The Common Good

Let's Hold Glenn Beck to His Pledge of Nonviolence

On his radio show last week, Glenn Beck read a vow of nonviolence, which he said he'd been working on for about a year, and pleaded his followers to take it as well. The pledge itself is actually quite good, and even Gandhian, at parts. Here is an excerpt:

Today, quarters of the Earth are endangered by tyranny, discrimination, barbarism, and subjugation by fellow man. With an understanding of basic rights and equal justice, we must remain loyal to God and deliver the rights which [God's] benevolence has bestowed upon us to those who have been denied the blessings of liberty, justice, and equality. More importantly, we must protect them from being robbed in the future, so that forever the world may be safe, and her people free from malevolence. Together, we must be prepared to do our duty no matter the cost and we must do so inexorably. We must march forth steadfast and unconquerable and defeat the forces of evil not by sword, but through our love for mankind and his creator.

Martin Luther King stood before the Lincoln Memorial over four decades ago and proclaimed during his most famous speech: "We must not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred." Therefore, let us carry forth Dr. King's mission to future generations so that our children and our grandchildren may defend it in the years to come. Let us persistently oppose evil just as much as the person who uses violence, but let our methods always be nonaggressive. We must always be passive in body but active in spirit and we must always be peaceful in our fight for justice.

Let us aim our attack against the forces of evil, not against the individuals propelling those forces. Let us do our utmost to carry out His eternal will and pledge ourselves -- in person and in body-- to these nonviolent principles.

He then has a Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities, which similarly has some surprisingly good stuff in it. For example:

2. Because I have the right to worship as I choose, I have the responsibility to honor the right of others to worship as they see fit.

3. Because I have freedom of speech, I have the responsibility to defend the speech of others, even if I strongly disagree with what they're saying.

[...]

7. Because I have the right to equal justice, I will stand for those who are wrongly accused or unjustly blamed.

8. Because I have the right to knowledge, I will be accountable for myself and my children's education

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