8/28: Glenn Beck and the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.



Collage of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. with Martin Luther King sitting on Lincoln's lap, and Glen Beck peering over his shoulder.Glenn Beck hopes to make history. He is convinced his Restoring Honor rally, planned for August 28th, will cause shockwaves unfelt in the country since the mid 1750s, the time of the Great Awakening.  As I pointed out in an earlier post, Beck is fond of preacher George Whitefield, though I think a strong case was made that Whitefield’s theology and Beck’s brand of pluralism are as different as black is from white.

It is probably no coincidence Beck’s rally was scheduled for the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, also given in front of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial on The Mall in Washington, D.C in 1963.   Another similarity exists.  Beck is calling upon both supporters and opponents of the rally to sign MLK’s Pledge to Non-Violence.

Al Sharpton, and many black civil rights organizations, in contrast, reject the notion of any similarity between Beck and King, and further accuse Beck of distorting King’s legacy and appropriating the circumstances of King’s rally for his own use.  For his part, Beck correctly replies that in the past, King’s socialist connections were denied or downplayed; now in a stunning reversal, MLK is gladly identified as a redistributionist or Marxist.  See what change the election of Barack Obama hath wrought!

Regardless of where MLK fell in the political spectrum, whites and blacks owe him a great debt for his leadership in courageously fighting the “manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination”.  Because the “Dream” speech touched so many lives, it will forever remain one of the greatest speeches in American history; moreover, King’s dream of a color-blind society is largely realized in the U.S., except in the race-baiting wing of the Democratic Party and a smattering of other stubborn racists refusing to give up their hatred.

Rev. King’s famous speech was peppered with allusions to Scripture and mentions of God (he was a Baptist minister, as well as a civil rights activist).  In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, written the same year, he makes the case that moral law trumps the laws of man.  Today, if anti-religionists were to be consistent, they would accuse him of promoting a fundamentalist theocracy, akin to something the Taliban might struggle for.  (If you don’t think that is true, consider the reaction Governor Mike Huckabee received when he addressed the murder of unborn children and suggested the Constitution can be changed, but the Scriptures cannot.)

Though King invoked the Bible, he was no fundamentalist.  Many Christians are unaware that he denied nearly all of Biblical Christianity, including the Divinity, Eternal Existence, Virgin Birth, and Incarnation of Jesus, as well as Blood Atonement, the Bodily Resurrection and Second Coming of Christ, the reality of Heaven & Hell, and the Trinity.  King never repudiated what he wrote in 1950:

“The more orthodox Christians have seen his divinity as an inherent quality metaphysically bestowed. Jesus, they have told us, is the Pre existent Logos. He is the word made flesh. He is the second person of the trinity. He is very God of very God, of one substance with the Father, who for our salvation came down from Heaven and was incarnate be (sic) the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary.
Certainly this view of the divinity of Christ presents many modern minds with insuperable difficulties. Most of us are not willing to see the union of the human and divine in a metaphysical incarnation…. To say that the Christ, whose example of living we are bid to follow, is divine in an ontological sense is actually harmful and detrimental (emphasis added)…. So that the orthodox view of the divinity of Christ is in my mind quite readily denied.

Like Glenn Beck, King was a pluralist who believed “the true seeker will realize that there is no one way to find God”. But unlike Beck, King never asked folks to set aside their understanding of God to bring about spiritual revival.   The 1963 demonstration motivated the crowd of 250,000 in DC to strive toward a single goal, universally understood and easily identified when accomplished (an end to discrimination against blacks). I wish I could have been there.  On the other hand, Beck is deliberately secretive about his hopes for the 8/28 rally, and moreover, recently stated the mainstream press won’t even understand what happened when it’s over. King called for specific action; Beck is calling for who-knows-what at the altar of who-knows-who.   It is hard to see what benefits can come from Beck’s ecumenical call to Washington.

If Glen’s stated goal was to restore the Constitution, I could go.   If he was calling for an end to abortion, I would go.   But since he wants us to put aside the one True God for an unstated common good, I’ll pass.

Links:     Beck & George Whitefield

I Have a Dream Speech

MLK Pledge of Non-Violence

“The Humanity and Divinity of Jesus by MLK, Jr.”

King’s God: The Unknown Faith of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

From the Left: Get your hands off MLK, Glenn Beck

From The Right: The Economics of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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  • Beverly Ann Stadermann-Chester

    Last paragraph – perfect!

    “If Glen’s stated goal was to restore the Constitution, I could go. If he was calling for an end to abortion, I would go. But since he wants us to put aside the one True God for an unstated common good, I’ll pass.”

    (worth repeating)

    I totally concur, David!

    • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?author=22 David Shedlock

      Thank you for your kind comments, and for joining us on Caffeinated Thoughts.

  • LISA

    OMGosh! You still don’t get it do you? I will say, nice spin, but, not honorable.

    • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?author=22 David Shedlock

      Thank you Lisa, for your comments.

      However, I have no idea what you are talking about. What is not honorable in what I have said?

    • Joshua Morrison

      Spin? It has been known by most theologians that MLK was more of a Social Gospel person, I had not previously read the quote above from King before, however I have had Theologian friends who have told me that he was not orthodox in his view of Salvation, Christ, or his Doctrine of Man.

      I would however caution you Lisa away from being a Political Conservative demagogue and be a Biblical Christian first and foremost and allow that to be your guiding principle.

      Not everyone who claims to be a “conservative” really is.

      Lincoln (whom both Beck, King, and the Left [red flag] love) was a tyrant and set precedent on federal usurpation of State Sovereignty. MLK was a early proponent of Liberation Theology (though not as radical as say Malcom X or other South American LT’s)

      This is one of the reasons why I left the Republican Party a year and a half ago. If you are pro-constitution you should probably join the Constitution Party or even possibly the Libertarian Party.

  • Joshua Morrison

    David your article was very good and very informative. Thanks!

    • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?author=22 David Shedlock

      Very gracious, Joshua.

  • Dennis Conforto

    David,

    I will be going with my wife; we will be flying from San Diego. We are going for lots of different reasons. First, we believe there is a silent majority out there that is never heard, by attending it is heard. We think sitting on the side lines and letting a few try to carry the load of the many is in part why we are in the mess we are in. Second, Glenn is only trying to wake up masses to just engage in the dialogue. Everybody has to decide what the dialogue to going to be for them. We don’t need Glenn to have a plan; he is not trying to be the leader. He is just creating a vehicle for all of us to be heard. We believe the people will figure out the course we should take. Frankly I think he was wise not to give a detail plan of his thoughts for the liberal media to take pot shots at before he speaks. Frankly MLK never handed out his talk before he gave it and neither should Glenn. Third, our main issue for going is voice our opinion that our government taxes too much and produces too little and then over spends in the process. If we collectively don’t do something about the national debt and do it fast we are going to run our nation into the ground from which there is nothing but an ugly way out. I suppose people can stay at home and talk about why Glenn should have done this or that, but frankly I know in my heart sitting this one out is not the answer… We are going to see history made live… the rest of you can watch it on TV… ;-)

    • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?author=22 David Shedlock

      “Third, our main issue for going is voice our opinion that our government taxes too much and produces too little and then over spends in the process”

      Then you are barking up the wrong tree. Beck said this is not about politics, its about religion. He doesn’t want Tea Party signs there.

      You are wasting your time and money if you think this will make a difference in the economics of our country. You haven’t been paying attention to Beck’s promotions.

      The only history that will be made is the further destruction of the professing Evangelical church and Beck”s historic assault on truth.

  • Tea for Me

    Beck is right to stand on the steps on 8/28. Obama is wrong to not allow prayer there that day… what about Obama’s recent statement of freedom of religion for the Muslims and their mosque? Once again progressive socialists show hypocrisy.

    Beck and the Tea Party are the new symbols of civil rights while the NAACP has been exposed for the separatist/racist organization we always suspected it was.

    King would be proud of Beck for sure.

  • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?author=22 David Shedlock

    “King would be proud of Beck for sure.”

    You might be right about that. It is too bad the true nature of Christ has been upheld by neither one.