Glenn Beck

‘The Bible’ Producers Deny Their Satan Resembles Obama

Satan in the miniseries “The Bible.” Photo courtesy of The History Channel
Satan in the miniseries “The Bible.” Photo courtesy of The History Channel

The producers of History Channel’s The Bible fended off claims Monday that the actor who plays Satan in the miniseries resembles President Barack Obama.

Executive producers Mark Burnett, who created Survivor, and his wife, the actress Roma Downey, described the comparisons as “utter nonsense.”

“Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love for our President, who is a fellow Christian. False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of the Bible,” according to a statement from Downey, who starred in the television show Touched by an Angel.

Mehdi Ouazaani, the Moroccan actor who portrays Satan, has played satanic roles prior to his work on The Bible, the statement said.

The social media sphere blew up with the comparison Sunday night, which was touted by  conservative commentator Glenn Beck, among others.

Experts Challenge Santorum’s Remarks Linking College to Faith Loss

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum's claim that U.S. colleges drive young Christians out of church is facing scrutiny from Protestant and Catholic experts.

Santorum told talk show host Glenn Beck late last week that "62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it." He also has called President Obama a "snob" for wanting more Americans to attend college.

"There is no statistical difference in the dropout rate among those who attended college and those that did not attend college," said Thom Rainer, president of the Southern Baptists' LifeWay Christian Resources research firm. "Going to college doesn't make you a religious dropout."

A 2007 LifeWay survey did find seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23.

The real causes: lack of "a robust faith," strongly committed parents and an essential church connection, Rainer said.

Holy Land Farce

GLENN BECK’S THREE-DAY “Rally to Restore Courage” in Jerusalem in August was an exercise in “exploiting Israel” in an effort at “restoring his credibility,” according to M.J. Rosenberg of Media Matters Action Network. Beck’s pilgrimage pledged to support Israel, a nation that Beck portrayed as challenged by misguided critics and “Islamic socialism.” Fusing entertainment and marketing, Beck promised the hundreds of fellow-travelers who would buy tickets for the event’s August 24 keynote a “life-changing, and I think planet course-altering, event” that “could be miraculous.” As it turned out, at the keynote he essentially declared himself founder of a global movement to take back the phrase “human rights” and stand up for “our responsibilities to our fellow man [sic].”

Ironically, Beck chose to do so on behalf of a country where human rights violations are severe. In reality the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” has become a “pieces process” of land seizures and displacement. Upward of 350,000 settlers in the Occupied Territories receive generous government housing subsidies, tax breaks, infrastructure, and security, all of which markedly reduce resources available to municipalities inside Israel proper. That’s just one source of frustration driving the recent street protests in Israel.

Public discourse is threatened when there is no critique of Israeli policies and Christian Zionist prejudices. Land heresy (“it is all ours”) and xenophobia (“all Palestinians want to destroy us”) fuel the illegal occupation of Palestinian and Bedouin land. This, and other oppression by a fragile Israeli coalition government, is supported by $3 billion in annual U.S. aid.

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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.

Hurricane Irene and the Wrath of God

"Do you think God sent Hurricane Irene?" a young man asked me with a curious look in his eyes that was as innocent as it was pensive.

My mind flashed back to a headline I remembered reading yesterday about Glenn Beck pronouncing the hurricane as "a blessing" from God.

As I heard the kid's question, my heart sunk, as I thought of all the rhetoric that has made God out to be a monster, or at least a punitive judge on a throne ready to zap folks with lightening bolts or hurricanes

Have we Christianized Jesus?

The Christianized Jesus -- the turning of a radical into a conservative shadow of his former self -- explains our problem of establishing and celebrating freedom fighters today. It is important that our progressive heroes be given their deserved fame, an accurately reported fame, and this is crucial in ways that impact our own activism.

Jesus of Nazareth was not a Peak Performance Strategist as the prosperity preachers would have it. Nor was he a foreigner-hating patriot as the tea party would argue. Obviously American politicians and their lobbyists pursue so many policies that are against the teachings of Jesus but are supported by mainstream Christian opinion. In fact, Jesus' parables and sayings push the spiritual revolution of gift economies, and of justice through radical forgiveness.

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