Jan 112011
 

treadBelow are some pertinent quotes from Glenn Beck’s open letter, posted January 10, 2011 at glennbeck.com in the wake of the murders and attempted assassination  in Arizona on January 8, 2011.  I merely numbered the bullet points and added emphasis:  comments in ( ) and italics.

Update 1-15:  The same letter has been reprinted with a new date of 1-13-11.  I found this when my site reported a broken link.  The 1-10 letter was gone and replaced with I think the same letter dated 1-13.  Or, I magically commented on a letter before it was written.


Do you believe that Americans, from any walk of life, can convince themselves they are freedom fighters and carry out acts of violence?  My answer is yes. If you agree then you must take a clear stand.

…come together and state that violence is off limits for all sides in a Republic.

I challenge all Americans, … to agree with all of the following.

1.  I denounce violence, regardless of ideological motivation.
2.  I denounce anyone, from the Left, the Right or middle, who believes physical violence is the answer to whatever they feel is wrong with our country.
3.  I denounce those who wish to tear down our system and (may I add “or”) rebuild it in their own image, whatever that image may be. (what does “in their own image mean anyway?)
4.  I denounce those from the Left, the Right or middle, who call for riots and violence as an opportunity to bring down and reconstruct our system. (What does Glenn think “our system” is?)
5.  I denounce violent threats and calls for the destruction of our system – regardless of their underlying ideology – whether they come from the Hutaree Militia or Frances Fox Piven.
6.  I hold those responsible for the violence, responsible for the violence. I denounce those who attempt to blame political opponents for the acts of madmen.
7.  I denounce those from the Left, the Right or middle that sees violence as a viable alternative to our long established system of change made within the constraints of our constitutional Republic. (if we are no longer a constitutional republic am I still constrained from violence, by this pledge?)

I will stand with anyone willing to sign that pledge.


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary (…), a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them(…)

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Declaration of Independence, emphasis mine.


When comparing Glenn’s pledge with the founding document of our country how do they reconcile?

Necessity

Before it was finished, the declaration to King George said it was necessary to declare independence.  Is that necessary today?  I think not.  Not yet anyway.  Will it ever be?  Were the signers itching for war?  NO!  Did they believe they would get one.  Probably.  Did they decide to suffer oppression and tyranny for sake of nonviolence? Apparently not!

Declaring causes which may impel us

This is what Glenn would have us do; and we should, we have, and we are.  What if our pleas, grievances, and demands aren’t heard?  What are the acceptable ways to plea and demand?  Are all violent methods always immoral, in every case?  This brings us to the crux of the issue.

Duty to throw off Government

If a declared cause impels us and our grievances aren’t rightly settled, how do we “throw off such Government” if we pledge nonviolence?  Do we really think those who oppose our freedom will always listen to reason?  I am not willing to denounce violence against an oppressive government.  So the answer is, no Glenn, I will not sign or make such a pledge.  Seems pretty simple to me on the pledge issue.

Glenn says he will “stand” with anyone willing to sign that pledge.  How can you stand when you pledged to lay down in the ultimate sense of both terms.  As I said in a Facebook comment about this:  “I am victim!  Hear me complain.  Or…don’t.  I mean, if you want to listen to me complain, you can…..pretty please.  Okay, what ever you want.  Sorry I spoke up….don’t hurt me…please.”


On the Other Hand!

I used to be pretty radical about things.  I’ll not say (in particular) what things or how radical.  Then I had a discussion with a fellow radical that got me to thinking.  Don’t get me wrong I still hold to the same issues that made us both radical but we parted ways about acceptable solutions.  He was ready for “the war”, almost itching for it.  I understand the urge to make things better now for “ourselves and our posterity.”  Especially the posterity part as I think my generation will probably not see the end of most of our freedoms.  That is, I think I’ll be free enough for me through my life.  Annoyed, oppressed some?  Probably, but free enough for me.  That discussion turned to voting.

He didn’t vote!  He thought it was an exercise in futility.  “We don’t really have a vote that counts,” and all that stuff.  You’ve heard it.  After considering this for a while I decided not to argue the usefulness of voting.  I actually made a political defense and a plea.  If he were to vote he would vote the same way I would.  Voting is free (today for us.)  Voting doesn’t require that much time if you’re already aware of the political climate (which he was.)  He didn’t find voting immoral.  I explained that even though he wasn’t willing to vote with me, he still expected me to pick up arms and kill and/or die with him.  “Please vote”, I asked.  It didn’t seem like I was asking much from one who was asking the ultimate from me and others.

This later got me to thinking about how many like minded people there were out there who would rather bleed or spill blood than just vote.  Would I want to stand beside them in battle, knowing that their preference was for a rifle over a ballot?  Don’t even consider that voting has any effect.  I would still perform a frivolous exercise if requested by one who would kill or die for me.  That is not asking to much!

Now on to those who share my moral and political convictions, commonly referred to as Conservative Evangelical Christians.  Below are some statistics about them.  Would I want to kill or die beside either of them based on the same principle of not bothering to vote?  I may (if necessary), but I’ll have to hold my nose while doing it and morale will certainly not be high!
The following excerpts (edited for brevity) are from Wall Builders, Congress, the Culture, and Christian Voting.  Please read it all and don’t forget that “evangelicals” are frequently counted separate than other Christians in the data.

  • Christian votingThere are three types of Christian voters in polling
    1. Christian voters – largest group; this is the group that simply self-identifies as (i.e., calls themselves) Christians
    2. Born-again voters – a Christian voter who says he has had a life-changing experience with Jesus Christ; a smaller group than that of Christian voters
    3. Evangelical voters – a born-again voter who also believes the Bible is important and who attends church, prays, and reads the Bible at least once a week; this is the group of Christians that take their faith most seriously
    1. Christian voting patterns
      1. 1992-1996: a 17% decrease in Christians who voted
      2. 1996-2000: an additional 23% decrease in Christians who voted
      3. 1992-2000: a 40% total decrease in Christians who voted
        1. There are 60 million evangelicals in America
        2. 15 million (only 1/4) of evangelicals voted in 2000
        3. Some 24 million (40%) evangelicals are not even registered to vote
    2. 2002 efforts
      1. In the 2002 election, following the dramatic drop in 1992-2000, national evangelical leaders widely urged Christians to register, vote, and vote their values
      2. The national efforts resulted in 2% increase in Christian voter turnout
    3. 2004 efforts
      1. National evangelical leaders continued to widely urge voter registration, voter turnout, and Christians voting their values
      2. Those efforts resulted in a 93% increase in Christian voter turnout (28.9 million evangelicals voted, up 93% from the 15 million that voted in 2000; of course, 28.9 million of the 60 million still means that under half of evangelicals are voting, but this still is a dramatic increase over 2000)
    4. 2006 voting efforts
      1. There was a 30% decrease in Christian voter turnout, falling from 28.9 million evangelicals down to 20.5 million
      2. The result was clearly visible in the philosophy of those elected to Congress
    5. Clearly, there is a direct correlation between Christian voter turnout and the percentage of elected leaders who embrace and reflect basic Biblical values (my added note:  you will see the correlation if you read the whole article)