well as one Catholic and one Jewish leader, to the stage at the center’s concert hall. The speakers were frequently interrupted by shouts of praise and ‘amen!’ by the audience, most of whom lined up Friday morning to obtain the free ticket.
Beck set a spiritual tone for Saturday’s rally, saying “This is the beginning of the great awakening of America.” In an exchange with Barton, Beck elaborated, saying his mission was not to mix religion and politics, but to “teach in our churches the principles” that will inspire politics. “We cannot mix those two, but we must give voice to what God says we must do.”
Beck’s emphasis on the separation of church and state seemed at odds with the statements of several speakers. Barton insisted that “We don’t want our country to become secular” and Hagee prayed for America to overcome the “politically correct fog” and the idolatry of ‘pluralism.’ Norris paraphrased George Washington’s farewell address, quoting, “Providence has connected the permanent happiness of a nation with its virtue,” to insist that public morality cannot be maintained without religion. Copeland told the audience, “Our job this weekend is to raise up the shield of faith for America”
Despite many of the speakers’ political overtones, Beck used his address to emphasize the spiritual nature of his challenge to America.
“My message to you tonight is stand where He wants you to stand and trust in the Lord. If He tells you to do it, do it. If you can’t figure it out, He will. Just do it.”
The notion of using churches as a vehicle for oranizing social change is not new. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with Beck’s message, is it fair to compare what Beck is calling for churches to do with the role churches played in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s? Do you think Beck’s movement is political or spiritual?