As he attempts to rebrand himself as a spiritual leader, Glenn Beck has surrounded himself with religious and secular figures who share a fervent opposition to the "homosexual agenda."
Following polls that show Americans increasingly believe (wrongly) that President Obama is a Muslim, conservative media figures predictably blamed Obama for this perception. There have been many lowlights, but you'd be hard-pressed to outdo Brian Kilmeade suggesting Obama should have "kept his name as Barry and not Barack" if he "was worried" about people thinking he's Muslim. In finding increasingly absurd ways to blame Obama for conspiracy theories about him, conservatives have conveniently ignored their own role in relentlessly promoting them.
Closely tied to the falsehood that Obama is a Muslim is the "birther" conspiracy theory that Obama has a fake birth certificate.
Despite the fact that this conspiracy is, you know, insane, it refuses to die. As we noted yesterday, Fox News military analyst Thomas McInerney told conservative publication/birther central WorldNetDaily that he believes there are "widespread and legitimate concerns that the President is constitutionally ineligible to hold office" and expressed support for an Army officer who is awaiting a court-martial for refusing to obey orders from commanding officers "until the president produces his original birth certificate." McInerney is far from the only birther associated with Fox News.
Sean Hannity - who has dipped his toe in the birther pool in the past by asking what's wrong with asking if Obama has a "legitimate birth certificate" - is hosting widely discredited smear artist, birther extraordinaire, and WND "reporter" Jerome Corsi tonight as part of his "Great American Panel."
Corsi has been one of the main promoters of Birtherism online, churning out countless articles on the subject for WorldNetDaily (sample headlines: "Doubts persist about Obama birth certificate, Considerable evidence still points to candidate's birth in Kenya"; "New doubts revealed in Obama's nativity story"; "Just who delivered baby Barack Obama?").
Last night, Fox News televangelist Glenn Beck railed on universities, declaring that "we have been setting up re-education camps. We call them universities." Beck also explained that "our children are being submerged in the filth of communism" at schools around the country.
While Beck lobs the usual conservative vitriol at the supposed indoctrination taking place on many campuses around the country, he apparently does not think all institutions of higher learning are evil.
In May of this year, Glenn Beck gave a tear-soaked commencement speech at Liberty University, the largest evangelical Christian university in the world. The speech included Beck's usual over-the-top rhetoric, including his advice to grads that they should "shoot to kill." In a preview of his dramatic recent turn towards hyper-religiosity, Beck declared that God's "finger was on the back of Columbus," and that "God's finger...wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution." He added, "This is God's country. These are God's rights."
Both before and after his commencement speech, Beck has hosted Jerry Falwell Jr. -- current chancellor of Liberty University -- to discuss issues like social justice and plug Liberty U.
But Beck has done more than allow Falwell Jr. to plug his university; Beck himself has explicitly endorsed Liberty as a "university where your kids are safe, and your kids can actually learn, and not be filled with a bunch of nonsense." During a June 25 segment on his radio show, Beck and Falwell Jr. discussed a donated four year scholarship to Liberty University that Beck was going to auction off as part of fundraising for Beck's then-upcoming "Restoring Honor" rally.
During the seemingly never-ending conservative freak-out over the proposed Park51 community center, right-wing media have dismissed the idea that the right's extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric has fueled "Islamophobia" throughout the country. As we've documented extensively, based on numerous hateful protests and vandalisms of mosques around the country, this is clearly not the case. Unfortunately, we can add another piece of evidence to the growing trend.
San Diego radio station KFMB, which features a lineup of conservative talk programming, is currently hosting the following poll on their homepage:
(Though it's never a great idea to place much stock in unscientific online polls, 63% of respondents have so far answered "Yes.")
Among others, KFMB broadcasts Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, and Dave Ramsey. Along with other major conservative media figures, Hannity, Beck, and Savage have worked hard to blur the lines between Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and the moderate Muslims behind the planned center and the radical extremists that attacked the U.S. on 9-11. Based on the recent anti-Muslim rhetoric of these hosts, perhaps this poll doesn't seem outwardly outlandish to regular listeners of this radio station.
Earlier, we pointed out that Glenn Beck was "restoring honor" at his "Divine Destiny" religious revival with Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Lapin's honor-restoration bona fides include a close relationship with Republican-lobbyist/convicted felon Jack Abramoff. Unsurprisingly, Lapin was not the only controversial figure to join Beck on stage.
The last religious figure to appear at the event was Rev. John Hagee, who you may remember from earlier this summer as one of the "leaders in the faith community" that Beck held out as an example of "people that need to start standing up." Back in July, Beck plugged Hagee's "excellent" book, Can America Survive? 10 Prophetic Signs That We Are The Terminal Generation.
As I detailed at the time, Can America Survive? is an account of how the world is fast-approaching Biblical Armageddon. Hagee views himself as an expert in Biblical prophecy, and laid out several bold predictions in the book, including:
"Why is this divine covenant for a specific land to the Jewish people so crucial in the twenty-first century? It's urgent because World War III is about to begin over the failure of humanity to recognize Israel's historic right to the land."
When he isn't engaged in Biblical soothsaying, Hagee is busy making offensive statements:
At long last, Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" self-aggrandizement festival is almost upon us. In Beck's words, the rally will mark a "turning point" in American history, where "miracles" will happen.
In a new promo posted on a "Producers' Blog" at his website, Beck humbly places the rally in the context of the moon landing, the Montgomery bus boycott, Iwo Jima, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and other landmark historical events. It also not-so-subtly suggests that Beck is following in the tradition of Martin Luther King (which is a farce), Abraham Lincoln, most of the Founding Fathers, Martha Washington, the Wright Brothers, and other notable historical figures.
To give you some sense of the egomania on display here, it starts with the line, "Every great achievement in human history has started with one person. One crazy idea." Watch:
Bonus amusement: this unfathomably egomaniacal video is preceded by Glenn Beck shilling for Goldline -- and a Goldline banner ad pops up during the video as well. That's just the sort of hucksterism the Founding Fathers were known for.
Glenn Beck recently lashed out at civil rights leaders who accused him of "hijacking" the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. Though Beck claims he isn't "hijacking" King's legacy in "any way, shape, or form," he has repeatedly attempted to co-opt both King and the civil rights movement to promote his upcoming 8-28 rally and other political causes.
Fox News' Glenn Beck has spent the past several months relentlessly promoting his upcoming "Restoring Honor" rally, scheduled to take place this Saturday. Beck claims he originally wanted to schedule the rally for September 12, but decided to change the date because he didn't want to ask people to "work on the Sabbath." Instead, Beck and his event planners scheduled the rally for August 28, which coincides with the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic "I have a dream" speech -- a fact that Beck insists he only later discovered in a New York Times article.
Nonetheless, Beck seized on the supposed coincidence, which he chalked up to "divine providence." To Beck, the 8-28 rally is more than just a gathering of like-minded conservatives calling for a restoration of "honor." Instead, he views the 8-28 rally on a much grander scale. In his words, it will be a "historic" day that will mark a "turning point in America" that your "children will remember."
Beck's discussions of the rally's supposedly crucial role in American history have included frequent invocations of the civil rights movement, and Martin Luther King Jr. in particular. According to Beck, the rally will "reclaim the civil rights movement" because "Martin Luther King's dream" has "been distorted" and "massively perverted" by progressives. In attacking the people he claims are "perverting" King's legacy (i.e. progressives), Beck has suggested that he and his followers are the "inheritors and the protectors of the civil rights movement." In Beck's words, they will "take that movement, because we were the people that did it in the first place."
Beck is completely rewriting history.
King forcefully advocated for drastic action by the federal government to combat poverty; supported "social justice"; called for an "economic bill of rights" that would "guarantee a job to all people who want to work"; and stated that we must address whether we need to "restructure the whole of American society" -- all ideas that Beck has vilified.
Beck accuses progressives of trying to rewrite history and implores his followers to read original sources, but a review of King's own words clearly shows that Beck's insistence that he and his followers are the custodians of King's dream and legacy is nothing more than a lie.
Tonight, Glenn Beck continued to dishonestly respond to the unearthing of a 2006 roundtable discussion in which Beck appeared to call Imam Rauf a "good Muslim."
In tonight's segment, Beck purports to show (and then dismisses) the "damning, gotcha evidence" from the 2006 interview, but he actually excises a key moment from the video.
After playing the "sure, sure" comment, Beck responds in exasperated fashion by saying "that's it?!" But as we noted earlier, that was not, in fact, "it." In addition to appearing to endorse Sawyer's characterization of the distinction between Rauf and extremists, Beck later appeared to gesture to Rauf when Beck invoked the idea of "good Muslims." Beck left this part of the exchange out of the video he aired tonight and didn't mention it during his televised response.
One of the main lines of attack in the never-ending conservative freak-out over the plan to build an Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan has been attempting to smear the developers of the center -- Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf in particular -- as "radical." In their usual despicable fashion, conservative media figures have worked hard to blur the line between the terrorists who attacked us on 9-11 and the moderate Muslims who are behind the planned center.
One of the loudest voices in conservatives' fight against the center has been Glenn Beck, who has specifically targeted Imam Rauf with blatant falsehoods and hypocritical attacks in a desperate attempt to smear him as a radical.
Additionally, among other offensive comments, Beck has asked, "after you've killed 3,000 people you're going to now build your mosque?" He's also absurdly labeled the center an "actual danger" and suggested it is an "Allah-tells-me-to-blow-up-America mosque." Though we -- and many other outlets -- have repeatedly pointed out that Rauf is widely viewed as a moderate and has often denounced the extremists who carry out violent attacks in the name of Islam, Beck and his fellow demagogues continue to push the dishonest attack.
But Beck does not need to take our word for it that Imam Rauf is a moderate who distances himself from radicals -- Rauf told Beck as much while sitting at the same table with him during a 2006 discussion on ABC's Good Morning America.
During the ABC segment, Rauf condemned the extremists who issued death threats against the Pope and political cartoonists, specifically saying that "these reactions are not at all called for by Islamic teaching. The teachings of Islam are very similar to the teachings of Christianity, of loving the one God and loving thy neighbor. These are the two common principles."
When Diane Sawyer mentioned that Imam Rauf says the radicals are just a "group of people" and "not him," Beck seemed to agree, saying "sure, sure." He added, "I believe it's a small portion of Islam that is acting in these ways."
Beck, for his part, even appeared to gesture to Imam Rauf when he invoked the idea of "good Muslims." (At about 2:45.)
Beck's response to this -- if he bothers to respond at all -- will likely be that when this segment was filmed, he was unaware of the supposed "radical" beliefs of Rauf. However as we (and Jon Stewart) have pointed out, Rauf's statements about 9-11 that Beck and others have pointed to as evidence of his hatred of America and sympathy for terrorism track very closely with things many conservatives -- including Glenn Beck himself - have said.