Responding to the tragedy in Boston: Build up His Kingdom

Many people found themselves overwhelmed with emotions and visceral reactions in the wake of the bombing in Boston. Anger. Sadness. Shock. Glenn himself found himself frustrated and there were plenty of things he wanted to talk about in regards to the attack – but when he got down on his knees to pray he was left with just one message that he felt he was supposed to deliver today: Build up the Kingdom of God.

“There are few things that I know that I shall say. I know while I disagree with most of what politically the people of Massachusetts have done to their state and brought in Washington to our Congress, it doesn't mean anything because in the long list of things that make us Americans, how we vote is at the very last of the list. Because we are Americans, we are brothers. I know Massachusetts, I know what it feels like and know that millions of Americans prayed for you last night. We prayed for your protection. We prayed for your healing.”

“I know Americans will help. I know Americans will comfort. I also know that this too shall pass.”

And while Glenn knows that Americans will come together, there were several things that he knew weren’t going to make the situation better. Refusing to acknowledge this incident as an act of terror, as President Obama did in the early hours after the bombing, does not help the situation. Labeling that terrorist attacks like Ft. Hood “as “workplace shootings” doesn’t help either. It’s important to call terrorism what it is.

It also doesn’t help to place the blame at any one group or religion. It doesn’t help to rush and blame Muslims, nor should anyone rush to place the blame on Patriot groups.

“I also know that we are not responsible for acts of terror. Acts of terror are created by madmen. Period,” Glenn said.

Glenn then singled out the organization CAIR for their tweet: ‘Please don’t let it be a Muslim.’

He had responded to them with a tweet saying: CAIR should not worry if it were a Muslim. The Problem is with those who kill for God. The people not the faith. Trust Americans!

He said that CAIR didn’t need to worry about Americans turning on anyone for their faith, and that nothing like that had happened since FDR and the Japanese internment during World War 2.

“I trust the small government minded people never to make mistakes like that again. Because small government people look at the individual, not the collective. It's small government people that say it is the act of the individual, not the collective,” he explained.

“Any decent, honest, peaceful, Muslim or Muslim group should not fear Americans. We are fair and decent and honorable. You should fear statists,” he said.

He did say that when the perpetrator of the attacks are found and brought to justice, it will be incumbent on people of that faith or group or whatever to distance themselves and condemn the actions of the the individual madmen. He does not, however, believe that CAIR will condemn an extremist.

“With all that said, here’s one thing I know that needs to be said: It does no use to speculate on who did it. But I also know it’s getting harder to get the truth. But it makes no use to speculate on who did it, and when we find out who did be it Christian or Muslim. If it's a Patriot group they must distance themselves from the trash,” Glenn said.

“If it is Islam they must do the same. They will not, however, at least CAIR will not. CAIR is a powerful front organization, and they hold power in all of the networks and the news outlets, and the government. I will be demonized for saying even that. So be it. There are many things that I believe that I shall never say but I shall never say the things I do not believe,” he explained.

Glenn also critiqued the failure the media and the government, not for the Boston bombings but for abusing the trust of the American people - even though it’s more important than ever for people to be able to truth those institutions and each other.

But Glenn said that with everything horrible going on in the world today, between the Boston bombings to the Gosnell murder trial, he had somewhere else he had to be today – by the side of a dear friend.

“I started my day with prayer today, and I'm a horrible listener sometimes but I asked the Lord today, what do you want me to say? What do you want me to say because everything I want to say I'm not supposed to say for you. What do you want me to say? And I started writing this list - and I don't know if he wants me to say any of these things. Here's what he wants me to say: Work on building His Kingdom. Period. That's what he wants me to say. I'm not a preacher,” Glenn said.

“I got a phone call last night on the way back home from a fundraiser. I was dead tired and emotionally spent yesterday. And I had given a speech to raise funds for the Corrie Ten Boom house. And I had seen terror come to our streets. Seeing pictures of Boston ripped apart - it looked more like the Middle East than America.

“A dear friend of mine is dying and she's afraid. I talked to her a couple of weeks ago and she said ‘I hope you're right about God.’ I said ‘I am.’ She said, ‘I just will feast on your faith then’,” Glenn said.

“When I heard that she can no longer eat, and it is not going to be much longer my staff said to me, ‘Well, maybe you can go in a day or two. You have appointments and things and God forbid it is - with what happened in Boston - it's an important day’, and I knew what I had to do, and this is just the first I guess because Sunday I was sitting in church and praying for help and advice and understanding and guidance, and I've heard this a million times before, but it never -- it struck me different this time somehow. Build up the Kingdom of God. Put your attention there. And everything else will fall into place.”

“So as much as I would like to continue to vent, continue to be in the newsroom today and find out what's going on and make sure we're bringing you everything that needs to be done, I know I have hired an amazing staff. I know I have some of the best people on the case. I know we will tell the truth. No matter what it is, we will tell the truth.”

“I know that I trust my staff. I know I trust my neighbor. I know that I trust my church. I know that I trust my God. I know the one thing that is true. That He loves us. He will save us. If we will just turn from our hate, from our arrogance, and the things that we think are important and turn to him.”

“I'm going to spend the day doing the things I should do and I will see you tomorrow.”

The themes of healing and redemption appear throughout the Bible.

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. — 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17.

So, for many Christians, it's no surprise to hear that people of faith live longer lives.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. — Jeremiah 17:14.

But it is certainly lovely to hear, and a recent study by a doctoral student at Ohio State University is just one more example of empirical evidence confirming the healing benefits of faith and religious belief.

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Moreover, the study finds that religious belief can lengthen a person's life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! — Isaiah 38:16

The study analyzed over 1,000 obituaries nationwide and found that people of faith lived longer than people who were not religious. Laura Wallace, lead author of the study, noted that "religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life."

The study notes that, "people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered."

And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

"The researchers found that part of the reason for the boost in longevity came from the fact that many religiously affiliated people also volunteered and belonged to social organizations, which previous research has linked to living longer. The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives," said Baldwin Way, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

In addition, the study showed how the effects of religion on longevity might depend in part on the personality and average religiosity of the cities where people live, Way said.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. — Luke 5:17
Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. — Luke 10:9

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

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Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Glenn was joined by Alanna Sarabia from "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios on Thursday for an exclusive look at Mercury Museum's new "Rights & Responsibilities" exhibit. Open through Father's Day, the temporary museum features artifacts from pop culture, America's founding, World Ward II and more, focusing on the rights and responsibilities America's citizens.

Get tickets and more information here.

Watch as Glenn gives a sneak peek at some of the unique artifacts on display below.

History at the Mercury Museum

Alanna Sarabia interviews Glenn Beck for "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios.

Several months ago, at the Miss Universe competition, two women took a selfie, then posted it on Instagram. The caption read, "Peace and love." As a result of that selfie, both women faced death threats, and one of the women, along with her entire family, had to flee her home country. The occasion was the 2017 Miss Universe competition, and the women were Miss Iraq and Miss Israel. Miss Iraq is no longer welcome in her own country. The government threatened to strip her of her crown. Of course, she was also badgered for wearing a bikini during the competition.

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In an interview, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said:

When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they're getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.

Yesterday, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, posted another selfie with Miss Israel, during a visit to Jerusalem.

In an interview, she said that:

I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis.

This is, of course, quite an understatement: Iraq, home to roughly 15,000 Palestinians, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate country, as it is technically at war with Israel. The adages says that a picture is worth a thousand words. What are we to do when many of those words are hateful or deadly? And how can we find the goodness in such bad situations?