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Has Glenn Beck Replaced Father Morris As Fox News' Resident Clergy?

Reported by Priscilla - July 16, 2010 -

Along with history, politics, art, and economics, Glenn Beck fancies himself a theologian. But unlike theologians, who have academic credentials and a body of writings, Beck is a college drop out. Yet, he has no problem with frequent exegeses on what he believes to be Christian eschatology. Exegesis is from a Greek word which implies teaching and guiding; but what Beck is teaching and the guidance that he’s giving, with regard to religion, is as bizarre as his history. If Bill O'Reilly is America's Daddy, is Glenn Beck America's Pastor?

His theology seems to be based on a Dominionist model which preaches that America is a “Christian Nation” which needs to govern itself on the Bible. It also preaches, as does Beck’s pseudo-historian David Barton that the Founders were devout, evangelical Christians and that’s just not true. But Beck’s supply side Jesus is clearly not the Jesus of mainstream Christianity. And Beck’s “teaching” about the evils of “social justice” run counter to the beliefs of Jews and mainstream Christians. The Roman Catholic Church has a strong tradition of social justice; but where is Fox’s Father Jonathan Morris when Beck is trashing what is a central pillar of Catholicism? But as a religious historian, Beck really needs a refresher on his New Testament. Earlier this week, he said that the Jews killed Jesus – a belief that provided the basis for barbaric persecution of the Jews by Christians. Even the Catholic Church absolved the Jews during the Ecumenical Council of the 60’s. Fact Check - the Romans killed Jesus. Perhaps Father Morris could provide Beck with a little update on contemporary New Testament studies – but where is he?

Beck presents “liberation theology,” which is not a part of contemporary, mainstream Christianity, as being a dangerous phenomenon which, according to Beck, is part of Obama’s belief system. (Scary black man thing?!) Yet he totally ignores the real danger of Dominionist theology which actually seeks to mold the USA into a culturally conservative society based on extreme evangelical Protestant beliefs. Even Beck’s definition of “liberation theology” is suspect. In telling Bill O’Reilly that Obama’s speeches reflect “liberation theology,” he provided a definition that doesn’t square with how it is actually defined. He claimed that this alleged belief system of Obama is based on “collective salvation” – i.e. that we are all responsible of each other’s salvation. According to a Catholic website, in their discussion of the demise of Catholic “liberation theology,” "Liberationists seek to change the object to which theology devotes its attention. They reject, with disdain, the notion that getting people to heaven is more important than getting them tolerable living conditions. Liberation theology is an attempt to change people's minds about what is most decisive and significant in their lives. In other words, liberation theology is a cultural challenge.” So like Bill O’Reilly, Beck would appear to pull his data from the land down under and I don’t mean Australia.

But in preaching his weird theology, in which he exhorts people to leave their churches at the mention of social justice, he is insulting people of actual faith whose beliefs, based on centuries of tradition, are very different from Beck’s pop theology. Even members of Beck’s Mormon church believe in social justice. But mainstream religious leaders are pushing back. In March, a Jesuit priest, Father James Martin wrote an article, “Glenn Beck to Jesus: Drop Dead,” which was very critical of Beck. Although he is not a religious leader, Abraham Foxman, as head of the ADL, is a a strong defender of the Jewish people. He describes Beck as “fearmonger in chief.” Now, “Faithful America,” an online Christian social justice group, has produced an ad to run, on radio, during Beck’s upcoming speaking tour. “Faithful America” is partnered with the National Council of Church, Sojourners, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Vote the Common Good, and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Their ad includes these words that say it all:

“Would you support a leader who said Jesus' teachings can lead to Naziism? Or who attacks Christian pastors for preaching the full gospel? Then why do so many Christians tune into Glenn Beck? By deriding pastors who preach the justice taught by Jesus and the prophets, Glenn Beck has urged listeners to follow his piecemeal gospel. Scripture teaches that the tongue can be like a small fire that sets a whole forest ablaze, and Christians are cautioned not to praise God in one breath while cursing those made in God's likeness in the next....”

So what say you, Father Jonathan?

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Correction: It's Father Morris = not Morrison