Christianity, Glenn Mocked in the Public Square

“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.

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. #scprimary#tedcruz#nevadacaucus

Posted by Glenn Beck on Saturday, February 20, 2016

 

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.

Reading posts today proves the point that the Church is dead asleep.Since when has a fast and prayer been crazy?It...

Posted by Glenn Beck on Sunday, February 21, 2016

 

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 --

GLENN: Yeah.

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.

GLENN: Yeah.

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

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

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​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

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