Glenn Beck had his masturbatory rally in Washington on August 28th. It was a mix of religious revival and fascist party rally (a group called “The Black Robes”? really?). His speeches and sermons are devoid of any facts or truths but people seem to love him. However his mix of religion and hate speech can be dangerous and we should not simply ignore him.
It is obvious that Beck isn’t the first demagogue with a large fan club. Father Charles Edward Coughlin, who had a radio show in the 1930’s, was just as popular and dangerous.
Father Charles Edward Coughlin (pronounced /’k?gl?n/ COG-lin; October 25, 1891 – October 27, 1979) was a controversial Roman Catholic priest at Royal Oak, Michigan’s National Shrine of the Little Flower Church. He was one of the first political leaders to use radio to reach a mass audience, as more than forty million tuned to his weekly broadcasts during the 1930s. Early in his career Coughlin was a vocal supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his early New Deal proposals, before later becoming a harsh critic of Roosevelt. It was at this point Coughlin began to use his radio program to issue antisemitic commentary, and later to rationalize some of the policies of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. The broadcasts have been called “a variation of the Fascist agenda applied to American culture”. His chief topics were political and economic rather than religious, with his slogan being Social Justice, first with, and later against, the New Deal. Many American bishops as well as the Vatican wanted him silenced, and he was eventually silenced by his superiors.
Some may ask how can people like Beck or Coughlin be dangerous?
There are some people in this country who were unstable to begin with and with a push from a talker like Glenn Beck went on a violent spree. For Beck it has happened at least twice and he may have played a part in a third incident.
A man in Pittsburgh died using suicide by cop after killing 3 cops, a gunman in Oakland CA was going to target a group that only Beck ranted about on his show, and Beck and his other Fox “news” buddies’ rhetoric played a part in the shooting inside a Knoxville Unitarian Church.
I fully believe in free speech and Beck can lie and mislead as much as he wants, but rhetoric can have consequences. We need to watch this fascist leaning talk and the wrapping of the flag within a religious framework. We must not be caught off guard or surprised. We must protect our rights every day and take people like Beck seriously even if he is a loon.
Just because he is popular doesn’t mean he tells the truth.