In the wake of the NYC Muslim Cultural Center kerfuffle, I find the story about Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally to be held Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial interesting. Beck claims that he was unaware that he was scheduling the rally on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech, given at the same location. I find this claim unconvincing. Furthermore (and this is where the parallel to the NYC controversy comes to mind), I find the choice of location and date for Beck’s “non-political” rally to be insensitive and in poor taste.
Beck’s stated views are in every way antithetical to the teachings and beliefs of Dr. King. Some of Beck’s gems:
- Stating that President Obama “has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”
- Telling a Muslim congressman, “I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.’ And I know you’re not. I’m not accusing you of being an enemy, but that’s the way I feel.”
- Beck advised Christians to leave their churches if the pastors preached about social or economic justice because these are code words for Nazism and Communism. (It makes it really hard to believe that Beck considers Dr. King a hero of his, as he claims, given his belief that social justice=political tyranny.)
- In 2005 Beck said “When I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I’m just like, ‘Oh shut up’ I’m so sick of them because they’re always complaining.” (Gee, I wonder if he thinks the families opposed to the mosque are complaining?)
- And of course, he saw fit to call Hurricane Katrina victims “scumbags.”
As if that weren’t enough, joining Beck at the rally will be Sarah Palin, who just last week defending radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger’s repeated use of a racial slur on the air. I wonder if she also considers Dr. King one of her “heroes?”
All in all, I don’t think you could find people whose values and beliefs were more different from Dr. King’s if you tried. For that reason, I find the timing of the “Restoring Honor” (what does that even mean?) rally to be cynical, disrespectful and ugly. What do you think?