The Black Robe Regiment: Glenn Beck's Redundant New Group

One thing I find fascinating about the Religious Right is how seemingly every major new organization or effort that it launches is literally the same as every other organization or effort it has ever launched.

Just today I noted how yet another group was calling for 40 days of prayer heading into the mid-term elections, as if all the other calls to 40 days of prayer and fasting were not enough.

Similarly, it seems like every few weeks, some new Religious Right group is formed that does exactly the same thing all of the other Religious Right groups are doing.

And now we have Glenn Beck announcing the formation of his Black Robe Regiment:

Apparently, the idea began with Beck's favorite historian, David Barton. When Beck told Barton he wanted to "get religious leaders together," Barton suggested forming a Black Robe Regiment -- named after what Barton had said was a group of preachers who supported the American Revolution from their pulpits. Beck decided that was "exactly" what he was looking for because it was a movement supposedly like his that was "not about politics."

Beck then described the first meeting he held with "the largest evangelical leaders in the country" some of whom had been involved in the Christian Coalition. ... Beck elaborated on his call to "mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes," calling on his listeners to "tithe 10 percent" and encouraging them to "sacrifice our fortunes so our children don't have to pay for our lifestyle." Beck implored his listeners: "You must tithe because these people [the Black Robe Regiment] are going to be in trouble. They're going to come under attack."

So Beck's brilliant idea is to bring together a bunch of Religious Right leaders in an effort to motivate pastors to play a bigger role in politics and the culture?

Has Beck never heard of the Patriot Pastors?

Fellow pastor Russell Johnson lacks [Rod] Parsley's charisma, but he has mastered the art of organizing. His group, the Ohio Restoration Project (ORP), recruited nearly 1,800 churches with "Patriot Pastors" and deputized them to draft new "values voters."

The ministers signed 410,000 Ohio homes onto Johnson's mailing list, and the ORP can tap 100,000 prayer warriors through e-mail in a moment's notice. This is more than just a group of voters ready to punch some ballots. According to ORP outreach materials, it is a "mighty army" ready to do battle.

While Johnson reaches white evangelicals and fundamentalists, Parsley appeals to both African Americans and Pentecostals. Together, the two men have forged a political machine that aims to remake Ohio politics—and the nation.

Or what about the US Pastor Council?

The mission of the Houston Area Pastor Council and sister councils in USPC is to empower pastors and their congregations across racial and denominational lines to impact the culture and community through concerted prayer, to equip our congregations for effective citizenship and to provide a unified voice on spiritual, cultural, social and moral issues from a Biblical perspective. The AMERICA Plan was developed as a Purpose Statement of how pastors and churches can and must enage in godly citizenship.

HAPC has become a respected voice on front line cultural and political issues from a non-partisan perspective, holding elected officials of both major parties and non-partisan offices to a Biblical standard. The Pastors' Declaration of Godly Citizenship was developed to clarify the core values of this coalition.

HAPC has conducted numerous luncheons, workshops, rallies, elected official summits, Pastors' Day At the Capitol and many other activities bringing pastors together, proving top quality Biblical, historical, legal and public policy information as well as standing in the gap for our nation.

Or what about the Pulpit Initiative:

Historically, churches have emphatically, and with great passion, spoken Scriptural truth from the pulpit about government and culture. Historians have stated that America owes its independence in great degree to the moral force of the pulpit. Pastors have proclaimed Scriptural truth throughout history on great moral issues such as slavery, women’s suffrage, child labor and prostitution. Pastors have also spoken from the pulpit with great frequency for and against various candidates for government office ... It is time for the intimidation and threats to end. Churches and pastors have a constitutional right to speak freely and truthfully from the pulpit – even on candidates and voting – without fearing loss of their tax exemption.

Or the Watchmen on the Wall:

Watchmen on the Wall" is a powerful conference in the nation's capital especially designed for pastors and ministers, based on Isa. 62:6: "I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem. They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent..." FRC launched the Briefing in May 2004 to:

* Remind spiritual leaders of our nation's Judeo-Christian heritage.
* Inform them about the moral issues being debated in the public square.
* Ignite their passion to become watchmen who will sound the alarm.
* Inspire them to encourage their churches to engage the culture.

Our hope is that you will return home encouraged and educated about the issues of the day that affect faith and family and that you will be inspired to share with your congregations what they may do to take a more active role as salt and light in your community and government.

Or what about the Patriotic Pastors, or Pastors for Family Values, or even the Patriot Pastors’ T.E.A. Party?

And those are the groups I can think of just off the top of my head. 

Obviously, none of the previous efforts have accomplished their goals - if they had, there would be no need to keep launching new groups with the exact same mission over and over again. 

But apparently Beck believes that Beck thinks that he (with the help of the very Religious Right leaders behind all these other efforts) has finally found the key:  getting pastors more engaged in the political process. 

Gee, why has nobody ever thought of that before?