There has been a lot of needless anxiety about the Glenn Beck rally over the weekend. Al Sharpton stated that he was worried some racist or extremist comment might set off conflict with his supporters who were marching to commemorate Martin Luther King’s 1963 march on Washington. However, those who attended the Restore America rally closely mirrored the same crowd that makes up the TEA Party. The people in attendance tend to be older, quiet citizens who have always led busy, fulfilled lives with little time or motivation to protest or demonstrate. Most of them are regular churchgoers who rarely let a curse word pass their lips. These are truly citizens who are the “salt of the earth” and pillars of our society.
It is understandable for the media and political pundits to respond with so much suspicion since many of them probably don’t know many people like the ones who we are all glimpsing today. Most of these Americans have never received any publicity before and don’t really desire 15 seconds of personal fame now. But they have obviously realized over the years that the loud protests by groups who are visible to all of America at our Nation’s Capitol seem to elicit response and acknowledgement of their actual existence.
President Obama and his White House cadre have decided to utilize Teddy Roosevelt’s “Big Stick” domestically and are apparently in the midst of a “carrot” shortage. Their consistently combative tone against ordinary Americans on issues such as resistance to Obamacare, “stimulus” spending, copious portions of pork barrel spending, and the laundry list of leftist legislation has depleted the patience of many American citizens. If around 300,000 Americans can show up for such a rally, then how huge are the masses sitting at home but still supporting or empathizing with this same cause?
Al Sharpton and many in the media worried that Glenn Beck must be attempting to establish a “theocracy.” That would be worrisome to me as well if it were true because I am not a Mormon. However, perhaps some readings on the Judeo-Christian tradition in America would be helpful. Sadly, many Americans are unfamiliar with this fact of our founding and are misinformed to think that it equates to a “theocracy.” A simple perusal of the writings of our Founding Fathers such as James Madison, and yes, Thomas Jefferson might be enlightening. It was the common understanding of a Creator and supernatural force or Providential Hand that informed the basis of our form of government. Some of the Founders were Deists who believed that God was more of a “clock winder” who sat back and observed as events unfolded. But many of the Founders were dedicated Christians like those today. Either way, their religious beliefs were weaved inextricably into their political writings and opinions.
The easiest example of the Founder’s beliefs is set forth in the Declaration of Independence, penned by Thomas Jefferson.
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them….
Notice that the “separate and equal station” is derived from some origin. That origin or foundation for our rights as American citizens is “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” What right does anyone possess to edit these historic writings that form our government to refer only to the “Laws of Nature”? The “Laws of Nature” are controlled by “Nature’s God.” This does not specify Jesus Christ as that God although we can see from other writings that the Founders were mostly Christian. A Judeo- Christian tradition is the vehicle for religious liberty. Americans have the right to practice the religion of their choice BECAUSE of the values derived from our common history of a Judeo- Christian tradition. Historical facts are stubborn realities that do tend to survive the chipping away by forces such as our activist judicial system. A favorite quote and essential tenet of our representative democracy that is usually edited and only partially referenced is this well known statement:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Need I point out the reference to the SOURCE of our unalienable Rights, such as our much -heralded “pursuit of Happiness”? The reason that each of us exists to be able to pursue “Happiness” is our Creator. (My apologies to evolutionists who have the FREEDOM to believe that this statement was just ignorant since the “Origin of the Species” had not yet been imagined.) Our Founders wrote copiously of our values and the need for “morality” to sustain the “common good.” Some excellent sources for these debates in political philosophy are the Federalist Papers, The Creation of the American Republic by Gordon S. Wood, and The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America by Richard John Neuhaus.
Today the dominant culture is skiddish about voicing these truths of our founding principles as a nation. The courts have become legislators in black robes intent on erasing any influence of Judeo-Christian values. Today we sit on the precipice of following international court opinions such as those issued by the World Court or even Sharia law, which is, ironically, the “sacred law of Islam.” But try as our popular culture might to silence the first amendment rights of the majority of Americans who are Christians, they cannot change the facts of our shared history.
Barack Obama stated in The Audacity of Hope that he was drawn to Rev. Wright’s church due to its political activism. One of the main energizing forces behind the Reagan Revolution was the involvement of groups like Moral Majority and Eagle Forum. Since that time, involvement by churches, even patriotic affirmations from the pulpit in CONSERVATIVE, Bible believing churches has been effectively silenced. Pastors are afraid to mention anything that might turn off newer attenders, or “seekers.” Consequently, many Conservatives who are active, dedicated Christians are yearning for leadership even from their own churches. A vacuum has developed, and quite unexpectedly, Glenn Beck has filled it.