“Since when has a fast and prayer been crazy? It was standard practice to beseech the powers of heaven for not just your country but personal guidance and revelation at one time. Have we really become a nation that mocks those who pray and fast? The sad answer is yes.”
Those words were posted to Facebook by Glenn over the weekend, after his simple request to fast was mocked by news outlets and comments on his Facebook page.
What started this "controversy?" Following the South Carolina primary, Glenn posted this message:
I would like to ask you to join me and my family Monday in a fast for Ted Cruz, our country and the Nevada caucus.
While many commented favorably, many also responded with vitriol, including this:
Ok I have come to the conclusion that Glenn Beck needs to be put in the loony bin because he is asking people to join he and his family on Monday in a fast for Ted Cruz before the Nevada Caucus. Is this idiot for real??? Why don't he just accept the fact that Cruz lost and stop acting like a little cry baby and certifiably insane because he is making Christians look like whack jobs!!"
Which, in turn, prompted Glenn to post about the sad state of Christianity in America:
Reading posts today proves the point that the Church is dead asleep.
Could that be true? Is the Church asleep? Is the concept of fasting --- a common tenent of Christianity and Judaism --- so foreign the American public doesn't realize its place in history?
"Have you ever read the Old Testament?" Glenn asked Monday on The Glenn Beck Program. "Because that's why they were fasting and praying all the time. They were praying for the kings. They were praying for everybody. They were fasting and praying. I talked to a Jewish rabbi last night, and he's like, 'I can't believe the heat you're getting on this fasting. Jewish communities have been doing it for 5,000 thousand years.' I said, 'I know, I know.' So has the Christian community."
Apparently, many seem to have forgotten the purpose of fasting, which appears throughout scripture.
By its very nature, fasting seems to suggest that something is wrong. Eating is a normal part of human existence, so abstaining from eating implies a disruption in the very rhythm of life. The Old Testament uses fasting and abstinence from food to point to something even more necessary for life—communion with and dependence on God. Fasting behaviors were sometimes commanded, sometimes voluntary, and sometimes even ritualized, but the Hebrew Bible rather consistently portrays fasting in conjunction with themes of disruption and restoration. In the midst of disruption, fasting comes to symbolize hope. Through repentance and prayer, fasting can signify the centering of the self in humility, the renewal of the relationship to God’s sustaining force.
Not only is fasting a thousands-year-old tradition in our Judeo-Christian heritage, it also has a long documented history in American politics. Since the founding of the nation, American presidents have called upon citizens to pray and fast.
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation called Appointing a Day of National Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer:
Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do by this my proclamation designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. And I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite at their several places of public worship and their respective homes in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.
Lincoln called for days of "national humiliation, prayer and fasting" on two other occasions in 1861 and 1864. John Adams and James Madison called for the same during their presidencies. Upon Abraham Lincoln's death, President Andrew Jackson proclaimed a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Mourning. And in 1985, President Ronald Reagan called for a National Day of Fasting To Raise Funds To Combat Hunger.
The notion that fasting is without precedent in American politics is a fallacy and one that disregards history. Couching fasting as outside "the norm" of human behavior is to deny the basic tenents of practicing Christians and Jews (and peoples of other faiths).
What should be considered unprecedented and abnormal is the decay of American society and her people turning away from God.
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:
GLENN: So glad you're with us. Thanks so much for listening. By the way, I don't know why this was news. But on Saturday, I posted on my Facebook page that I'm fasting and praying.
PAT: Oh, my gosh. That wasn't just news, Glenn. That was the number one story of the weekend for Drudge. That was incredible. It was --
PAT: Isn't it interesting, I just found it a little fascinating that ever since you spoke in South Carolina about a story that involved a news outlet, ever since then, every story on these websites has been focusing on anything spiritual that you say.
PAT: Maybe it's just me, but it just seems --
GLENN: Maybe it is you. Thank you.
STU: To be fair quickly, for example, it is sort of newsworthy that you would go a day without food.
GLENN: Yes. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. You're right.
PAT: If that was the headline, I would understand it. Glenn Beck does not eat for a full day.
GLENN: Right. So, anyway, I'm only bringing this up because if you didn't hear about it, I've asked the nation to fast and pray and gauge what Abraham Lincoln said, in a day of humiliation, which means to humble ourselves, and to ask that our will be put in line with his. I'm not asking anybody to say -- God doesn't make winners because we don't eat. It allows to us hear his voice clearer and align our will with his. But I just asked for that on Saturday. And I'm also fasting that Ted Cruz and his will aligns with the Maker's, and that we understand where he's wanting us to go.
These are tough times for America. And if we don't look at this as a spiritual quest, you know, we're no different than those people who voted in the Democratic Party to deny God three times. I mean, I was amazed at, again, my Facebook page, with the people saying, "God doesn't get involved in politics." Have you ever read the Old Testament?
Have you ever read the Old Testament? Because that's why they were fasting and praying all the time. They were praying for the kings. They were praying for everybody. They were fasting and praying. I talked to a Jewish rabbi last night, and he's like, "I can't believe the heat you're getting on this fasting. Jewish communities have been doing it for 5,000 thousand years." I said, "I know. I know." So has the Christian community.
But if we've turned into Christians that deny the power of about to do and the power of fast and prayer in this nation, then we have become Europe. And the fundamental transformation is over. So I'm not asking you to do that. You can do that for your candidate. It doesn't matter. I'm asking that we align our wills with the Maker's will, and that his will be done. And, you know, you don't have to not eat lunch all day. Skip lunch today. Skip dinner today. Join me in a day of fasting and prayer for our nation today. Back in a minute.
Featured Image: The Glenn Beck Program