An article appeared yesterday in Breitbart News that attempts to frame some comments that I made last weekend about evangelical Christians who support Donald Trump or who aren't supporting Ted Cruz.
I don't usually like to address what amounts to nothing more than a smear campaign that appears in the media --- especially the paid-for Donald Trump press. But I do feel compelled to respond to this particular article because it so badly misrepresents what I said and what I believe.
And I've got to leave aside the typical and obvious propaganda that's often lobbed at myself and people of my faith, that Mormons aren't Christians, we worship a different God than evangelicals do, et cetera, et cetera. And, by the way, any dialogue or article that starts out with this type of tired, intellectually dishonest, back-handed smear is one that should be automatically dismissed. Mormons absolutely do accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the only Savior of the entire universe. We believe and follow in the teachings of Jesus and the Holy Bible, the King James Version. We've been dealing with this kind of nonsense since 1830. It's nothing new. But leave that aside.
Here's what concerned me: What concerned me was the way this article attempts to characterize what I said and believe, that I had to step back and rewatch the videos and listen to my comments that I made at campaign rallies over the weekend and make sure that I hadn't said what the article and the comments within the article imply.
If you listen to my radio program, you know that I have very strong beliefs about this election, about Ted Cruz, where our country is headed, about the dangers we face as people. And it is something that I am open and honest and deeply passionate about.
So I wanted to make sure that I reviewed what I said, to make sure that my passion hadn't overwhelmed my ability to communicate exactly what I believe.
In the article, Pastor Robert Jeffress states that I believe I know how God would vote in the upcoming election.
It's not something I've ever said, nor would I ever say. I have no idea what God would say about who we should vote for.
So that's three falsehoods in the first few words out of his mouth. At least as quoted by Breitbart. That I'm not a Christian. That I worship a different God than evangelicals. And that I said that I knew how God would vote.
"Do I even need to read the rest of the article?" is what I thought to myself.
I need to clarify this because America needs to hear the truth. I don't claim I know how God would vote in the upcoming election, nor have I claimed or implied that in any of my statements. I do believe that God inspires men and women. I do believe that he speaks to us. I do believe he teaches our hearts. I do believe that he speaks directly to us, if we pray and listen. If we study his words and seek his truth, we can be inspired.
I have said that I believe he's given us the opportunity to unite behind Ted Cruz. I believe that Ted is a man of God. I do believe that if we study, pray, and seek God's inspiration, he will touch our hearts. We will see the truth about the two candidates: Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. And he will inspire us on the truth.
The article goes on:
One prominent academic who specializes in American religion takes exception to Beck’s comments as well.
“Assuming that Mr. Beck is referring to evangelicals who vote for Trump, I would make a distinction that Beck does not: The Bible certainly offers principles on how to think about government and politics. The Bible does not, however, tell us which individual candidates to vote for,” Dr. Thomas S. Kidd, Distinguished Professor of History and Associate Director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, tells Breitbart News.
“If other Christians don’t vote for our preferred candidate, we should not say that they are not listening to God. None of us has special access to God’s opinions about candidates,” Kidd says.
“There are many reasons why devout Christians should hesitate to vote for Donald Trump, but God has not revealed Ted Cruz as the divinely anointed alternative, either,” Kidd concludes.
Okay, at least there are some points of intellectually honesty here. I like Dr. Kidd because I don't necessarily know him and I don't disagree with what he's saying here. But I do feel compelled to address his comments.
"The Bible certainly offers principles on how to think about government and politics," he said. "The Bible does not, however, tell us which individual candidates to vote for."
Literally speaking, that is absolutely true. I thumbed through the Bible this morning on my way in, and I was looking for it. And even in the index, I couldn't find Trump or Cruz. It was amazing. I couldn't find it.
What I've said is the Bible describes the types of events that are occurring today. And that we have, as people, certain responsibilities related to those events. That we are expected to stand for virtue and righteousness. We are the watchmen on the tower, expected to uphold our duty as protectors of our fellow men, of their rights, and their freedoms. That's what I say. And that's what I mean.
So when it comes to an election and especially one as vital as this one, with everything on the line, we should be asking which candidate best represents and exhibits virtue? Which one best represents and exhibits righteousness? Which one best represents an acceptance of God in his or her heart? Which candidate has demonstrated through word and deed that they believe in the actual God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that they believe in the Ten Commandments, that they believe in the sanctity of marriage, that they don't worship gold, they don't worship fame, they don't worship wealth, that they believe each of us is born with free agency. Because with all due respect to Dr. Kidd, leaders like that are pretty well described in the Bible.
I'm pretty sure the Bible doesn't describe casino-owning billionaires who think it's perfectly moral to murder children for revenge as the ideal leader people should follow. I had my team scouring the Bible today from Genesis to Revelation to see if I missed where I put strip clubs in my casinos. Maybe I've missed it. Maybe it's in your Christian version of the Bible, but it's not in mine.
Dr. Kidd goes on to say, "None of us has special access to God's opinion about candidates."
Here's the place I disagree with him. I totally disagree with him. And it's not that I have some special access to God. I believe all of us, each of us has special access to God. Every one of us who seeks God's inspiration, who genuinely with a broken and contrite spirit, humbly seeks his counsel, can receive that information. And that is the only thing I'm asking for. That is all I'm saying.
Shouldn't each of us with a broken spirit, a contrite spirit, with a humble heart, a servant's heart, honestly ask our Maker, "What should we do?"
Our nation is facing severe challenges right now. There are dangers from without and from within, but I think more from within. Our core principles, the original principles of man that our Founders recognize as divinely inspired, that are the foundation of our nation, are nearly lost. Religious freedom, freedom of speech, free agency, the right to choose your own morality --- Dr. Kidd says there are many reasons why devout Christians should hesitate to vote for Donald Trump. He's right to the money here. I won't go through the list because the show is not that long.
But then he says, "But God has not revealed Ted Cruz as the divinely anointed alternative either." To you, Dr. Kidd. To you. To you God hasn't revealed Cruz as divinely anointed. I understand that. And I respect your opinion on it. But here's mine: I have seen this man's life. I have watched this man. I have prayed about this man. I have prayed about it by myself, out loud, in quiet, with my family, with my staff, and I happen to believe that Ted Cruz actually was anointed for this time. Would there not be someone that was in the pool that might have the right qualifications for God? Is he that disinterested in all of us? Or is it perhaps possible that just like in the Bible, people were raised from birth for a specific time? Are we that inconsequential, Dr. Kidd? Are we really not that important enough for him to raise someone up, at this critical juncture?
Now, that isn't to say that I believe Ted Cruz is perfect. He's not. He's not the second Christ on earth. He's not walking around with a halo. I'm not claiming that he's never made mistakes or never will make mistakes. I'm not saying he's going to be the perfect president.
Ted Cruz is a man. I don't back a man. I back a man's principles.
I've had the chance to speak with him, get to know him, understand his values, hear him talk about how he loves his fellow men, his brothers and sisters, how he loves this nation, how he loves his children, how he loves his family, how he loves and is inspired by God, the Almighty Creator of the heavens and the earth. I personally think we have a pretty clear choice.
As devout Christians and Jews and Muslims, even atheists, we have a pretty clear choice between two candidates. To me, this is a gift. This is a gift from God. Because sometimes the choices aren't that clear. Sometimes it's easy to dismiss it because you're like, "I'm not really sure." It's really clear. And maybe that's why I've expressed some exasperation at the large groups of Christians, of all faiths, but in particular I mentioned evangelicals, but I also mention my own faith as well. I do believe our nation was divinely inspired through our Founding Fathers, through Lincoln, through many great men and women over the last 220 years. Through us, God ushered in human freedom and liberty in a way that the world had never ever seen it before.
It's our role to continue to protect this nation and, more importantly, the principles that it stands for from those who would seek to destroy or remove freedom from the earth, from ISIS, radical Islam who would seek to extinguish that freedom from outside with violence, and from progressives who would seek to extinguish that freedom by dismantling the Constitution from within.
I'd like to apologize for any of the comments that I've made that offended anyone's religious sensibilities or implied that I thought you weren't good Christians. If that's what I had said, but that's not what I said. That's what Breitbart and Drudge and the paid-for Donald Trump media wants you to believe I said.
I believe evangelicals and Christians and Jews and Muslims are in this together, that we all have access to God's inspiration. That's all I'm asking for: On this Easter weekend, that you would take the time and ask for God's inspiration. Take the time to examine the principles and put them up to your Christian values and principles. Just side by side, the principles, God's principles and the candidate's principles, without excuses.
Question with boldness. Realize where our country is. Realize what's at risk in this election if we choose a candidate whose positions seem to be based on anger, hatred, greed. It's easy to get caught up in a crowd carrying pitchforks and torches, but look at the records of these men. Listen to the words they use. Look how they live their lives. What they've built. How they've built it. And then ask yourself soberly, truly, and then seek God's counsel.
If having done that, you're still confirmed in your choice to support Donald Trump, I can't fault you for that, just like you can't fault me for believing and supporting Ted Cruz. You may still think I'm wrong. I might still disagree with you. But at least we're having an intellectually and spiritually honest dialogue. And we can discuss and debate the facts and the Bible verses and each man's political policies as we understand them.
The point here is, there's much more here that unites us than divides us once we get to principles and past politics. My hope and my prayer is that we realize that and that we unite as a people, not as a party. But as a people. God's people. And we can unite behind a candidate who best represents our values and our principles that our God taught us and told us to stand for. Because after all, we are one nation under God.
Featured Image: Screenshot from The Glenn Beck Program