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August 28, 2010 - Ray Hall (Archive)

 I just finished watching on C-SPAN Glen Beck’s tribute,  to Glen Beck.  After watching the entire presentation I came away with a clear picture of its intent.  Although the gathering at the Lincoln Memorial was on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech there appeared to be more black faces on the podium than in the crowd.

Despite having Dr. King’s niece as a speaker and giving a black pastor in Houston an award for merit there was nothing of Dr. King’s spirit that was perceptible.  Sara Palin made a speech that was disjointed and jaundiced and the host rambled aimlessly in an attempt to explain why he was there.
There was a lot of talk about Jesus and “taking our country back” and the military and returning to God.  Beck spoke of faith, hope and charity as the building blocks for his crusade that at times had the feel of a tent revival meeting. 
There were disclaimers that the Beck event was more spiritual than political and a call to embrace faith, hope and charity but there was nothing persuasive in the program. The crowd on the mall, the singing and the speeches reminded me of that distant geography of my youth.  
I grew up in a time and place—in the front yard of Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath—a place where traveling evangelists would sweep through our poverty-laden countryside.  They usually toured in pairs hastily throwing up “brush arbors” where they sang hymns and saved souls from an even worse hell if that were possible. 
Ministers with Bibles and banjos preached to the desperate poor that it was better to be poor and love God than to have all the riches in the world. The preachers would leave as quickly as they arrived, but not before bringing the people closer to God by making them even poorer.  Collections and offerings were taken at every service as a tithe in the name of God.
Do not be deceived:  The end results of the gospel according to Beck and Sara Palin’s Tea Party is as far removed from faith, hope and charity as any traveling evangelist that ever asked for dimes and quarters from those oppressed by the ravages of poverty.  
To those assembled faith, hope and charity became nothing more than a clarion call for iron fisted rule.  In that crowd there is no place for a woman to have an abortion, no place for gays nor those who would condone same sex marriage.  There was no place in that crowd for a person who worships a different God, or none at all.  
The results of that doctrine would have men and women and children starving to death in the streets rather than have the government spend one dime for welfare. The results of that doctrine would see Mexican women having babies in the dust and dirt of border town streets rather than a pristine hospital maternity ward if taxpayer dollars are involved. 
The results of that doctrine would see science rejected for superstition.  Creation would be mandatory in the classroom and global warming would be replaced with even more global exploitation.  
I saw in the crowd plenty of American Flags replicated and worn as articles of clothing.  Shirts masquerading as flags were worn by those oblivious to their act of desecration but who would immediately demand arrest of one who would have the flag  stitched across the rear of a pair of blue jeans.   
There was nothing said of Dr. King’s concern for a living wage or for the health and welfare of the poor and disadvantaged.  There was talk of Jesus and of his followers, but hardly anything said of the brotherhood of man, of inclusion, or  a willingness to do that which would make Dr. King’s Dream a reality. 


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