home
RSS
August 30th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

My Take: Beck’s rally was about restoring virtue and God's place

Editor's Note: Jim Garlow, Senior Pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, California, is a radio commentator and author of Heaven and the Afterlife: What Happens When You Die?

By Jim Garlow, Special to CNN

What was the theme of Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally? As someone who attended the combined six hours of the Friday and Saturday events, the themes were obvious.

For starters, a call to decency reigned. Not some bland, gray, boring form of mundane living, but rather the centuries-old respectable virtues that gave us the America we now enjoy.

Sometime around 1960, morals jumped off the bridge without first attaching the bungee cord. The result is a nation with everything from devastated families, drug- and crime-infested communities to a hedonistically driven national debt.

So remedial was this message that a Jewish rabbi—who received multiple ovations from the overwhelmingly evangelical Friday night crowd—called for a return to “manners.”

Equally basic to life was Beck’s simple exhortation to “tell the truth.” Every person should know by the first day of kindergarten. For Beck to need to call for something so basic is reflective of the moral anarchy and chaos from the failure of a generation to properly parent its own offspring.

The incessant removal of a moral base is killing us.

The blocking of reverence for God has taken away the understanding of objective truth—the Ten Commandments and acknowledging God in our schools for starters—freeing humankind to wallow in lawlessness.

Restoring Honor was about extolling virtue, the very traits that propelled this nation to rise from global obscurity to world leader. The verb-noun combination “extol virtue” is as desperately needed as it is quaint sounding.

One of the ways that virtue was extolled over the weekend was the spotlight on America’s military.

Persons who had made enormous personal sacrifices—one young soldier with both hands missing, another whose face had been blown off in Vietnam, along with a mother whose military son had been killed—were among the celebrated heroes.

The bedrock of the day was a total reliance on and thankfulness to God. This is not—as liberals love to say—“wearing your religion on your sleeve.” This is living one’s faith from one’s mind and heart. Above all, the crowd was there to honor God. And they did.

Despite the pre-rally discussions of Beck’s Mormonism, the rally’s litany of evangelical speakers gave it the Jesus-centeredness of a Billy Graham Crusade. All theological references were clearly evangelical and biblically based.

And Beck supercharged the crowd with radical confidence in individual human potential. Towards the culmination of Saturday’s three-hour event, Beck cried out that “one person can change a nation.”

Some might have thought he was referring to some yet unknown but emerging national leader. He was not. His next line: “and that person is you!”

Beck empowered people. His confidence in the American understanding of the human spirit was reminiscent of the writings of the Founding Fathers.

On the stage, African Americans were as predominant as whites. Native Americans were also included. Friday night’s Kennedy Center rally, also evangelical in tone, had no white male pastors as speakers. The lineup of African Americans, Catholics, a rabbi and female speakers garnered about 30 standing ovations.

In macro tones, the tragedy in our culture is the incapacity of many to grasp that our current tensions are no longer merely “right vs. left” but more seriously “right vs. wrong.”

Ripping up babies in the womb is a barbaric act. It is wrong. Destroying the definition of families so that children lack either a mommy or a daddy is narcissistic and just plain stupid.

Spending excessive amounts of money the nation does not have is economic suicide. Excessive taxation is oppression.

Robbing people of the cherished concept of “the consent of the governed” is nationally devastating. Smothering creativity and entrepreneurialism with bureaucracy is a denial of the longing for productivity in the human spirit, a violation of the image of God stamped deep within us.

America, by margins of 70 percent to 80 percent believe in the values that made us, whether it be in maintaining “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance or “In God We Trust” on our coins. Americans have grown weary of the oligarchic cultural elite oppressing the masses.

To discerning persons, the rally was not about Glenn Beck. It was not about Sarah Palin. This rally was about freedom, honor, our American heritage, and sacrifice. And foundationally, it was about God.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jim Garlow.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion • Politics

soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. QCS

    "Spending excessive amounts of money the nation does not have is economic suicide. Excessive taxation is oppression."

    I'm willing to look past every religious aspect of this article. In my mind, beside the above statement, it is all so much white noise. Economists, from both the right and left, overwhelmingly agree that the government is the last resort in re-booting an economy. And to avoid a complete collapse, the government stepped in, is they have to do, and should be expected to do. Excessive taxation? Show me where that really, on the whole, exists. It is a common fallacy to believe that the nation's budget is merely an extension of any common home's budget. If you factor in defense, social security, and medicare, that is easily half of our nation's budget. Easily. And yet those three things, I'm willing to bet, are absolutely untouchable in the eyes of Garlow. His entire argument is lost in that fact.

    September 3, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Repent and get saved Pastor Jim Garlow! The Christian bible says not to join in Religious Fellowship with False Prophets!

    September 2, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  3. Matt

    As America becomes less fundamentalist the cries of the fundies to return to the way they were will become more loud and shrill. This article is a perfect example. His arguments strike me as petty and churlish. They are the adult equivalent of the schoolyard bully who throws a conniption when the other kids get big enough that he can no longer push them around as easily. Other religious, or non-religious, groups are growing and letting their voices be heard. This is the way it should be, when all people are free to not only live as they choose but also free to not be pushed around by the biggest religion on the block.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  4. Pablo

    Thank you for that insightful review. I was there, front row; it was all that; peaceful but powerful. We walked the length of the Mall twice and never heard an unkind word; a few clever lib signs drew some healthy, polite debate, but nothing caustic. I did not see a piece of trash anywhere. This was a huge crowd of God-fearing, tax-paying, liberal-tolerating Americans. Bravo, Beck! God bless you, brother Garlow.

    September 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  5. nanas4

    Isn't it amazing how people are ready to criticize Glenn and crucify him for his religion, motives etc. when he is NOT holding elected office...he is a private citizen. Where was the scrutiny of this President and other elected officials who formulate policy that affects all of us? Glenn tells people to "know what you believe" and don't accept what others tell you...verify it, investigate it, research it! I don't know what Glenn believes in his heart, I don't know what his religious convictions are but I know what I believe and I will not be persuaded by a political leader or a person on television to change my mind. God will judge him as he will all of us....I pray for Glenn and for all who are genuinely concerned about our country. I pray that God will give us wisdom and discernment and peace in the hearts of all.

    September 1, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
    • NL

      Well, he's not running for office... yet, but he is getting something out of this exposure, isn't he? Can't be doing his ratings any harm.

      I will agree that it's important to verify, investigate, research why you believe in something, but he should have also told people to use outside sources to do this. Christians investigating if they're correct in believing what they do really shouldn't expect any objectivity from the bible or any other Christian authorities.

      September 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  6. Rudy

    Unbelievable! From CNN? Bravo...Bravo CNN. Who would have ever thought that CNN could report the NEWS as complete as this article states the facts. CNN, you should practice more honor in your reporting.

    September 1, 2010 at 5:56 am |
  7. will

    I seriously hope god hasn't increased prayer costs because the GOP and DEMS would be in serious trouble. We dont have many prayers left?

    September 1, 2010 at 3:19 am |
  8. Ann

    As I read through the comments. I kept hearing what Glenn said today on his show. YOU'VE WON! YOU'VE WON! He is right. He showed the ugly criticisms on one screen of what the left expected.On the other the contrast scenes of what the TRUTH and what they and didn't get. The vitriol here completes it. THEY'VE lost and its name calling. Why because the proof of the pudding is nothing they say is the TRUTH. Issues are never debated intelligently, its always name calling. WE'VE WON! It's killing them. The more they yell, name call, try to defame, the more it shows who THEY REALLY ARE. MLK was right the people know. But more to the point. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. We saw that in one man who sat next to a lady and her daughter going back home on the plane. The ladies when to Restoring Honor rally. The man to Al Sharpton's rally. He came to GB's rally to protest he told them. "When I got there I saw I nothing to protest." He went home a changed man. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

    August 31, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  9. hneftafl

    Glenn Beck says tell the truth? AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

    August 31, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
    • Inspired

      God is the truth and Glenn Beck has been called by God to speak the truth. This nation has to go back to God.

      August 31, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  10. stan in san diego

    Was attending the church when Garlow took the post...poser, self-promoter...takes any opportunity to get on TV or in the paper, including about his dieting. Was always sweaty and florid and what's with the constant tears? He's compromised his faith and why am I not surprised?

    August 31, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  11. Inspired

    Glenn Beck is born again Christian and I am praying for him.

    Martin Luther King Jr. has also taken people out to the street..... to be loved and encouraged.

    We are proud of Mr. Glenn Beck and this "America awakening celebration" participants.

    August 31, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Mormon /= Evangelical

      August 31, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  12. Sleeping Christians

    In public places, count me out! In schools, don't look for me.
    Don't give me that fearful "P" word, I will be hiding under my bed.

    There are thousand reasons why I want to be alone, doing nothing for my God and my country.

    Take me to a safe place like mortuary ........... where I can be a proud Christian again.

    August 31, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  13. Michelle

    NL,
    The bible is truth because prophecies are fulfilled in it. Try this website out, Listen to the whole series of Daniel, and then come back with your rebuttal. Knowledge is truth and God IS in control. http://www.cc-chestersprings.com/teaching.asp# . Also, you may want to read, I don't have enough faith to be an atheist. Anything that you believe in or don't believe in, you have to have a level of faith in it. Praying for you and our country and all those blinded by their sins and disbelief.

    August 31, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
    • NL

      Michelle-
      The bible was written after the events of prophecy occurred, so it gives the false impression that they foretold (or are foretelling) future events. I think it's more useful to think of the word "profess" whenever you see prophecy in the bible. Characters like the prophets were really interpreting events backwards so that the causes for the people's terrible luck could be understood in a religious context. Imagine them like accusers pointing fingers at the kings and saying "You got us into this with your ...!"

      I've read junk like this about Daniel before, but a lot of it was more creative than this. Bored already.

      You don't have to trust in faith to be an atheist. All you need to trust in is reason, logic and things for which there is actual evidence of.
      Statistically, I'm not worried about there being a God for about the same reason why I'm not worried about being attacked by a dragon: There's no real evidence that either exists.

      August 31, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Atheists do not have faith. Your argument is a non sequitur. Latin for "it does not follow", are you familiar with Latin? it is one of the languages the bible was translated to, then from. Any chance it was modified from the original? Ya think?

      August 31, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
    • Michelle

      NL-
      I said listen to the whole thing and then come back with your rebuttal. I knew you would not listen.
      Faith is confidence of trust in a thing ( in your case atheism)... You have to have faith to believe it because there is no proof there is no god. There is a creator. I can not believe you can look at this beautiful world and say...this just happened all on its own with no god or no reason. Darwinism is proven to have many flaws and yet people still BELIEVE (have faith) in evolution. Have you read the books by Lee Strobel? He was an atheist trying to prove the bible wrong and then found the evidence and became a Christian instead. I believe in God. I know that Jesus came and died for our sins and I pray that you will repent and turn from your sins. The bible is truth. I will pray God will open your heart and the heart of all americans who have turned away from God. I may not have all the answers, but Im not claiming too. But I know that when I lived in sin my life was a nightmare, and I always knew God was waiting for me to turn back to him. When I finally opened my eyes and turned from my sins, my life has been amazing. It is never perfect, but with God all things are possible. I see people around me, loved ones who don't believe and their life is in terrible shape, because they have refused Jesus. Just look at most celebrites, they have all the money they could want, they can have any person they want, and there life is always a trial...there is drugs, adultry, divorce, unhappiness. Its because they are looking for a purpose, and God is the what they need, but they do not turn to him. Why? I'm not sure, maybe because this world loves to be immoral. Sorry for going on, I just can not be turned from Jesus Christ being my savior, because he has saved me. And I am so happy with my life with God.

      September 1, 2010 at 9:09 am |
    • NL

      Michelle-
      You said "I said listen to the whole thing and then come back with your rebuttal. I knew you would not listen."
      Life is short, and I've heard this stuff many, many times before. I already regret the time I put in trying to humor you.

      BTW Why would anyone want to be called a sheep?

      "Faith is confidence of trust in a thing ( in your case atheism)... You have to have faith to believe it because there is no proof there is no god."

      Faith is not confidence. I have confidence that gods don't exist because there is no evidence to support a belief in them, any of them. If there were evidence believers would not need faith. Faith is a way of convincing yourself to believe something that is not supported by reason. Everything that I believe in is supported by reason therefore I do not rely on faith.

      I have confidence, for example, that my wife loves me. In every little thing that she does for me, in the way that she holds my hand, in what she shares with me, and in every other aspect of our lives with each other she conveys her love for me. I have no reason whatsoever to suspect that she does not actually love me, so I have confidence that she does. Most importantly, I can tell that she is a real live person and not a figment of my imagination. I can see her. Others have seen her. Complete strangers will swerve to avoid running into her on the sidewalk. I have complete confidence that she's real. Can you say the same thing about God?

      "There is a creator. I can not believe you can look at this beautiful world and say...this just happened all on its own with no god or no reason."

      Any creator of this world didn't do a very good job. Not everything in the natural world is beautiful. Being prey to something isn't pretty. Our bodies have too many obvious flaws to have been designed.

      "Darwinism is proven to have many flaws and yet people still BELIEVE (have faith) in evolution."

      The flaws that you allude to are the gaps in the fossil record, correct? The intermediate species that we haven't found the fossils for yet. You don't need to finish an entire jigsaw puzzle to know if you're doing it right. The pieces fit together and the picture is nearing completion. That's why I have confidence in evolution.

      "Have you read the books by Lee Strobel? He was an atheist trying to prove the bible wrong and then found the evidence and became a Christian instead."

      I've read some of his stuff. He's found faith, but he hasn't found evidence.

      "I believe in God. I know that Jesus came and died for our sins and I pray that you will repent and turn from your sins."

      Is it a sin not to believe in something for which you are not convinced? I just can't turn on belief without having reason to justify it. Can you? Would you consider it just if someone punished you for not following your horoscope?

      "The bible is truth."

      You believe this because it tells you it's truth. Do you believe everything that tells you it's the truth?

      "I will pray God will open your heart and the heart of all americans who have turned away from God. I may not have all the answers, but Im not claiming too. But I know that when I lived in sin my life was a nightmare, and I always knew God was waiting for me to turn back to him. When I finally opened my eyes and turned from my sins, my life has been amazing. It is never perfect, but with God all things are possible. I see people around me, loved ones who don't believe and their life is in terrible shape, because they have refused Jesus. Just look at most celebrites, they have all the money they could want, they can have any person they want, and there life is always a trial...there is drugs, adultry, divorce, unhappiness. Its because they are looking for a purpose, and God is the what they need, but they do not turn to him. Why? I'm not sure, maybe because this world loves to be immoral. Sorry for going on, I just can not be turned from Jesus Christ being my savior, because he has saved me. And I am so happy with my life with God."

      I'm glad you're happy. It took dropping religion to make me a happier, better person. I do fewer bad things now. If you don't know all the answers there's no reason to give up trying. If you do, and some things still don't make sense to you, if the pieces don't fit together, then shouldn't that be a sign to you that you're on the wrong track?

      September 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
    • Michelle

      NL,

      I know your type. You did not listen to it because in your mind you already "know everything", but that just shows how small minded you are. You need to research things from all angles, not just your angle. You choose to not look at truths because in your mind everything is fine standing still. You should have listened to it, it is a great series on the book of Daniel, full of FACTS and information. I am really sorry you decided to miss out on it. As for being called sheep, if you know the bible Jesus is the shepherd and we are his sheep. Maybe you need to research it some more.
      You use trickery on people. If I would have claimed to know everything, then you would have argued that side. But since I claimed to not know everything, which I am not sure how anyone could, you still argued your point.
      I would broaden your mind and not be so simple minded. If you want to know the truth, I suggest you research it.
      I really hope you change your mind and listen to it.
      And thanks for the lecture on truth, but I do my research and I live a very happy life. Maybe "religion" didn't work out for you because you put your faith in people and not on God. I pray God will give you ears to hear the truth and when he comes knocking at your heart, that you will seek God with an open mind.
      Also, I find it very sad you don't think this world is beautiful, there are bad things that happen, but I am talking about the creation around us...Gravity, the moon, the stars, the sun, how we are designed...It truly is from God.

      September 4, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  14. Jack

    I hate to point this out...but Beck is a Mormon. When he speaks of God and faith, I tune out. Sorry, but I'm not willing compromise right doctrine for political gain. Many would say "this wasn't about politics,' but it is. Beck's commentary is politically based, whatever label he tries to put on this, at the heart, is rooted in politics.

    August 31, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  15. Southern California

    It's time to wake up folks!
    Thank you Glenn Beck for standing up for our nation and we shall recover our stolen honor.

    August 31, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Idiot

      August 31, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
1 2 3
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.