For centuries, religious hucksters have made hay (read: money) by convincing people that they have specific insight into when the world will end. (Hint: it's always just around the corner.)
Last week on his Fox News program, Glenn Beck hosted one such person. Author Joel Richardson was invited on the program to add some context to the events in the Middle East. During his appearance, Richardson mostly sat idly by while Beck tied Islam to the Antichrist, and Beck never pressed him on his actual beliefs on the end times.
Had Beck done so, his viewers may have heard Richardson discuss how Satan is using Islam as the "primary vehicle" to fulfill Biblical prophecy - an idea fleshed out in Richardson's book, Islamic Antichrist, to which Beck gave free publicity - or been treated to Richardson's explanation of how a "prophetess" foretold of Richardson's end times wisdom.
Via Kyle Mantyla at Right Wing Watch, it seems Beck will continue to use his Fox show as a platform for people who view current events through the prism of end times prophecy. This Thursday, according to a press release from Concerned Women for America, Beck will host author Tim LaHaye.
For years, LaHaye has suggested that we are quickly approaching Biblical Armageddon. He's even made a career out of it - writing the enormously popular and lucrative Left Behind series of novels and several "nonfiction" books based on this premise.
Beck has previously hosted LaHaye to discuss end times on his CNN program.
Beck opened the March 30, 2007 edition of his CNN program, by asking if the apocalypse is "almost upon us":
BECK (voice-over): Is the apocalypse almost upon us?
REV. PAT ROBERTSON, "700 CLUB": The Bible does indicate such a time will happen in the end of time, and could this be it? It might be.
BECK: Are the cataclysmic events of 9/11, Katrina, tsunami, famine and the threat of global pandemic signs we`re living in the end times?
One world government, one world economy, one world vision. Are we creeping even closer to the Book of Revelations' countdown to doomsday? And does an age-old prophecy foretell a Russian-Iranian alliance against Israel as well as a nuclear showdown? Apocalypse now? [CNN Headline News, 3/30/07, accessed via Nexis]
Introducing LaHaye and fellow guest Joel Roseberg that night, Beck said that "this is a show that I've wanted to do for a while, but quite honestly, what stops me from doing it is people think I'm nuts."
Based on how much he has been dabbling in end times theorizing lately, I guess he's no longer worried about that.
LaHaye should also fit in well on Beck's Fox News program. According to a Time profile in 2002, LaHaye believes, among other things, that a shadowy "secret order" called the Illuminati is plotting to control the world and that a coven of witches outside Milwaukee is conspiring to confuse church pastors:
He believes, for instance, that witchcraft is real, citing a coven of witches "outside Milwaukee" that sends its members to churches and confuses the pastors with spells. Similarly, he has written about a "secret order" called the Illuminati that has carried out a "conspiracy on the church, our government, media, and the public schools" for more than 300 years. His book Mind Siege: The Battle for Truth in the New Millennium (2000), co-written with David Noebel, says TV promotes incest and wife swapping as part of secularists' plans for "world domination." [Time, 6/23/02]
And, in keeping with many of the other religious figures Beck has chosen to mainstream, LaHaye is an anti-gay bigot. The same Time profile detailed LaHaye's "downright odious" views on homosexuality:
On another subject--gays and lesbians--LaHaye's views are not just eccentric but downright odious. In his 1978 book The Unhappy Gays--which even today LaHaye calls "a model of compassion"--he wrote that homosexuality is "vile" and that gays share 16 pernicious traits, which include "incredible promiscuity," "deceit," "selfishness," "vulnerability to sadism-masochism" and "poor health and an early death." He wondered who was more "cruel and inhuman"--those who accept gays even though they are so unhappy or "those who practiced Old Testament capital punishment" on gays. [Time, 6/23/02]
LaHaye is no stranger to Fox News. Last July, he joined Mike Huckabee to discuss Obama's "socialism." During the appearance, Huckabee asked LaHaye, "Are we now living in the end times, from your perspective?" LaHaye responded, "Very definitely, governor."
Though Beck clarified last week that he is "not saying that these are the end times," why does he think we should be turning to "experts" like LaHaye, Richardson, and Rosenberg for analysis of current events?