Assuming Glenn Beck needs to be defended he doesn’t need me to do it. He seems quite capable of doing it himself, and has on more than one occasion when he has felt wronged, misquoted or misinterpreted. He has also apologized on more than one occasion when he has actually been wrong. So why would I bother with defense of a media personality that so many seem to think is either a fraud, religious zealot, or both?
I have listened to and watched Beck’s radio and internet programs for several years. The radio show’s intro defines the show as “the fusion of entertainment and enlightenment” while the live streaming internet program is more educational than entertaining or enlightening. Over the years that I have been a listener, Beck has definitely evolved. While in the early years the radio show was more entertainment and politics than enlightenment, with a fair amount of hangover (no pun intended) from his shock-jock days, it slowly began to morph into something more than that, as did Beck.
I could say I saw the handwriting on the wall. Over five years ago I contacted Beck’s CEO. Having done radio myself, I sent a demo tape of my on-air abilities and a video introduction of myself as a “video letter” to Beck himself. In it I told him that I saw where he was trying to go but was unlikely to get there using the path he was on at the time. I said he had to move beyond politics and organized religion as there were millions of people who were outside of either political party and who were more spiritual than religious and those people could not be reached through the Republican Party (Beck was a proponent at the time) or exclusively the Christian religion. I subsequently had the opportunity to meet Beck in person and, after a few moments exchange of conversation, he told me to give my contact information to his assistant which I did. The connection went nowhere. However, I have felt that either Beck or his staff has followed my posts on more than one occasion and used my material without credit which is something he has been accused of by both the late Andrew Breitbart and Michael Savage. I also think he did change course, as I had advised, and doing so expanded his media empire and his footprint.
I share the above in order to make the point that I could have my own gripe with Beck. I could be bitter, resentful and feel glee at the many slings and arrows that are directed at him by the likes of , Alex Jones, and Jon Stewart just to name a few. I could, but I don’t. Why? Because with all his human failings, Beck has been right much more than he has been wrong in sensing the trajectory of the nation and making serious efforts to inform, enlighten and caution as many people as possible as to where we are headed. Perhaps the three that most readily come to my mind are his early warnings about the Caliphate, the demise of the Republican Party, and the infiltration at every level of civil society and both political parties by Progressivism and its debilitating effects upon our way of life. On all three he was relentless. That relentlessness caused him to be the object of endless mockery and derision. But here’s the thing.
He was right.
I get that Beck is an entertainer. He can be wickedly funny or deliver a deeply compelling story while acting out a myriad of characters and personalities along the way. He can also offend my sensibilities at times when he, his co-host and producer go over the edge with humor based upon bodily functions. But he is also a relentless seeker of truth and a self-educated man whose efforts at both are commendable and too rare. I get that as an alcoholic turned religious Mormon one could argue that he has traded one addiction for another. However, we are all enslaved to something. For most it’s money, success, fame, sex, chocolate, heroin or technology. The list goes on and on. It’s the nature of this reality we call life. So as I see it, Beck could be addicted and enslaved to something much worse than a loving, all-forgiving, grace granting God who is the seemingly most important source of guidance in his life…that and the wife he loves and for whom he credits turning his life around.
So, I prefer to put aside the cheap shots, motivated oftentimes by envy, and instead focus on the good Beck has done and is doing.
His charitable organization, Mercury One, has not only been the first on the scene of domestic disasters but also the most forthcoming and action oriented in its efforts to rescue Christians from genocide in the Middle East. He went to the border to take toys and express love for the children trapped in immigration holding facilities through decisions made by their parents and no fault of their own. He held inspiring and peaceful rallies dedicated to honor, courage and love that drew hundreds of thousands of people both in the U.S. and Israel. He marched for racial unity after Ferguson and Baltimore. He continues to warn the nation of the suicidal consequences of failing to stand with the Constitution.
Currently, he has prayed and concluded that Ted Cruz is the best candidate in support of that stand. In standing for his belief, he has literally gone on the road campaigning for Cruz and for the first time in his public career, endorsed a Presidential candidate. He believes Cruz is a man of destiny. Beck may be right on Cruz or not. But as Shakespeare said in Henry IV, and if I may paraphrase, let’s not shoot the messenger because we don’t like the message.
These area troubling times. We are in need of asking serious questions and finding meaningful answers. Whether you agree with his delivery, his politics or his God, Beck continues to shine a bright light before a nation wandering in the dark in search of its own identity. Shame on those who, for personal or political reasons, are trying to diminish or extinguish that light.
We could do worse than pay attention to someone who has been right more often than he has been wrong. How many of his critics, or us, have that track record?