Beck vs. King

Some may call it rich, but I’m happy if Glenn Beck wants to spread the message of Martin Luther King … Continued

Some may call it rich, but I’m happy if Glenn Beck wants to spread the message of Martin Luther King Jr a half-century after the March on Washington. Beck is right when he asserts that King’s message belongs to all of us, all 310 million Americans, indeed all 6.5 billion people on the planet.

And Beck is also right that King’s message was revivalist in nature, a call to return to God’s plan for humanity. He was, after all, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

But King’s views about God’s plan and Beck’s views – or at least the views of many of his invited speakers – have sharp differences. John Hagee, in his closing prayer at Beck’s event, claimed that one of America’s “sins” was embracing “the banner of pluralism.” David Barton went even further and said that America is a Christian nation and that Christianity had long been at war with Islam. The implication seemed to be that religious diversity is wrong and leads to conflict.

That is the exact opposite of King’s message. King carried the banner of religious pluralism high and proud. Encounters with leading figures of other faiths deeply enriched King’s own life and work. It was his study of Gandhi’s Hindu commitment to the concept of satyagraha – soulforce – that helped King develop a Christian theology of nonviolent social reform. And it was the Buddhist formulations in the letters he received from the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh that encouraged King to turn against the Vietnam war.

While always clear about his own Christian commitment, King recognized the full and powerful faith lives of others. After returning from a trip to India in 1959, King offered the following prayer from his pulpit in Montgomery:

“Oh God, our gracious heavenly father, we call you this name. We know some call you Allah, we know some call you Brahma, we know some call you Elohim, we know some call you the Unmoved Mover.”

And he recognized the enormous power of people of different faiths working together for social justice, whether it was he and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marching for civil rights in Selma, or Gandhi and the Muslim leader Abdul Ghaffar Khan working together to liberate India.

In his final book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community, King wrote: “The great new problem of mankind (is that) we have inherited … a great ‘world house’ in which we have to live together – black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Moslem and Hindu … Because we can never again live apart, we must somehow learn to live with each other in peace.”

King’s emphasis on religious identity was prescient. If the color line was the problem of the twentieth century, as one of King’s intellectual heroes W.E.B. DuBois stated, the faith line is shaping up to be the challenge of the twenty-first.

America is the most religiously diverse country in ‘the world house.’ That diversity can move in the direction of conflict or cooperation. We know the side King chose. Which side is Beck on?

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  • ThomasBaum

    CarstonioYou wrote, “I’ve heard two or three fundamentalists say in honesty that that if they ever have a majority of voters, they would do away with church/state separation because it’s a belief system about how society should be ordered.”Seems as if it should be so clear that when Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what it God’s” that Jesus, Himself, was espousing the seperation of church and state.So many people thru the age have tried to set up a “theocracy” on earth and it is not even close to what Jesus tried to get thru our thick skulls.”My Kingdom is not of this world”, does this sound like a call to try to set up a “theocracy on earth”?The “state” whether religious or secular is about imposing from the outside in, Jesus, speaking of being the Way, the Truth and the Life, was speaking of a different direction.Also, Jesus asked us to PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS, He didn’t say that if you don’t know what the GOOD NEWS is then to cram “religion” down their throats.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • phrage

    Good article. America is not the most religiously diverse country in the world, but it could be.

  • Carstonio

    Seems as if it should be so clear that when Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what it God’s” that Jesus, Himself, was espousing the seperation of church and state.The James Dobsons and Pat Robertsons of the world must have missed that chapter.

  • frank69

    It might be true that MLK sort to include other faiths but as a Christian I doubt if he believed there was another way to God but through His Son Jesus Christ.If King believed that there was salvation without Jesus then for me his Christianity would seem very flawed.As a Christian we are followers of Christ who stated quite emphatically this:

  • Carstonio

    I mean that “fundamentalism is a belief system about how society should be ordered.”

  • Carstonio

    The implication seemed to be that religious diversity is wrong and leads to conflict.That’s close. The fundamentalism at issue here doesn’t recognize divisions between government, society and religion. It teaches that society’s institutions should be Christian in character because the majority of Americans are Christian. I’ve heard two or three fundamentalists say in honesty that that if they ever have a majority of voters, they would do away with church/state separation because it’s a belief system about how society should be ordered.

  • Dh1953

    It is less about Beck versus King, and more about Beck versus the future of our Democracy. If you want proof, you need only read his followers’ comments on this site

  • Carstonio

    Historically Black Protestant 38%With those two groups, the resistance to evolution may be partly cultural. African-Americans have had little reason to trust scientists, given experiences such the Tuskegee Experiment. For the latter, I would be interested to see the breakdown between, say, Saudi Arabia and Iran on one hand and Turkey and Syria and Indonesia on the other. The Arab distrust of Europeans seems to have roots in not just the Crusades but also in 20th-century colonialism, so many may view evolution as Western cultural imperialism.

  • WmarkW

    “1) Hindus in this country are on the average far more educated, especially in sciences, than the average Joe/Jane.”Yeah, I’d be real surprized if any religious group except perhaps Jews is anywhere close to Hindus in the percent of professional scientists (in the USA).I have wondered how education is affecting Hinduism in India. Dumping cadavers in the same river people drink from doesn’t sound like a belief of a PhD microbiologist.

  • ThomasBaum

    Carstonio You wrote, “The James Dobsons and Pat Robertsons of the world must have missed that chapter.”Either they missed it or it is one of the things that they didn’t understand when they did see it.Does say, “They have ears but do not hear, eyes but they do not see”, doesn’t it?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Secular

    WMW, you wrote, “I have wondered how education is affecting Hinduism in India. Dumping cadavers in the same river people drink from doesn’t sound like a belief of a PhD microbiologist”. I guess you can take the person away from the meme, but not the meme out of the person. The high percentage is as much to do withe reasons 2 – 4 as it is to do with reason 1. I know a very high officer in the indian IRS who very sincerely believes in the Hindu Funerary rituals and the myths that go with them rituals. While those rituals are specifically designed fro the parasites of the society (the priests) to leach on it, he firmly believes. We both are in the same boat, as our respective mothers passed away over a year ago. My only motivation was to do them for my dad’s sake. So education or not a life long indoctrination cannot be shirked away that easily, for most people. Case in point my own dad, my wife and her mother all three well educated. One of them is even a retired professor of anatomy, at that, another of Economics.

  • Secular

    I just saw the Pew survey and found that apparently 80% of the Hindus in the US agree that evolution is best explanation. The reasons for this are:1) Hindus in this country are on the average far more educated, especially in sciences, than the average Joe/Jane.2) Vast majority of them are not aware of the multitude of creation myths in hinduism. 3) Creation stories are one more bizarre than the previous4) They do not want to admit to their existence even as the very myth exposes the oft made claim about caste system. the often made claim is that caste systems is later corruption of the religion. But one more prominent creation myth goes into detail of the origins of the castes as well.5) And in no small measure it is the rejection of their colonial masters’ (muslims, & christians) creation myth.

  • farnaz_mansouri2

    WmarkW:Jews are the most educated group in America. As far as I know, the Japanes and Chinese follow. I’ll check, though, although I don’t quite know why Secular saw fit to bring this up.I know a lot of educated morons, bigots, fools of every type. Unimpressed.

  • Secular

    I know a lot of educated morons, bigots, fools of every type. Unimpressed.Exactly, Ms. Farnaz. Me neither.

  • woodstock-41

    Dear Counselor, et al: Note: As Ye/Yo can See; Once WE[i], i[WE] Elect these two-face WORD-MERCHANTS of certain Politician-GANGs aka “USURPER”s, Then THEY DO WHAT They WANT. So There is NO U.S. or State CONSTITUTION!! YES, Things Must Change, Not only Yes We Can hot air. DO, No Talk!!Maybe SARA PALIN Ms. RIGHT is right (Not Wrong)?! Sarai Ain’t Afraid to Break or Dirty Her finger Nails. Now That’s Tough; So Sara Ain’t No “Manicure-Babby”, but a Lipstick Momma! eeeeeehaaaa! Note: Sisstar SARAi is starting to look really good (‘Platform/ticket’, not only Lipstick & looks) soo maybe she should be our 1st LADY President, aye? OR/b> Maybe Brother MiTT ROMNEY is the ripe Mr. RiGHT (NOt Wrong). Likewise; MITT is looking & Sounding GOOD too. A Good Politician & a Great BUISINEES MAN Who Will Save AMERICA from Poverty & out of Debt? Fix Amerika MITT! [Maybe "Joe The Plumber" can fit-in Somewhere, aye].Note: MITT maybe should be our 1st MORMON (A Xrstian , but Persecuted People, NOt only AFRO-Americans) Prez aye??. “WE, The People” Need To Take Our Nation Back & fix the Sick Constitution? This is NOt a Test! This is Real!!Note: And GLENN BECK might be 1/2 or 3/4 right (NOt Left oopps, Wrong)?SUGGESTION: Maybe Ms. Sara Palin & Mr. Mitt should Marry (Politically) and Run as PREZ & V.PREZ ALL IN ONE! aye? ___VOTE: “Peace/Huggs Rock-n-Roll, MiTT Romney”!!!”Peace/Huggs Rock-n-Roll, MiTT Romney”!!!”Peace/Huggs Rock-n-Roll, MiTT Romney”!!!___ OR”Peace/Dance Rock-n-Roll, w/ SARA Palin”!!!”Peace/Dance Rock-n-Roll, with SARA”!!!”Peace/Dance Rock-n-Roll, with SARA”!!!LOVE AMERICA! LOVE AMERICA! LOVE AMERICA..!

  • woodstock-41

    2 of 2PS: And Now; It is highly Recommended That the CIA & The NSA & The PENTAGON Take Over The “WHITE-HOUSE”. And that this Current Presidency’s “EXECUTIVE POWERS” via “Executive-ORDERS” (Abuses,& Recklessness) should Be Snuffed-out or Stopped!AMERICA Should Have a “GENERAL ELECTION” In 2011, Not 2012: Under NATIONAL [Financial] EMERGENCY Reasons or Find some Other Pretexts to do so, “INSTEAD OF CONSTITUTION”! ANDThe U.S. Constitution Needs To Be REPEALED, or Fixed or Tweake’d for the 21/22nd Century+; Especially To ONLY ALLOW a President to Serve up to 2-Two, 3-Three Years-Terms (max of 6 years not 8)! Or Maybe up to 3 Times 3 (for 9 years Total if HE or SHE is really good, Like Roosevelt {pbuh}, Lincoln {pbuh et al}) AND Congress Shall Establish a “U.S. RELIGIOUS POLICE” with Powers to “LIMIT” Mosques, Synagogues, Temples Building etc.. so to Police Their “Tax-Exempt” Leaderships More Closely! ANDEx- SEN. Hillary Rodman Clinton should be IMPEACHED for Usurping U.S. CONST. 1:6 et al. And Prez Borack H. OBAMA should be Censored for Kissing The Hand Of a G-d Player, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia & for other Oss kiss’ngs or of Enemies.

  • woodstock-41

    1 of 2Shame on self{serving CO{Defendants or Part{ners within the Federal & State & Local Governments in Crime who got away Scott free during the Depression and laughing at US Voters while Laughing all the The way to the Bank Worry-Free, for Causing AMERICAN’s financial HARDSHIP (Broken Hearts, mental Anquish, Broken-Spirits, mass homelessness, Embarrassment, Humiliation, low esteem etc] via Selfish Elected-Officials [as if GANGS/Hooligans/Bandits] thus creating Sweet America’s (opps Sour’d) Tsunami” via them U.S. FED RESERVE people & U.S. TREASURY too! Includes the, turning other Cheek, S.E.C. & I.R.S. & CO., gang/people.Secret: Psychology: All Those U.S. Victims, Especially U.S.A. Kids Whom was a Victim & their Parents For What Happened during Bush’s & Clinton’s, Will Become Extremists, Radicals & Worse Revolutionaries! a/k/a America’s Silent future CIVIL-WAR!? And Pleazza, BUSH & Clinton Lovers, Do NOt call these good American Kids who will eventually grow-up [Terrorists when ye have to turn the Malitia against them] when they Rise-Up against US, the Establishment in the Next 10 Years! It will be like a bunch of Frankin-Steins or Worse a Bunch Of TiMOTHY McVAY’s (Clinton/Bush made) going mad all at once or sporadically. SooOnly SARA PALIN & Or MITT ROMNEY Can Help Them [Prevent Future Terrorists to not be terrorists] by Correcting The Clinton Admin & Bush/Reagan Admin & Bush Admin SINS of the National-Fathers; To Heelll with Bibles story’s! Atleast i[WE] warned You. Note: This is NOt a Cartoon. It is More Than That!

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