Being in the spotlight has been both a blessing and a curse for Glenn. On the one hand, it allows him to reach millions of Americans across the country with vital messages of hope and information. But on the other, he has had to have constant security for the better part of a decade. On Monday’s TV show, he described one of the worst death threats he ever got and a terrifying close call that changed his life.
Glenn: Let me tell you a story. I think, David, you know this. Remember when I did The Christmas Sweater?
Glenn: I was getting hate from all kinds of people. It was amazing. I had gone on the air shortly before, maybe three months before this tour, and I had talked about the 9/11 truthers. I said I think this is nuts. I think this is nuts. Well, at the time, at least, those guys were, at least in New York, they were really dangerous. A video came out about me. I’ll never forget, it was slowed down, distorted, and had driving hard rock music behind it. The voice, a disembodied female voice, said, “All traitors must be executed. All traitors must be executed.” And then the word traitor came on my face.
So, security went crazy, and I’m going out to do this book tour. I’m on the bus, and it was the first time I had to wear a bulletproof vest. I put on the bulletproof vest, and I have to go out into these crowds, shake hands, and do my thing, and we don’t know who’s in the crowd.
The second one, a guy comes up, and we had security like nobody’s business. A guy comes up, and he has his hands in his pockets. My security is all up. We all were focused on just that. He comes up, and he says hey. I try to screw my courage, and I’m like okay, there’s nothing wrong here. I put my hand out, and I said, “Merry Christmas.” He said, “Merry Christmas. All traitors must be executed,” empty hand. Well, he was on the floor by the time he had his hand here.
I went back into the bus, and I thought I don’t know if I can do this. I really don’t know. This was when I was still at CNN. I pictured in my head for that month of Christmas—my wife didn’t know this until much later—what’s the worst thing that could happen to you? And so I pictured myself, the worst-case scenario, only on those things that I truly believe. I made the commitment to myself at that point I am not dying for something I don’t believe. I am never going to say the things that I’m like yeah, I think that’s pretty good, I think that’s pretty close. No, unless I know it, I’m never going to say those things.
I had the extreme case to be able to do that, and I’ve had the extreme with my family and security to be able to do that. So, when they come to me and somebody says are you willing to die for it? I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure. You know what I mean? Most Americans will not have that opportunity. How do we get them, David, I mean, this is kind of why we’re doing this show and trying to show people that are just like you that have changed things and didn’t necessarily weren’t the winners, weren’t necessarily the winners.
David: Not at all. We were talking a minute ago whether faith precedes courage or courage precedes faith and now willing to die for things you believe in. Let me give you one more example because it deals with both of those. This next guys is a guy named Elijah Lovejoy. Elijah Lovejoy was active particularly in Missouri in the 1820s, 1830s. So, you’ve got the Missouri Compromise where the federal Congress for the first time turns around and says hey, we’re going to grow slavery. He’s opposed to this. He’s a preacher. His brother, Owen, is a preacher. He does not consider himself an abolitionist, but he’s a preacher.
He has a weekly magazine called The Observer, and he does religious articles. He started touching on the slavery issue and started talking about what he thought about the slavery issue. His press—
Glenn: Burned down?
David: Three times, came and smashed it. Each time, he’d put it back, go back to it, but you come face to face with what do I believe in? I want you to see this letter he wrote. This is what he said after this. He says, “In The Observer of Thursday, I shall come out openly, fearlessly, and as I hope in such a manner as becomes a servant of Jesus Christ when defending his cause, and whatever may be the consequences, I think, I trust, that through the grace of God, I am prepared to meet them—even unto death itself.”
He says, “My friends are trembling. My enemies, numerous and influential, are open and fiercer in their threats, but I can truly say I was never more calm. I have fasted and prayed. I have earnestly sought the path of duty and think, I am assured, that I have found it, and now I am determined that not all the fury of men or devils shall drive me from it. Yet you need not be disappointed to hear that I have fallen a victim, at least to the lash or the tar barrel.”
He says, “If they content themselves with whipping, I will not run until I have been whipped as often, at least, as Paul was—eight times.” So, he’s prepared himself for all that’s coming, except the next time, they killed them, they shot him. They just assassinated him and then burned his press down over his head.
Glenn: That’s very interesting because the same time and for many of the same reasons, not alone, but many of the same reasons, that’s what Joseph Smith went through, same time, Missouri. They were tar and feathering. They burned down the press because they were also anti-slavery. A lot of people think that happened because of Mormonism, but partly it was because of the Missouri Compromise. He was tarred and feathered, and I don’t think people understand what that was.
David: Oh man, are you kidding?
Glenn: Oh my gosh.
David: Man, if you’ve got any skin left—
Glenn: You’re lucky.
David: Do you know how hot tar has to be to melt and then pour that over somebody? Why don’t we just heat honey to boiling and then just go ahead and pour that on you? He said well, I may get lashed, I may get tarred and feathered, I may get hung.
Glenn: That’s okay.
David: That’s all right. I’ve talked to God about this. I’ve decided this is the right thing to do.
Glenn: That’s the attitude of the people that we’re trying to stand up for in the Middle East. Those people, we win. I mean, ISIS, I’m told that ISIS is freaked out by the Christians in the Middle East because they can’t get them to break. They keep doing these things worse and worse and worse, and nobody is crying, nobody’s begging for their lives. They’re all going quietly, and they can’t figure it out. If we can get to the place to where—somebody taught me once in negotiations, the best negotiation thing I’ve ever seen, and that is never threaten. Make promises. Never bluff, never. Never bluff.
So, when you can sit at a negotiation table or you can sit in this situation or any situation and you can look another man in the eyes and say I’m not moving, I don’t wish you ill, I don’t have any problems with you, but I’m not moving, there is something dog-like in each of us that makes you go crap, they’re serious; they are serious.
David: And that’s that standalone courage. We’ll close this segment out with one more quote. It’s a Texas one, so I’m going to go to Texas, going to go to the Texas rangers for a minute because when the Texas rangers were organized, Texas was a home for all sorts of lawless folks. Let’s back up one to the picture before. These are the guys, man. These are the tough guys that have to take on all the outlaws and the Santa Anna dictators and all the stuff they did.
The guy in the front row, the second guy in, right there, him, that is Capt. Bill McDonald. He runs the rangers. Bill McDonald, and this is what he taught the rangers, and this is where we are today as individuals. This is his quote, Capt. Bill McDonald: No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that’s in the right and keeps on a-comin’.” That’s the deal, you stand up, and you don’t back down.
Whether it’s in negotiations, whether it’s in the American Revolution, whether it’s in the anti-slavery cause, whether it’s ISIS, anything else, you stand up, even if it’s by yourself. You don’t back down, and you keep on coming. That overcomes them.