By Elizabeth Tenety
What, exactly, are Glenn Beck’s credentials as a theologian?
That’s a question that that many are asking today in the wake of Beck’s continued assault on the president’s religious beliefs.
At his public events this weekend, Beck emphasized that he viewed his ‘Restoring Honor’ event and the emerging movement behind it as spiritual, rather than political: “This is the beginning of the great awakening of America,” Beck said Friday night.
But to what version of religion should Americans be awakened?
In a Fox News Sunday interview after the rally On his Fox News television show last week, he criticized President Obama’s religious beliefs, which he characterized on Fox News Sunday as “liberation theology”:
“You see, it’s all about victims and victimhood; oppressors and the oppressed; reparations, not repentance; collectivism, not individual salvation. I don’t know what that is, other than it’s not Muslim, it’s not Christian. It’s a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it,” Beck said.
Beck, who converted to Mormonism in the last decade, may believe that Obama’s religion is a “perversion,” but given the criticisms of his own chosen faith, he should perhaps tread more lightly when critiquing another man’s Christianity: Mormons frequently have to contend with allegations that they are not ‘real’ Christians: 45% of white Evangelicals say that they do not believe that Mormons are Christians, according to a Pew poll.
“Mormonism is not a Christian faith,” Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery said during the 2008 election campaign, when GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Mormonism became a political liability.
R. Albert Mohler wrote in 2007 that he did not believe Mormons are Christians, as he found their theology “incompatible with “traditional Christian orthodoxy.”
So Beck finds himself being asked the same question he is asking of Obama: Is he a “true” Christian? How important is the faith life of our presidents — or our talk-show hosts?
More on the Glenn Beck and the debate over the president’s religion: