Just when you thought that Glenn Beck's confusion about the "Father of the American Revolution", Thomas Paine, couldn't get any sillier, Glenn stuns you with another whopper.
Beck's confusion first surfaced when he wrote a book titled, "Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine".
"Common Sense", was the title of the pamphlet that American patriot, Thomas Paine, wrote in 1776. That pamphlet is credited with stirring the Colonists to win the American Revolution against the British. In Beck's "cockeyed" version of Common Sense, Glenn tries to portray Paine as a great "conservative" patriotic American. Why? Because Glenn Beck, just like Rush Limbaugh, would like to be a "Founder" of a Theocratic United States of Greed, Gluttony, and Sloth. In his blinded, ignorant zeal, Mr. Beck has attempted to turn Paine, retrospectively, into a Ronald Reagan. Nice try Glenn, but pull the other leg!
Glenn's hero worship of Thomas Paine is beyond strange. In the real world, Thomas Paine is held in very high esteem, and considered a "hero", by proud, patriotic, secular Americans. For centuries, in contrast, the religious fundamentalists in America have attempted to marginalize Paine's role in the American Revolution. So, for Beck, a Mormon, who staunchly and incessantly defends the intermingling of Religion and State, to reverse this century old fundamentalist meme, is as bizarre a socio-political strategy as has ever been played out to the people of America.
Check out this latest, warped silliness from Glenn Beck's October 22, 2010 radio show. The audio can be heard at MediaMatters for America.
"Again, I want'a, want'a start, or end, where I started this hour, and that is this. Our churches are under attack from the inside. And they are masked. The enemies are masked, through 'social justice' and the social justice of 'liberation theology', through 'collective salvation'. That is.. that is.. that is abhorrent, to everything that... that God stands for, and what if you believe... if you're a believer in Jesus, that is the exact opposite. It is black and white. Our churches are going to be under attack more and more every day, and you are going to have to stand. You are going to have to make a choice, Anybody who says 'Well, I just don't want to be involved. I just don't want to listen to it. I don't want...'. You are going to be held responsible for what you do. You're going to be held re.. ya know.. the government may not hold you responsible, your family may not hold you responsible, your bank may not hold you responsible, nobody's going to hold you responsible... God will!
I've been saying 'keep a journal', because 'These are the times that will try men's souls'. People a thousand years from now, will try to figure out what happened. Make sure you are aware of the times that you live in. And, do not be seduced; keep your eyes and ears open. There is anger building. I mean.. .I hate to sound like Star Wars, but don't be seduced by the power of the Dark Side."
Holy cow! Did you notice that, in the midst of this lament, about the persecution of organized religion, Mr. Beck invoked the aid of his hero Thomas Paine again? Did you spot it? "These are the times that will try men's souls", is the first line from Thomas Paine's The Crisis.
Golly Glenn, if you, a proponent for the intermingling of Church and State, are allowed to use quotes from Thomas Paine, then is it okay for secularist Americans, like myself, who oppose the intermingling of Church and State, to throw some Paine quotes, back at you? Fair's fair, right? I mean, I hate to be a stickler for facts, but damn, Glenn, Paine was 180 degrees opposed to what you are trying to do to America. Here's a primer for you Glenn. These two quotes are from Paine's the Age of Reason.
"The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authority; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion."
"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel."
See what I mean? I don't think that Beck was thinking real clearly when he decided to use the Founding Fathers to argue for his, and Limbaugh's, Theocratic United States of Greed, Gluttony, and Sloth agenda, because jeepers, those quotes from Paine are just the tip of the iceberg. Paine's fellow Founding Fathers - the primary ones - may not have been as "public" in their criticisms of "organized religion", as Paine was, but their positions, found in their private writings, were crystal clear.
James Madison, two term, fourth President and "Father of the Constitution", famously wrote:
"It was the Universal opinion of the Century preceding the last, that Civil Govt. could not stand without the prop of a Religious establishment; & that the Xn. [Christian] religion itself, would perish if not supported by the legal provision for its Clergy. The experience of Virginia conspicuously corroborates the disproof of both opinions. The Civil Govt. tho' bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy possesses the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success; Whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, &the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State."
Thomas Jefferson, two term, third President and "Father of the Declaration of Independence", famously wrote:
"The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a Virgin Mary, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."
That's just the tip of the "age of reason", enlightened thinking that was coursing through those Founder's heads. Does Mr. Beck not understand how obviously ignorant, and manipulating, his historical revisionism appears to people that think critically?
Here's what I find so amazing about Beck's new The Dark Side is Attacking Jesus! paradigm. I "get" why Mr. Beck would bring Darth Vader, and the Dark Side, into the argument, and then try to make the Liberalism equals the Dark Side case. Sure, it's loopy, it's the flipside of reality, but I understand why Beck would make the attempt. I can't say the same for Beck's invoking Thomas Paine, while in the midst of a rant about "religious persecution". That, I find absolutely mind blowing. Look, again, at what Mr. Beck said.
"Our churches are under attack from the inside. And they are masked. The enemies are masked, through 'social justice' and the social justice of 'liberation theology', through 'collective salvation'."
Beck wants Christian America to consider persons, within the Church, who advocate for "social justice", "liberation theology", or "collective salvation", as the Eeeevil, with a capital E, "Dark Side". Don't those terms, that Glenn is so afraid of, just sound hideous? Don't those words just make your skin crawl? I'm surprised that Glenn, poor boy, can even get a wink of sleep at night. I'll bet using kooky variations would scare the bejeebers out of Glenn. "Yo Glenn, collective justice, booga booga". "Yo Glenn, liberation salvation, booga booga". "Yo Glenn, social theology, booga booga". Or, how about a quad booga booga? "Yo Glenn, collective social justice liberation, booga booga".
Mr. Beck is, obviously, very concerned that those terms run counter to the Theocratic United States of Greed, Gluttony, and Sloth that he, and fellow conservative entertainer, Rush Limbaugh, are trying so hard to be the "Founders" of. What the heck was Glenn Beck thinking, or sniffing, when he dreamed up this brilliant "I'll save the Church with Thomas Paine" strategy? It makes zero sense. Beck is arguing that people, within the Church, are misinterpreting the teachings of Jesus, so . . . he brings Thomas Paine to the debate table? What an absolute hoot. Don't get me wrong, as a firm believer in the non-intermingling of State and Mythology, I can't thank Glenn enough for making my hero, Thomas Paine, his hero.