Letters to the Editor

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RELIGION: Glenn Beck needs to do his homework

Letter by Vincent S. Hart, University Place on Aug. 31, 2010 at 4:34 pm with 23 Comments »
September 1, 2010 2:53 pm

I would suggest that Glenn Beck do his theological homework before evaluating the quality of someone else’s Christianity.

The report on his assessment (TNT, 8-30) of President Obama’s faith as somehow deficient and a “version of Christianity” which American people won’t recognize reveals an ignorance of a very central theme of the Bible.

“Liberation theology” is a modern term for a theme at the very heart of the Bible’s testimony to the nature and activity of God. From beginning to end, the Bible shows God as an advocate for the poor, the powerless and those exploited by the powerful. It reveals a God who judges nations on the basis of social justice, not on how many people “profess Jesus as their personal savior.”

Unfortunately, the kind of Christianity Beck seems to embrace as the only authentic form, and which he suggests is alone “familiar to the American people,” is a fairly modern creation (in the era of intense individualism and self-concern) with a primary focus upon private “salvation” along with private property and accumulation of private wealth.

That is not the religion of Jesus, nor of the great spokesmen for God in the Old Testament. Both put chief emphasis upon the well-being of all in society and upon social structures which serve equal justice for all. It is a similar passion for the common good, for the “general welfare” that I see and greatly appreciate in President Obama.

Leave a comment Comments → 23
  1. Nicely written Vincent, now please point out for us where in the Bible it says that you, as an individual cannot enter the gates of heaven unless evryone else does. Religion is an “individual” journey. Yes, it would be nice if 100% of humanity followed the scriptures and did evrything as a group, but Jesus knew that was not possible so He left it up to each of us to make that decision. Beck is right, you are wrong.

  2. larsman says:

    Salvation is for “whosoever”. It is not corporate. It is individual. You are mixing meanings and contexts. Providing for the general welfare does not mean “providing Welfare”. It does mean protecting our borders, though. Please differentiate between the responsibilities of “Caesar” , the Church and the individual. Can you identify which version you are quoting from regarding so-called “social justice”?

  3. “Both [God and Jesus] put chief emphasis upon the well-being of all in society and upon social structures which serve equal justice for all. It is a similar passion for the common good, for the “general welfare” that I see and greatly appreciate in President Obama. ??? Where on earth did you get this idea?

    Where in scripture do you see Jesus ever addressing the issue of “social structures?” In everything Jesus said and did, it was clear that individual liberty was honored, even when it meant people would make lousy choices.

    “General welfare” was not mandated via government. Individuals were exhorted to give and care for one another…, i.e.personal responsbility. Even in giving a command, Jesus knew that individuals were free to disobey it, and show me where he ever interfered with your freedom. It can’t be done.

    Show me where he put someone else in charge of your purse, ever.

  4. donjames says:

    Gee Vince, you may want to do a little “theological homework” yourself before popping-off. Its abundantly clear you have no idea what Liberation Theology is, nor have you the foggiest notion of its foundation.

    The accepted roots of Liberation Theology:

    The Liberation Theology movement is usually held to have begun with the second Latin American Bishops’ Conference, which was held in Colombia in 1968. At that conference, the attending bishops proposed to combine the teachings of Jesus Christ with those of Karl Marx as a way of justifying violent revolution to overthrow the economics of capitalism. The bishops interpreted every biblical criticism of the rich as a mandate to redistribute wealth from the haves to the have-nots, and every expression of compassion for the poor as a call for a social uprising by peasants and workers. At the end of the conference, the bishops issued a document affirming the rights of the poor and accusing industrialized nations of enriching themselves at the expense of Third World countries.

    Sound familiar?

    The liberation theology movement’s seminal text, A Theology of Liberation, was written in 1971, three years after the Bishops’ Conference, by Gustavo Gutiérrez, a Peruvian priest and theologian.

    Talk about your “modern creation”. Only the most cynical of Christians could conceive to exploit the teachings of the Bible to such clearly political ends.

    Dressing up Marxism as Christianity put it at odds with the Vatican, which, in the 1990s under Pope John Paul II, began trying to slow the movement’s momentum through the appointment of more conservative prelates throughout Latin America.

    That would be the same Pope John Paul II who had experienced, first hand, the “social justice” to which Liberation Theology (and apparently you, along with the narcissist-in-chief) aspires… and he wanted no further part of it.


  5. donjames says:

    Oops, forgot to attribute the citations:

    “Catholics for Marx,” by Father Robert Sirico (June 3, 2004)

  6. Sumner401 says:

    I want to say something about the 3 stooges but I won’t.

  7. beerBoy says:

    Beck’s little revisionist history about why the Washington Monument was halted is also wrong.

    He maintained that it was halted due to the Civil War. WRONG!

    It was halted because the Know-Nothings (spiritual fore-fathers of of the Tea Bag movement and the Republican Party) were upset about a stone being dedicated to a Catholic. They took over the project and Congress (4 years before the Civil War) withdrew support for the project rather than allow the xenophobes to put forward their hate-mongering.

  8. donjames says:

    Uhmm, bB, when you get off your pejorative rant you may want to check out the factual chronology of events at

    They (Know Nothings) returned the control of the project back in 1858 to the original supporters of the Society but due to the Civil War, construction of the monument was halted. Only 152 ft / 46m was completed.


    … the increasing controversy over slavery continued the rapid disintegration of the Know-Nothing movement. Many antislavery adherents joined remnants of the Whigs in the newly emerging REPUBLICAN PARTY, while proslavery supporters joined the DEMOCRATIC PARTY.


  9. dj, glad you attempted to bring folks up to speed about Lib Theology but don’t expect anyone here to accept it. “Liberation” makes it all sound so righteous, but it spawned the likes of Jeremiah Wright, and we’ve all witnessed for ourselves how much love and compassion he has for his white brothers and sisters.

  10. aislander says:

    Thanks, dj, for at least temporarily halting the predictable gusts from the windbag…

  11. donjames says:

    Well, sozo and ai, tomorrow’s another day…

  12. bobcat1a says:

    larsman, you might want to go back and read the preamble to the Constitution again. If general welfare means “protecting our borders”, why do you suppose the framers put in “provide for the common defense” right next to “promote the general welfare”? You think they didn’t know what they were saying?

  13. beerBoy says:

    dj –

    from the NPS website:
    When the monument was under construction in 1854, the Washington National Monument Society ran out of money and the project ground to a halt. Twenty-five years later, the U.S. Government took over and completed the upper two-thirds of the structure by 1884 using marble from a different quarry.

    The Civil War didn’t start until 1861

    From the Washington Post
    Then in 1854, “Know Nothing” political activists took over the uncompleted monument for two years. The activists were called Know Nothings because they responded to all questions about secret party meetings by saying, “We know nothing.” Their platform was built on a belief that only native-born Americans should hold public office.

    Angered by donation of a building stone from the Temple of Concord in Rome sent by Pope Pius IX, these anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant radicals destroyed the stone.

    They also seized the Monument Society’s records and held their own election of society officers. Despite its efforts, the “Know Nothing” party won little public support, and its attempt to continue building the monument was superficial. Later, its work on the stump was removed.

    The Know Nothing party disintegrated within two years, but the obelisk stub it had commandeered remained unfinished for two decades.

    Even if we count the two years the Know Nothings were in control of the project that still marks the end of the construction three full years before the onset of combat.

  14. donjames says:

    C’mon, bB, if you actually bothered to read the history of the monument on the NPS site you have to know you’re presenting only half of the story, at best.

    From the actual NPS history of the Monument @

    In an elaborate Fourth of July ceremony in 1848, the cornerstone was laid. Lack of funds and the illegal election which placed the Washington National Monument Society in the hands of the Know-Nothings, a political party, caused delay. Although the Know-Nothings returned all records to the original society in 1858, the latter could accomplish little without funding. The outbreak of Civil War of 1861 exacerbated the society’s difficulties with fund-raising efforts. When Lt.Col.Thomas L.Casey, Mills’ successor, resumed work on the project in 1876, he heavily altered the original design for the monument so that it resembled an unadorned Egyptian obelisk with a pointed pyramidion. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of the War Department was charged with completing the construction, and the monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885, and officially opened to the public on October 9, 1888.

    You cited the NPS. So who do you think is telling the whole story; you and your WAPO article, or Glen Beck and the NPS?

    Shall we take a vote?

  15. beerboy thinks he’s found something that he can use against Beck, pitiful, sad and expected. I thought the letter writer was talking about Beck’s religious beliefs, not the Washington monument, ridiculous attempt at deflection.

  16. beerBoy says:

    dj…..just where in the cited materials does it state that the Civil War was the reason for the break in construction?

    The outbreak of Civil War of 1861 exacerbated the society’s difficulties with fund-raising efforts.

    Verb: Make (a problem, bad situation, or negative feeling) worse.

    The Civil War made the problem caused by the Know Nothings worse. That means the cause of the problem was the Know Nothings.

  17. donjames says:

    bB, can you possibly split that hair any finer?

  18. donjames says:

    And, BTW, artful of you to conveniently forget these gems:

    “The Civil War didn’t start until 1861.
    Even if we count the two years the Know Nothings were in control of the project that still marks the end of the construction three full years before the onset of combat.”

    Lets see… now when was that Monument completed?

  19. Sumner401 says:

    Once again the facts go to the evil ‘leftie’ Beerboy.
    And the disgusting effort to defend a drunken prostitute at all costs is done by the right.
    Proving once again the right has no facts, no sense, no morals and thoughts.

  20. bB, isn’t it you who always chides folks for getting off point?

  21. dj I wish you would stop putting facts in the way of feelings. Your taking all the fun out of reading the liberals Book of Makebelieve.

  22. a less biased and more factual history of liberation theology can be found here:

    The historical roots of liberation theology are to be found in the prophetic tradition of evangelists and missionaries from the earliest colonial days in Latin America — churchmen who questioned the type of presence adopted by the church and the way indigenous peoples, blacks, mestizos, and the poor rural and urban masses were treated. The names of Bartolomé de Las Casas, Antonio de Montesinos, Antonio Vieira, Brother Caneca and others can stand for a whole host of religious personalities who have graced every century of our short history. They we the source of the type of social and ecclesial understanding that is emerging today.

  23. I believe Liberation Theology had it’s origins in something good, but it’s been coopeted by angry, vengeful people at this point. It is an entirely different organism today.

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