Earlier this week we noted how Glenn Beck’s Mormon faith was becoming an area of concern for some on the Religious Right, especially in light of the fact that Beck seems to be making a transition from Tea Party leader to religious leader.
These sorts of concerns had prompted Davd Barton to write a defense of Beck, saying that Beck must be judged by his works and not by his lable and that, by that standard, he is a better “Christain” than the likes of Bill Clinton or Nancy Pelosi.
Now Jim Garlow, who has been a guest on Beck’s program and will also be attending Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally, penned a lengthy piece defending Beck and explaining that evangelicals worked hand-in-hand with Mormons during the Prop 8 fight after they agreed never bring up their faith:
Several months before the election, three officials from the Mormon Church came to my office. The meeting was cordial, respectful and warm. We discussed ways to work along side each other in this battle.
Most of us are familiar with the term “co-belligerency,” which means that people with diametrically opposing views on certain critical issues work together. It was in that role that we came together.
Towards the very end of the meeting, I was just ready to bring up a critical issue: the insistence of Mormons to proselytize and argue theology. Before I could bring up the obvious “elephant in the room,” the highest ranking Mormon official present – a member of the Council of the Seventy – said (as nearly as I am able to re-construct the conversation), “Allow me to broach a topic that is likely on your mind. You will be concerned that our people will bring up discussions regarding their Mormon beliefs. I want to assure you that they will not bring up that topic in conversation.”
I was surprised at his directness, thus I said, “Can I have your word on that?” He responded, “You can.” I asked, “Even though you are over the Pacific Rim (approx. 1/3 of the world) in the Mormon Church, may I have your cell number and call you personally if I become aware of any violation of the promise?” He responded, “You can,” and gave me his cell phone number.
I never called it. Not once. Because I never heard of one single violation. On our first weekend of knocking on doors across California, 25,000 persons showed up to work. Twenty four thousand of them were Mormons. They worked. They worked hard. They never brought up their faith. Not once. A letter had been sent instructing them to discuss only the defense of marriage – and they honored that policy.
Based on that experience, Garlow has come to see Mormons “not theological brothers and sisters, [but as] friends and neighbors” with whom evangelicals can work on issues of concern to both groups.
Garlow says that he has had some direct contact with Beck and knows others who have had much more and, as such, is comfortable that Beck is reliable, trustworthy, and sincere … though he does have some concerns:
But what about Glenn’s Mormonism, many ask? That is a legitimate question. Glenn was raised, as I understand it, as a Catholic. He became a heavy drinker, destroying everything in his life. It was the Mormons that got him into the equivalent of a 12-step program. His life was turned around. His wife, as I understand it, is a strong Mormon. My personal read-out would be that Glenn’s Mormon ties are not profoundly deep rooted. I am not saying that to denigrate his theological understanding. I simply do not see evidence that he has deep Mormon theological motifs.
But didn’t he talk about some Hebrew stone tablet on his show recently? Yes. Frankly, I am not sure why he did it. It appeared for a moment that he might be – for the first time – pushing his Mormonism. But in further conversation with those I regard to be “in the know,” that was apparently not the case.
Two statements by Beck have caused serious Bible believers serious heartburn. One was on an interview – I believe with Katie Couric – and the other was recently on the Bill O’Reilly show. In both cases, Glenn trivialized the dangers and harm of gay “marriage.” Some defend him, saying he was merely saying that that issue is not his personal focus.
I am not certain how to interpret this one. I was on his show a couple months ago. He specifically asked Robby George (Princeton professor) to tell the audience about the Manhattan Declaration – which strongly affirms traditional, natural marriage. He then changed the conversation to the violence against those that defended Prop 8 in California. At that point, I spoke up, referencing the acts of violence and vandalism committed by those trying to advance the radical gay agenda.
I do not have an explanation for his comments on Bill O’Reilly. I need to know more of the background. It was, most assuredly, not his strongest moment. He may be in need of much more biblical truth and social science data.
But despite these sort of concerns about Beck’s recent comments and his faith, Garlow says he is happy to stand by Beck becuase he is being “used by God” to save America:
Glenn Beck is being used by God – mightily. The left loves to slam him and do so viscerally and often with vulgarities. Glenn is not perfect. (For the record, neither are you or I.) But his expose on America’s sins is stellar. I am convinced his motives are pure. His research department is profoundly skilled, checking footnotes down to the last detail. The left cannot “get” him – at least, not at this point. They have tried. Since they have no truth, and history is not on their side, they resort constantly to ad hominem attacks. He has withstood staggering scrutiny, disdain and attacks.
Based on all I know about him, I am proud to stand with him at the Restoring Honor Rally this weekend. Glenn does not see that this about him, because it is not. It is about Restoring Honor. That is the issue. It is much bigger than Glenn Beck and he knows it. And God knows, we need it.