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Beck opens his Big Weekend with "America’s Divine Destiny" Prayer Bonanza.

Reported by Guest Blogger - August 28, 2010 -

Guest Blogged by Margarita

Fox News may not be covering Glenn Beck’s big weekend in Washington, but yours truly can capture it all for you via the miracles of the Internet. Beck’s "Insider Extreme" network is running the whole thing live, starting with Friday night’s "America’s Divine Destiny" rally held at the Kennedy Center in Washington. At this rally, according to the somewhat gramatically-challenged promo, "nationally-known religious figures from all faiths will unite to deliver messages reminiscent to those given during the struggles of Americas earliest days." Why not, I think. Dinner’s over and I’ve got nothing better to do.

7:45 pm: I tune in. View of stage with a huge American flag as backdrop. A gospel group is warming up the audience. Adoring Beck groupie Scott Baker makes occasional appearance to remind us that the rally comes from "Glenn’s vision to make this something more than politics, more than issues, more than election...[something to] really get us through the hard times." He says the crowd is "fired up", though I can’t tell because I never see them.

8:06. The rally opens with the National Anthem, sung gospel style while a woman in blue pyjamas does a kind of leaping modern dance.

8:15. The moment we’ve all been waiting for: HIS BECKNESS TAKES THE STAGE!!! Wild cheers. "This is the beginning of the end of darkness," he promises. He introduces co-host David Barton, the guy who’s made it his mission to prove the Founding Fathers meant America to be a theocracy. Congressman Randy Forbes, R-VA, head of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, says opening prayer.

8:29. Choir returns to stage, to sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. It’s a bombastic and overdone version that sets my teeth on edge. I go fill my wine glass.

8:37. David Barton introduces Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Unfortunately the rabbi is observing the Sabbath which forces him to speak without a microphone. Ten minutes of the rabbi lipsynching and gesticulating. I go get the last slice of chocolate cake out of the fridge. Rabbi Lapin finally finishes his arm-waving and walks off the stage. Beck says he will "become the most dangerous rabbi in America," because apparently he’s said God doesn’t see anything wrong with people making money. Even if it involves hob-nobbing with the likes of Jack Abramoff, one of Lapin's long-time buddies.

8:55. Barton introduces Dr. Patrick Lee, a "religious bioethicist" - tall thin man with a Reagan haircut. He at least uses the mike; though it’s not long before I’m wishing he hadn’t. He talks of the struggle in our culture between two views of our world and our place in it. One view, espoused by elites, MSM and all those villainous folks, is that the supreme goal is autonomy of choice and we have the right to fashion for themselves what is meaningful and worthwhile. (Really? I thought the Beck faction was all about individual autonomy and choice. It turns out, though, that freedom doesn’t extend to "disposing of other human beings for the benefit of others" or playing around with the definition of marriage.) In Dr. Lee’s view of the world, God has a plan for us and we should try to conform our conduct to that plan. "Autonomy is good but it’s not the supreme good." Since we have a duty to thank God publicly for his many blessings, we should have the opportunity to pray in public, regardless of our religion. (Really? Let’s see what he’d say if Muslims started praying in public.)

9:10. A woman wearing crinkly ankle-length skirt and Birkenstocks comes out to sing a song about God being "True North." Having finished the cake, I go put the plate in the dishwasher.

9:16. Barton introduces Miles McPherson, former NFL player who lived fast and sinful life until he found God, and is now pastor of the Rock Church in San Diego. He has a dynamic, rapid-fire way of speaking and moving. Talks about how his parish helped supply a community with food, clothes and water after a major fire, and proclaims, "The town is on fire." People are losing jobs, girls being prepared for the sex trade, yet so many people are "clueless" about this. "Stop playing church," he says, and get out and do something. (OMG, this guy’s off-message. He sounds like a community organizer - one of those social-justice liberation types Beck’s been warning us against. How did he get into a Beck rally?)

9:20 Beck: "How do you follow that?" With no further commentary apparently, because he immediately introduces Chuck Norris, who comes on stage with his wife as a prop. Never taking his eyes from his crib sheet (prepared, no doubt, by David Barton) he reads quotes from Washington and Ben Franklin and Samuel Adams; wife giggles into his ear, nods vigorously and claps whenever he pauses. Quotes from George Washington’s farewell address, where he says that religion and morality are indispensable support to a patriot. (Except he says "mortality" before he corrects himself). Also quotes Ben Franklin, who suggests applying to the "Father of Light" to illuminate our political debate: "If a sparrow cannot fall without his providence, can an empire rise without his aid?" (Ben had a way with words, gotta admit; better than anyone in Beck’s entourage.)

Chucky never mentions that the main theme of Washington’s farewell address was a warning against partisanship in politics: "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty." (Glenn: is that you?)

9:40. OK, gentle readers, I’ve had enough. They’ve promised us Reverend Hagee and some "mystery guest" after the break, but I’m not going to wait around. I’m off to wash the pots and pans.

The rally itself is not being broadcast on Fox News but is available on Beck's Insider Extreme and is also being live-streamed from Facebook, if you have nothing better to do on a Saturday morning.

(Editor's note. The event is being broadcast and streamed on C-Span, too)

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