Glenn Beck: Banishing God From Our Classrooms





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I seriously need duct tape just to make it through the day to survive. If I don't wrap my head up tight, it's going to explode just from reading the news of the day.

Our Karl Marx-loving administration is trying to spend its way out of a debt crisis; we're about to send a progressive to the Supreme Court (remember, progressives think the Constitution is an outdated document), and then there are stories like this out of Arlington High School in Massachusetts:

A student there named Sean Harrington noticed something odd: There were no American flags in the classroom and no Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Sean decided to try and get flags put back in the classroom and to have students start reciting the Pledge of Allegiance again. Seems like a benign request, right? Not in Massachusetts. It's been three years — three years — since Sean took up the oh-so-controversial fight of getting American flags back in American classrooms.

Sean finally got them to relent on the flags, but the Pledge has been a different story. The principal, Charles Skidmore, finally agreed to lead the Pledge, not in class but in the foyer for those who wish to attend. The school said: "The principal wanted to be very respectful about the Pledge and be sensitive to the Supreme Court ruling that students are not forced to say the Pledge. He wanted to be sensitive to the diverse group of students we have."

Diverse group of students? Look, if you don't want to say the Pledge, whatever, you don't have to. But what part of that "diverse group" of students doesn't want to recite it?

How did we even get to a place where we are even having this debate? The Pledge of Allegiance? The flag in class? Really? Where was the tipping point on this? Do the majority of people think the Pledge is offensive or is this a bogus tipping point? Who exactly is offended?

The school originally rejected Harrington's request because, "some educators are concerned that it would be hard to find teachers willing to recite it." Really? That's even worse! If that's true and teachers won't recite the Pledge, then maybe it's time to start firing teachers. My 4-year-old recites the Pledge and that's one reason my kids are not in public school.

Do you remember when Red Skelton recited the Pledge?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RED SKELTON: I — me, an individual, a committee of one — pledge — dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity — allegiance — my love and my devotion — to the flag — our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there is respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job — of the United — that means that we have all come together — States — individual communities that have united into 48 great states; 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose, all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common cause and that's love for country — of America and to the Republic — a republic, a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people — for which it stands. One nation — meaning, so blessed by God — indivisible — incapable of being divided — with liberty — which is freedom, the right of power to live one's life without threats or fear or any sort of retaliation — and justice — the principle or quality of dealing fairly with others — for all — which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Some think there was a tipping point in 1962 when the Supreme Court first ruled that a voluntary —- voluntary — prayer at the start of each school day was unconstitutional because, the court said, it amounted to state sponsorship of prayer. What was the offensive, voluntary prayer New York schools recited?

"Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee and beg Thy blessings upon us, our teachers and our country."

Oh, the horror! I feel for all the atheists who had to sit through that divisive indoctrination. At least they didn't make them read this:

"O! Lord our heavenly Father, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords... look down in mercy, we beseech thee; on these our American states who have fled to thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves upon thy gracious protection, desiring henceforth to be dependent only on thee."

That's the official prayer of the first Continental Congress in 1774. Oh, how far we've come. First, not — not — mandating a specific religion; then, don't talk about God at all. You might offend someone!

Then a compromise: A middle school in Brooklyn is talking about religion — well, using material that compares religion to a disease. But don't worry, the material also says religion may be a disease, but it's a "noble disease." What is a noble disease? A cancer that only attacks pedophiles?

As we've reduced our exposure to God since the 1962 court ruling, I contend we've all but forgotten God. It's what led us to some big problems. Let me show you what David Barton found when he looked into this: SAT scores began falling, pre-marital sexual activity among teens skyrocketed and the number of violent crimes rose rapidly. Coincidence?

Progressives have fought this fight for decades, because the less people rely on God, it creates a dependency vacuum. And guess who's there to fill the void: government and the unions. It gives them more power over you. And if you think they don't want it, watch this video from NEA General Counsel Bob Chanin, who was giving a retirement speech:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB CHANIN, NEA: Despite what some among us would like to believe, it is not because of creative ideas, it is not because of the merit of our positions, it is not because we care about children, it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power and we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year because they believe we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

It's about power and control. Progressives believe the government will make better choices than the individual. And a huge part of what's allowing them to amass more power is our growing separation from God. At a time when we need to hear more people of faith, they are being pushed aside — all in the name of political correctness. Even a high school kid from Massachusetts understands it:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HARRINGTON, STUDENT: As Ronald Reagan said, "If we forget that we're a nation under God, then we are a nation gone under."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Is that not proving true?

— Watch Glenn Beck weekdays at 5p & 2a ET on Fox News Channel

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?