Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beck and Dr. King: Anti-Gospel Confronts Gospel

Another outstanding piece of commentary at Alternet today: Sam Fullwood contrasting the bogus bought-and-paid-for gospel of wealth promoted by Glenn Beck at his revival rally this past weekend, and the gospel-centered message of social justice of Dr. Martin Luther King.  Which Beck and his tea partiers are trying to co-opt (and corrupt).

As Fullwood writes,

Indeed, the day after his rally on the National Mall Beck declared that the Tea Party does not stand for social justice of any kind, telling Fox News that his new religious movement stands in contrast to liberation theology, which he says underpins President’s Obama’s faith. Predictably mischaracterizing the president’s faith and Christian-inspired social justice the president supports, Beck said “it’s a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it.”

If so, it’s also a perversion of exactly what King preached and Beck mimics. King envisioned the mountaintop where our nation moved forward, to grant justice and equality to all its citizens. King’s speech soared with its language that stands to this day in diametric opposition to the call by Beck for a return to an era when white males defined and imposed their self-idolizing view of American culture and society. Those days are long gone, thanks in part to the protests, marches, and martyrdom of social justice advocates like King.

And, of course, as I post this on the heels of Drew Westen's fine analysis of how the emptiness--the moral emptiness--at the heart of the Obama administration's approach to governance is now reaping bitter fruit as the fall elections approach, I think: Mr. Obama could have done nothing finer, (and politically cannier), as a much-needed transformative leader of our nation at this troubled moment of our history, than to revive and emulate Martin Luther King's vision of a democracy in which justice rolls down like water.  For all citizens.

Not merely for bankers and CEOs.  But for out of work mothers struggling to raise families on a shoestring budget.  For elderly folks on fixed incomes watching their dollars stretch to the limit as prices of medicine, health care, and food skyrocket.  For gay and lesbian couples seeking the fundamental rights--the right to will property to each other, the right to hospital visitation, the right to be protected from violent assault simply because of who they are--other groups in the country take for granted.

What this administration might have been, and what it has chosen to be: the gap between the two is heart-breaking.  And it will become even more heart-breaking as the party of no re-consolidates its power again in the fall elections, and shows us just how much misery it is capable of creating for all of us, if we put the whipping cane back into its hands and do not do its bidding.  Which is to say, the will of its filthy rich backers.

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