Glenn Beck: State of Religion in America

GLENN BECK, HOST: Here with me now: David Barton, founder and president of WallBuilders.

Also, Jim Garlow, he’s the chairman of Renewing American Leadership.

Richard Lee is the founding pastor of First Redeeming Church in Cumming, Georgia. He’s also the author of The American Patriot’s Bible — which is fantastic.

Robert George is a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University and the founder of American Principles Project.

Dave Stone is a senior minister at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

Tom Mullins is a senior pastor and founder of Christ Fellowship Church in Florida.

Ralph Reed is the chairman of Faith and Freedom Coalition.

And John Hagee is the founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. He is and also the author of a book, Can America Survive? which I just started to read last night, also an excellent book.

Stephen Broden is the senior pastor at Fair Park Bible Fellowship. He’s also running for Congress in Texas.

Stephen, I think I’m going to start with you. You’re running for Congress. But you are mixing church and state — shame on you.

STEPHEN BRODEN, FAIR PARK BIBLE FELLOWSHIP: Well, there’s a screaming need for the church to be involved in the public square. I think we have been bludgeoned and bullied and pushed out right out of the public square because of an insidious thing called political correctness. And there’s a desperate need for us to return to being biblical correct and being constitutionally correct.

I think that the thing that we’re fighting here against, Glenn, is that there is a power grab on the part of the progressive left. And in order for them to effectively pull power from America, they have to marginalize and negate the Judeo-Christian influence in public square.

BECK: OK. I want to go to David Barton first, because, David, you’re kind of a resident historian on the faith of Founders and people who disagree. I don’t know how, but they do disagree.

There’s a difference between when somebody says faith, you know, and we should — we should have our religious figures speak out and be involved in politics, and I guess — I guess it’s principles and religion, right? You don’t want to mix necessarily religion and principles and have religion tell the government what to do.

But shouldn’t religion form principles?

DAVID BARTON, WALLBUILDERS: That’s where you get most of your principles and great philosophers — Montesquieu and others — said that there’s no government that exists that’s not founded on some religious principles. It’s just which set of religious principles we take.

The Founding Fathers had a really good understanding of basic biblical Judeo-Christian principles. We got a lot of Jewish Founding Fathers, Christian Founding Fathers, all mixed in there together, but they had a real common core that number one, there is a moral law that comes from God. That has become our common law. That’s why we say arson and larceny and murder and theft and rape are all wrong, because they’re wrong in the scriptures. That’s the moral law, the common law.

The next is the judicial law and that can change over time. You know, in Texas, we used to hang horse thieves. We don’t anymore, but it’s still wrong to steal horses.

And you finally have your social compact laws. And that’s the laws we agree on to govern a society, with its sidewalks or traffic tickets, or whatever.

But you don’t compromise the moral laws. And that moral law given by God is what the Declaration called the laws of nature and the laws of the God who created nature.

BECK: Then let me go here, because this is something — I gotten a lot of heat for, taking on the churches to talk about "social justice." This one is Father Charles Coughlin who was a Nazi sympathizer in the 1930s — left. Left.

This one is The Post-American. This is from 1972. It has Dick Nixon here. "God is an American and Nixon is the president."

And this is Jim Wallis’ magazine: "Who Speaks for God?" They always had a problem with this.

But now, if you look at what the president is saying, immigration, cap-and-trade, health care, the debt — all of this is now a moral problem.

Anybody want to take on social justice and what they’re saying?

BRODEN: I’ll be glad to give it a shot, Glenn.

BECK: Go for it.

BRODEN: The social justice movement is built upon or predicated on the idea of liberation theology. Liberation theology has its origin or its source in socialism, communism and Marxism. Marxism and communism is a godless idea. They do not believe in the divine. And so, any connection between the Bible and its attempt to do what is called justice and a socialistic frame is like mixing water and fire. They don’t mix together.

So, the idea, I think, that we’re looking at is one that is cloaked in what we call a "wolf in sheep’s clothing." This is another Jesus and another gospel. This is another theology that does not fit the biblical divine perspective.

BECK: All right.

RICHARD LEE, RENEWING AMERICAN LEADERSHIP CHAIRMAN: Glenn, you know, when they talk about social justice, of course, we, as Christians, we want to be just. The Bible says a great deal about us bringing justice.

The social justice has been twisted and now it — what we’re talking about is Christian charity when we talk about social justice years ago. Christian charity comes from mercy of God. Today’s social justice comes from the manipulation of government. And it’s all about power. And it’s all about control. See, men will always have a God. Every person has a God.

BECK: It’s money right now for a lot of people.

LEE: Yes. But what’s happening is, the — with the economy, with the welfare state we’re living in, with all of these things, what’s happening is basically the government is trying to become our God. And we’re in trouble when that happens.

BARTON: Let me add something to that because social justice movement is resurrection of what was called the social gospel movement of the 1920s. Social gospel movement had two primary guys, the Reverend Harry Ward and the Reverend Reinhold Niebuhr. Those two guys headed two organizations. Reverend Harry Ward was the executive for the ACLU and Reverend Niebuhr was the guy who founded the Americans for Democratic Action, which is the Progressive Socialist Party of today.

The problem we have is we have academic studies, they just finished one, that looked at 33 foreign nations. In those 33 foreign nations, every time social spending goes up by government, church attendance goes down. So, for these guys —

BECK: Because it doesn’t change your heart.

BARTON: It doesn’t.

(CROSSTALK)

BECK: Isn’t that the point of going to church? It’s supposed to change you. I never felt charitable on April 15th. Not once. Professor?

ROBERT GEORGE, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR OF JURISPRUDENCE: I should say a word to my fellow Catholics who may be confused about the critique of the social justice that they’re hearing here and have heard on your show. Because in my tradition, the Catholic tradition, the concept of social justice has long history and honorable history. What it refers to is the fair distribution of benefits and burdens of common life.

But what was happened very often, not all the time, the authorities of the Catholic Church still speak in terms of social justice. The pope will sometime speak in terms of social justice. But too often, the concept has become corrupted and used as pretext for advancing what is essentially a social democratic or social welfare or social — socialist agenda.

You see that corruption in exactly the person that you mentioned, Father Coughlin, a Catholic priest who preached during the 1930s. He’s originally for the New Deal and then he turned against the New Deal.

But he was very much in sympathy with the fascist movements.

BECK: Right.

GEORGE: And fascism, of course, was a form of socialism. People forget that today, but it’s true. The Nazi movement was National Socialism. It was nationalist, which distinguished from the communist movement, which was internationalist. But it was socialist.

So, I think Catholics have to understand that when you or when we are criticizing social justice, we don’t mean it in the honorable sense in which it has been used in our tradition. We mean in a corrupted sense that some people, not all people use.

BECK: Here’s the way — and we have to take a break. So, I just end it here and then we’ll come back.

Here’s the way I define it and you guys correct me if I’m wrong when we come back: If Jesus is telling you to take your money and give all your money to somebody, go do it. If Jesus tells you to go and take a shovel and build, you know, dig a ditch for somebody, go do it.

If the government tells you that you need to dig it for somebody else on your own time, that isn’t — I have not found it in the Bible.

(CROSSTALK)

OK, back in just a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

BECK: Back with an incredible panel of religious leaders and experts. And we’re talking about the state of the union through the prism of religion. We’re talking about immigration, cap-and-trade, health care, the debt, our economy, the redistribution of wealth, a global government, Iran, Israel — all of this stuff.

The reason why I want to talk to some preachers is George Whitfield.

We learned about George Whitfield on the show about a month ago. This guy came before the American Revolution. He had to bring people and open their eyes and say, wait a minute. God is personal. He works through me, and it’s an individual thing. And it’s not collective salvation. It’s up to me to do these things.

There needs to be another Whitfield. And so we’re talking tonight about the role of faith. And I’d like to throw this out on — is it possible that maybe the attendance in our churches is going down, because churches don’t stand for anything anymore?

What they do stand for — I mean I can stay in my sweatpants all Sunday, you know, and just get kind of well, maybe you should do this. There is no real right and wrong. I mean, shouldn’t we stand for things?

RALPH REED, CHAIRMAN, FAITH AND FREEDOM COALITION: Well, Glenn, I think if you really look at the modern church today, those churches that are standing for the gospel are the ones that are growing. And the ones that have a watered down message and social gospel message are shrinking.

Now, if you listen to what Robbie George said about Catholic teaching, there was another piece of it which was subsidiary, which said that even when you are seeking to ameliorate poverty and help those that have been left behind, you should always do it with the agencies that are closest to the people.

Those who are the furthest removed — whether it’s Sacramento or Washington — aren’t able to be as efficient in doing it. Why? Because there isn’t a level of accountability.

Frederick Tolles was a historian who wrote a famous book called Meeting House and Counting House about colonial America in which he pointed out that the first libraries, the first hospitals, the first clinics, the first schools and universities were all founded by the churches.

And not only did they not see any conflict between their economic institutions and their charitable institutions but they saw them as inextricably linked. And it was the faith community’s celebration of both the creation of wealth and the responsibility of that wealth to care for those who were marginalized that built America.

BECK: So John Hagee — you are just like the Cheshire Cat sitting over here. You’re just — you’re just awfully darn quiet. And I know you not to be a quiet man per se. You’re a guy who will get up on the pulpit and you will say — like it or not, you’ll get up and say exactly what you believe.

JOHN HAGEE, SENIOR PASTOR, CORNERSTONE CHURCH: I think one of the great problems in the American church is what I refer to as "hot tub Christianity." The purpose is to make people feel good without being good. The whole idea is to explain their sin rather than to confess their sin. And therefore not confessing their sin, there is no transformation from carnality to Christianity.

If we as a nation want to return to principles of the Founding Fathers, George Washington said it is not possible to govern without God and the Bible. And that very concept is even out of many churches, because they have the social gospel. They have the design to explain who you think you are rather than who you really are.

BECK: I think — just raise hands because I have to go to a break, so just — let me take a quick poll: How many people here believe that there is a growing threat that you may not be able to preach all the things in the gospel, because it would be politically incorrect? Hands?

Only Professor George says no.

Back in just a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BECK: Back with a panel of religious leaders who are quite well known, and lead an awful lot of people all around the country. And Professor Robert George — who I can’t believe I like the man. He holds the Woodrow Wilson chair at Princeton University. But the first guy I said, "I think Woodrow Wilson was an evil SOB." And he said, "I’m saying nothing."

We were saying right before the break — I asked a question, you were the only one that answered differently.

I said: Is anybody worried about the right to preach the Bible or preach, you know — and having the right taken away, speaking your mind in church?

GEORGE: There are places around the world where you have to worry about censorship — government censorship, and not just places like China. There are liberal democracies like Canada and Sweden —

BECK: Yes.

GEORGE: Where preachers have felt the sting of the government for things they said when they violated the norms of liberal political correctness. But the United States, in my view, is not one of them.

I’m not worried about government censorship. I’m worried about a more insidious form of censorship. I call it self-censorship, where we — whether we’re Christians or Jews or other believers or just people who want to speak out, who have it in their hearts to speak out — who will hold back and censor themselves because they’re afraid of being unpopular or saying — afraid of saying something that will cause other people to look down on them. They’re afraid of elite opinion. It’s a kind of intimidation there.

You see it when people will hold back from speaking out in defense of human life in the womb or the elderly, when people will hold themselves back from speaking out in defense of marriage, the union of man and woman.

BECK: That’s because —

GEORGE: That’s self-censorship.

BECK: That’s because — I think most people are caught into that trap because — I don’t want to offend anybody. I mean, look at what I do for a living. You don’t want to offend anybody. You don’t want to cause these problems but that is different than having the courage to stand up — we live in a country where Jeremiah Wright says things I’ve never heard before and he’s fine.

Why do you have a problem — or why do you fear that?

DAVID STONE, SENIOR MINISTER, SOUTHEAST CHRISTIAN CHURCH: I like what Peter Marshall said. He was a senior chaplain years ago who said if a man is not willing to stand for something, then he’s liable to fall for anything.

And we have a whole lot of churches — we’re guilty of being parts of numerous churches in a general sense who have kind of hushed their mouth. And to your point, Professor Robert, we’ve kind of neutered ourselves and we’ve diluted the message.

I really think what Ralph said earlier is the key to it: For churches to begin to have that fire like the early Founding Fathers had, we’ve got to go back to the book. We’ve got to go back to God’s words.

(CROSSTALK)

BRODEN: Glenn, may I intervene?

BECK: Hold on just a second. Hold on just a second. Stephen, we’ll come to you in just a second.

GEORGE: A lot of churches that are pro-marriage silence themselves on the marriage issue in California and Maine and other places where the question was put to the people of whether we want to redefine marriage, we want to retain marriage as the union of husband and wife.

But one church that did speak out — and I want to pay tribute to the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — the Mormon church, which spoke out in California. There were many Mormons who contributed money and who worked on the phone and went door-to-door. They weren’t afraid to speak out and they were vilified for it and they were attacked for it.

There is a major effort of intimidation against this minority —

BECK: I know, I personally —

GEORGE: But they stood up.

BECK: I personally have met people who were run off the road, moms who were frightened for their life in California. And not just of that faith, but of others as well.

JIM GARLOW, SENIOR PASTOR, SKYLINE WESLEYAN CHURCH: We kept track in California. I was involved in the Prop 8 battle of the churches that were intimidated. A number of pastors had to have security. Church buildings had to be protected. Bricks thrown through windows. Bricks thrown through cars. All this kind of things took place.

But I think, in contrast to all this also, there is a rising up. There were evangelicals. There were Catholics. There were people of the LDS Church that rose up and said enough is enough. There is a rising up of pastors.

We’re not going to speak merely on abortion, though we should continue. We’re not going to merely defend marriage, though we understand the implications. We’re going to speak out of the immorality of the aspects of our economy, our debt, for example, the excessive debt, the excessive taxation.

There is a host of moral, biblical issues. And there is a rising up group of pastors. And we will not be silenced any longer.

BECK: Stephen, real quick. I’ve got to take a break, but go ahead and let’s chew on your comment in here.

BRODEN: I just want to beg to differ with my colleagues there. I think the failure of pastors to take the lead in this issue — on these issues is the reason why we are seeing the kind of problems or melees that we’re seeing in our culture today.

In addition to that, I want to introduce my friend to the idea of hate crime legislation, introduce them to the idea of a 501-C3 that is used to knock Christians around and keep them silent, from speaking out in America today.

I want to introduce them to the idea of ENDA, which is Employment Non-Discrimination, which is bullying people and pushing Christians into hiring people that they should not hire.

We are experiencing, in America, a soft tyranny and we need to resist it. We need to recognize what it is, call it what it is. The Bible says that the Christians — that the gatekeepers, that the shepherds have failed. And our shepherds in America have strengthened the hands of the evildoers because they have been silent for too long.

BECK: I have to take a break. Be back in just a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BECK: Back with the panel of religious leaders. And we’re trying to look at the news of the day and try to look at it from a different perspective.

John Hagee is here and you were kind of the guy that really has spoken about Iran and Israel an awful lot. Forty-eight percent of Americans now think that Jesus will come back in the next 40 years, and I know that is not new. A lot of people thought that for — you know, since the beginning of time. But a lot of the pieces here that have never been here for the prophecy are here now.

HAGEE: That’s exactly right. Israel became a reality in 1948 in keeping with all the prophets of the Old Testament. And now, we have a nation that was given a Bible mandate 3,500 years ago to own a specific geographic piece of property.

If I could talk to the president of the United States, I’d like to ask him, stop using the power of his office to divide the city of Jerusalem and to stop putting pressure on the nation of Israel for a no-growth policy in Judea and Samaria. And when the prime minister of Israel comes to America, to treat him with dignity and respect and to treat him like a friend and not an enemy — not to walk off.

BECK: Anybody who disagrees that — I mean the Bible tells us clearly you stand against Israel, you will lose your land as well.

REED: And Glenn, when he went to Cairo and compared what he called the occupation of Judea, Samaria and Gaza to the Holocaust, that was one of the most shameful moments in modern history of America.

TOM MULLINS, SENIOR PASTOR, CHRIST FELLOWSHIP: Well, Glenn, you know, in the Revolutionary War days, we had the Black Robe Regiment, ministers standing up from the pulpit. And the cries we heard in the streets of America were first heard in pulpits of America. And the people were educated from the biblical principles of what life and liberty is all about.

BECK: What was the — what was the thundering voice? Who said — Sam Adams.

BARTON: John Adams. John Adams called it the pulpit thunder. It was his description of it and it was the black regiment — the Black Robe Regiment.

MULLINS: And we’ve got to recapture that in America. And I believe when that voice comes up, it also will support — it will support the principles of Israel and our relationship.

We’ll talk about the economy. And we’ll talk about our debt. And the Bible gives us the formula. And our early Founding Fathers built this Constitution, this great nation upon these principles.

BECK: And it doesn’t mean — I mean, because I’d walk out of a church that was telling me vote for a Republican or vote for a Democrat.

MULLINS: No, no, no.

BECK: Yes. It’s not about that.

MULLINS: It’s about the principles.

BECK: It’s about the principles.

(CROSSTALK)

BECK: You started a project that — what is it? The Manhattan —

GEORGE: The Manhattan Declaration.

BECK: Right.

GEORGE: We’ve spoken today, Glenn, about the need for people to speak out. People of all faiths, certainly all Christians, to speak out. Here is an opportunity to do it. If you viewers have a pencil and a piece of paper, write down www.ManhattanDeclaration.org — ManhattanDeclaration.org.

BECK: What is that?

GEORGE: This is an opportunity to join religious leaders, many of whom are here today, in pledging fidelity to three great foundational principles of our civilization and our polity: The sanctity of human life in all state and conditions; the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, and religious freedom and rights of conscience.

Everything else is built on those core principles. There are other important issues — those are foundational. Everything else are depends on respecting them. And we have gone too far from them.

And we pledge in the Manhattan Declaration — Catholics, Evangelical Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians — all united together despite our theological differences on these moral and political principles.

BECK: What happens when it’s — when you sign up, what happens then?

GEORGE: Well, you sign it and you’re speaking out. Now, you become part of the solution and no longer part of the problem. You’re pledging that nothing will prevent you from speaking out and standing up in support of these core principles.

And you’re pledging to render ungrudgingly to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but to never give to Caesar what is God’s.

BECK: OK. I’ve got to go. I’ve got to take a break. We’ll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BECK: We want to leave you tonight with this thought:

RICHARD LEE, CHAIRMAN, RENEWING AMERICAN LEADERSHIP: I want to challenge our pastors — our fellow pastors — if the forefathers could give their lives and sacred honor, we can give our lives and the honor that God has given us, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to change this world.

We can do it. We just need to do it.

BECK: Black Robe Regiment. There it is. Pastor Broden from Texas, and all of you great gentlemen, thank you very much. Have New York, good night, America.

  • Anonymous

    GLENN BECK is a FALSE PROPHET