As a stay-at-home mom with no television access, the radio is a huge part of my news and entertainment world. I often spin the dial while cleaning or cooking, and catch a bit of talk radio. It not only keeps me in the loop, but keeps me company as well. Sometime post 9/11, I became a fan of the Glenn Beck Radio Program. This is back when Beck’s fusion of entertainment and enlightenment was heavy on the entertainment. I resonated with his conservative views and belly laughed at things such as “Moron Trivia.”
Over the years, however, the show and Beck have taken a decided turn towards the serious. I must confess to longing, at times, for a good prank call rather than hour upon hour of warnings and—is there any other word for it?—prophecies regarding the political and economic future of our country. Sometimes listening to G.B. is a bit like being in the mall with my kids when they spot some unfortunately overweight person and proceed to very loudly announce to all those gathered within earshot “Look Mommy, that man’s really fat!” You can’t really argue the facts of their case but it is certainly socially awkward to have it brought to your (and the rest of the mall’s) attention.
I have felt an increasing internal tension as I have listened to Beck’s calls for repentance and a return to our founding values. That tension did not resolve itself as I listened to much of the Restoring Honor rally he hosted in Washington D.C. this past weekend. It wasn’t that I disagreed with any of the basic principles being expressed. I certainly think that our nation, both corporately and as individuals have plenty to repent of, but I am not comfortable with marrying my faith with my allegiance to my nation. Now don’t get me wrong: I certainly think that my faith should permeate every area of my life, those which would be deemed private and those which would fall into the public square. And since our country can be a moral agent for both good and evil, it seems appropriate that we have both pride and shame regarding our nation’s deeds. As I have listened to Mr. Beck call Americans to lives of honor, hope and charity (and expect those who “serve” as our leaders to do the same), I find I can only agree. As I have read the criticisms of those who oppose or are offended by him, I find a great lack of substantive examination and a great deal of name-calling and pettiness.
In the end, I support Beck’s ideals of restoring honor to the lives of our citizens. But I would hope that he would support the idea that it is not in the founders of nation but in the Creator of the universe where our ultimate hope lies. Whether or not we as a nation survive or perish, one day all nations will gather and we the people will discover what it is to be truly free.