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Most of us were subjected to the annoyance of Beck and his Whitestock picnic on Saturday. Estimates ranged from the wild-eyed Michele Bachmann’s 1 million and Foxy Propaganda’s 500,000 to the more realistic and scientific CBS’s aerial photo estimates taken at the height of the love fest, numbered at 87,000 ± 9,000.

Some attendees, upon leaving were heard to grumble that “they couldn’t hear” lonesome Glenn, and “weren’t very energized” by all the go to church talk. They were there to rumble it seems, and there was nobody to yell at.

In all, many were left scratching their heads as to why they had taken the long trek to hear much ado about nothing much.

Beck, apparently having been given a good talking to by the God he so hoped to channel, was contrite and apologetic about his calling the President of the US a “racist” who “hated white people.” No Beck has it all figured out now. Obama just embraces “liberation theology” a vision of Christianity not in keeping with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to “most Christians.”

Course Beck hasn’t an actual clue about what Liberation theology actually is. And frankly, when it comes to believing in a vision of Christianity “not in keeping with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” most Christians would lay that against Mormonism.

Much as David Barton, one-time Republican fund-raiser in Texas, and now revisionist “historian” ( Barton has zero formal education in history whatsoever) for all things Christian, tries to protect Beck from the uber right who distrust Mormons mightily, there are still plenty it seems who cast an arm’s length glance at the Beckster and his “Christian” faith tradition.

Barton urges that the extreme right view Beck through the eyes of “his works,” his works being apparently to pull Barton in front of a TV screen every chance he gets to ‘splain to us all that this country truly is a nation of Christians, set up by same and well, the rest of those others just ought to be damned glad we let them stay at all.

Works of course is a bad word for Barton to choose, since one of the great dividing points between Protestants and Catholics has always been the issue of justification by faith and works. Saying that we should judge Beck by works sounds suspiciously Catholic of Barton and may be looked upon with some concern by the fundogelicals who barely believe that Catholics are even Christians at all. (Many believe that they are the great Whore of Babylon from Revelation and no amount of explaining the facts to them will dissuade their misconception.)

 Speaking of lies, Beck has a rather chilling show that I’ve seen parts of twice. (one can only bear about 10 minutes at a time) On it, he has David Barton and an audience of teens whom he and Barton presume to “teach” the truth about our founding as a nation.

Beck was babbling the other day, according to the Contrarian, and suggested that all the founding fathers were Christians (not really true since both Jefferson and Franklin were truly deists), and then corrected himself and said that, “with the exception perhaps of Thomas Paine.”

Barton, interrupted him and said, “Not true, Glenn, not true. Why Paine said in his writings in Common Sense, that he would stand before God at the judgment day, proving that he too was a Christian.” This is simply not the case.

Paine was a deist and remained so all his life apparently. He was however no Christian. He was denied Christian burial and professed in Age of Reason:

“As to the Christian system of faith, it appears to me as a species of Atheism — a sort of religious denial of God. It professes to believe in a man rather than in God. It is a compound made up Chiefly of Manism with but little Deism, and is as near Atheism as twilight is to darkness. It introduces between man and his Maker an opaque body, which it calls a Redeemer, as the moon introduces her opaque self between the earth and the sun, and it produces by this means a religious, or an irreligious eclipse of light. It has put the whole orbit of reason into shade” (chap. XI)

I noted with interest that many of those poor souls interviewed at the white people’s rally spoke about “reclaiming our honor.” Putting the usual pathetic adoption of trite Fox mantras aside, what exactly is being said?

Surely our honor needed reclaiming, on that we all can agree. Bush and his henchmen and women drove us into the ditch, and even among our friends, people tended to shy away in horror at the bloated arrogant drunken “superpower” we were become.

But apparently the great mob of unknowing doesn’t realize that Obama has done more in eighteen months to reclaim that honor than anything their paltry flag waving could do. Contrarily, their actions are but trying to wrench the wheel once more and aim it at the ditch. Their teapartying, hate mongering, racist, religious bigoted rhetoric and placard bearing vitriol is exactly contrary to “reclaiming honor.” Let those with eyes see!

Whether prophet or huckster, Beck is in the last analysis mostly demagogue, and an increasingly dangerous one at that.