Give him credit for consistency: The second “core principle” of the 9/12 Project is, after all, “I believe in God and He is the center of my life.” I complained about that not long ago and a bunch of Beck fans jumped in to remind me that he’s said one needn’t believe in all the “core principles” to be part of the movement. No? Watch this clip and tell me how optional you think the God principle is in his mind.
I take his point about some liberal atheists filling the spiritual void with belief in government — it’s a pet peeve of an evangelical Democrat friend of mine, in fact — but (a) it’s not true of all nonbelievers, especially of the conservative stripe, and (b) personally, if I were inclined to get on my knees and wish/hope/pray for intervention from either God or Barack Obama, I’d call out for The One too. After all, there’s at least a chance he might show. I don’t get the either/or dichotomy Beck draws between social justice and eternal justice either; for starters, I can imagine Martin Luther King objecting rather strenuously to that. Nor do I understand the snotty, presumptuous accusation that atheists are “filling the void” with money and careers. Personally, I don’t feel any spiritual void, and even if I did, I’d rather not be lectured about it by a guy who has his own media empire and who’ll make more money this year than my entire extended family has made in the past century. What “void” in Beck’s soul is he filling with his fantastically popular show? See how condescending it is to even ask that?
And one more thing. If the key to American governance is the passage in the Declaration of Independence about god-given inalienable rights, why’d the authors of the Constitution go ahead and enumerate some of those rights anyway? And why, if they’re inalienable and god-given, weren’t those rights made exempt from amendment or repeal via Article V? The touchstone of the Constitution isn’t God, it’s rule by popular consent; religion may well influence the public in deciding which rights are so critical that even the popularly elected government should be forbidden to touch them, but when push comes to shove, it’s your call, not God’s. Slavery was once a right too, after all, and I’m sure there were plenty of apologists who found religious backing for that, fair or not.
Exit question: Why does he keep pushing the argument that his show isn’t about Democrat vs. Republican? That’s true, strictly speaking — he’s a libertarian, not a party apparatchik — but the Dems have been the party of big(ger) government for the past 40 years, at least. They’re antithetical to his philosophy. Saying his show has, or should have, no partisan resonance is like Janeane Garofalo insisting that she’s not about Dems or Repubs, just “truth.”