The Historical Fiction of Glenn Beck

Honestly, I couldn't get through the whole thing (there is a shorter video over at Crooks and Liars). I did make it to the point where I caught Glenn Beck saying that more preachers died during the American Revolution than any other group and that "England hated the preachers" going on to say that "in fact, if you were a preacher you were most likely to be killed during the American Revolution" presumably by the British.

Well, there were 4,435 combat deaths on the American side during the Revolutionary War. All told, there were some 10,000 total deaths from disease and malnutrition among American forces in the various army camps. Of these I'm sure more than a few were preachers but I only know of one, Rev. Ebenezer Baldwin, A.M., the pastor of the First Congregationalist Church in Danbury, Connecticut who died of a fever unrelated to combat in October 1776. His death is well-known because he was one of the first chaplains in General Washington's army.

The suggestion that the British went around massacring civilians, much less clergymen, is simply a despicable lie. Yes, the London papers described the colonial revolt as a "Presbyterian Uprising" and yes, Congregationalist ministers in New England played a pivotal role in fomenting the American revolt especially in the critical years of 1774-1776. I have a two volume set in my library entitled Political Sermons of the Founding Era, 1730-1805 that points to the important contributions made to American political thought by American clergymen before, during and after the Revolution just as the clergy played a critical role in the English Revolution of the mid-seventeenth century.

As Dr. Ellis Sandoz, a political scientist formerly at Louisiana State University, writes in the preface, "the early political culture of the American republic was deeply influenced by the religious consciousness of the New England preachers."  He adds, "indeed, it was often through the political sermon—the 'pulpit of the American Revolution'—that the political rhetoric of the period was formed, refined, and transmitted."

Jonathan Mayhew, D.D., the Congregationalist preacher at the Old West Church in Boston from 1747 until his death in 1766 is credited for the phrase "no taxation without representation" during his vigorous opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765. His fifty-five page sermon in 1750 commemorating the centennial of the execution of Charles I entitled A discourse concerning the unlimited submission and non-resistance to the high powers  (pdf) is one of the most influential political essays on the nature of civil liberties in American history and considered by historians as the key political treatise written in colonial America. In the sermon, Mayhew explored the idea that Christians were obliged to suffer under an oppressive ruler, as some Anglicans argued. Mayhew asserted that resistance to a tyrant was a "glorious" Christian duty. In offering moral sanction for political and military resistance, Mayhew anticipated the position that many ministers took during the conflict with Britain. But Mayhew's key point rested on the ancient freedoms of the pagan pre-Christian Britons.

The English constitution is originally and essentially free. The character which J. Caesar and Tacitus both give of the ancient Britons so long ago, is, That they were extremely jealous of their liberties, as well as a people of a martial spirit. Nor have there been wanting frequent instances and proofs of the same glorious spirit (in both respects) remaining in their posterity ever since,--in the struggles they have made for liberty, both against foreign and domestic tyrants.--Their kings hold their title to the throne solely by grant of parliament; i.e. in other words, by the voluntary consent of the people.

No historian is going to dispute the view that clergymen played a role in the Independence movement but Glenn Beck is suggesting that the clergy were the driving force. Nothing could be further from the historical record. John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian, was the only active clergyman among the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. It's true that Presbyterian and Congregationalist ministers, and hence their congregations, were largely for independence. However, it also true that many Quakers, who don't have ministers but rather believe that anyone may be called to pastoral ministry, and most Anglicans remained loyal to the Crown. Ministers of the Church of England were bound by oath to support the King and the Quakers were pacifists. It bears reminding that only a third of colonials were for independence, a third opposed and a third indifferent or neutral. Regionally at the start of the war, New England was the one area most for independence and the South the most loyal to the Crown.

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Beckamania

Via The Guardian:

Glenn Beck, conscious that so many of these events are judged on the numbers of those attending, looked out on a crowd that stretched from the Lincoln Memorial all the way up the Mall to the Washington Memorial, and put the figure at more than 450,000.

Jim Hoft, who blogs at Gateway Pundit, decided to round that up to an even 500,000. One attendee over at Free Republic "safely" estimated the crowd at a cool two million. Another conservative website, Ace of Spades, was more circumspect, only 300,000 were in attendance.

Meanwhile back on Planet Earth, CBS News decided to hire professionals to estimate the size of Beckamania.

An estimated 87,000 people attended a rally organized by talk-radio host and Fox News commentator Glenn Beck Saturday in Washington, according to a crowd estimate commissioned by CBS News.

The company AirPhotosLive.com based the attendance on aerial pictures it took over the rally, which stretched from in front of the Lincoln Memorial along the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument. Beck and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spoke at the rally.

Beck, who predicted that at least 100,000 people would show up, opened his comments with a joke: "I have just gotten word from the media that there is over 1,000 people here today."

The area around the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington during a rally organized by conservative commentator Glenn Beck is seen in this aerial picture taken Aug. 28, 2010.

AirPhotosLive.com gave its estimate a margin of error of 9,000, meaning between 78,000 and 96,000 people attended the rally. The photos used to make the estimate were taken at noon Saturday, which is when the company estimated was the rally's high point.

There are more photos at the CBS site but you can clearly seen big patches of green grass. Just for the record, the National Park Service stopped counting crowds in 1997 after being accused of underestimating the size of the Million Man March in 1995, so we are forced to rely on independent services like AirPhotosLive.com.

 

Now compare the above with the photo from the March on Washington back on August 28, 1963. A quarter of a million people attended that day. One in four that day were white. At Beckamania, ninety-eight in a hundred were white. In 1963, 0.0013228 percent of the US population was present to hear Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech. At Beckamania just 0.000281 percent of the US population came to hear the ramblings of a certifiable pair of morons. 

Honestly,  the only thing out-sized about Beckamania on Saturday was the ego of Glenn Beck himself.

 

Climate Denial Crock of the Week: "The Earth is Carbon Starved."

The GOP on carbon:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R—Minnesota):

Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs in Earth. It is a part of the regular lifecycle of Earth. In fact, life on planet Earth can’t even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to human life, to animal life, to plant life, to the oceans, to the vegetation that’s on the Earth, to the, to the fowl that — that flies in the air, we need to have carbon dioxide as part of the fundamental lifecycle of Earth.

Rep. Joe Barton (R—Texas):

Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can’t transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It’s just something to think about.

Rep. John Shimkus (R—Illinois):

The Earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood…. There is a theological debate that this is a carbon-starved planet, not too much carbon…. It’s plant food … So if we decrease the use of carbon dioxide, are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere?

This is your future government based on the infallibility of the delusional rants of cave dwelling mystics that believed in winged messengers from above and who wrote on papyrus:

Newt on Paganism in America

If Newt Gingrich is to be believed then we are "surrounded by paganism." Speaking at the Rock Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia at an event called "Rediscovering God in America," the former Speaker of the House was joined by Mike Huckabee and Oliver North. The event was closed to reporters but was broadcast live on God.TV, an evangelical Web site. More from the Virginian-Pilot:

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee urged Christians to get involved in politics to preserve the presence of religion in American life.

"I think this is one of the most critical moments in American history," Gingrich said. "We are living in a period where we are surrounded by paganism."

They and other speakers warned about the continuing availability of abortion, the spread of gay rights, and attempts to remove religion from American public life and school history books.

Gingrich and Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, argued the rights of Americans stem from God and to ignore that connection is perilous. The two were among several speakers, including former U.S. Senate candidate Oliver North, at the three-hour "Rediscovering God in America" event. The event was closed to reporters but was broadcast live on God.TV, an evangelical Web site.

Huckabee told the audience he was disturbed to hear President Barack Obama say during his speech in Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday that one nation shouldn't be exalted over another.

"The notion that we are just one of many among equals is nonsense," Huckabee said. The United States is a "blessed" nation, he said, calling American revolutionaries' defeat of the British empire "a miracle from God's hand."

The same kind of miracle, he said, led California voters to approve Proposition 8, which overturned a state law legalizing same-sex marriages.

I'll say this for a man who has a PhD in History, Newt is quite the ignoramus. Paganism, using its broadest definition, refers to ancient mostly polytheistic religions outside the traditions of Abraham and his rather bizarre God. I mean what sort of God asks you to sacrifice your only son. I'm an atheist, hardly a pagan though on warm sunny afternoons I do tend to worship the Sun.

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The Historical Fiction of Glenn Beck

Honestly, I couldn't get through the whole thing. I did make it to the two minute mark where I caught Glenn Beck saying that more preachers died during the American Revolution than any other group and that "England hated the preachers" going on to say that "in fact, if you were a preacher you were mostly liked to be killed during the American Revolution" presumably by the British.

Well, there were 4,435 combat deaths on the American side during the Revolutionary War. All told, there were some 10,000 total deaths from disease and malnutrition among American forces in the various army camps. Of these I'm sure more than a few were preachers but I only know of one, Rev. Ebenezer Baldwin, A.M., the pastor of the First Congregationalist Church in Danbury, Connecticut who died of a fever unrelated to combat in October 1776. His death is well-known because he was the first chaplain in General Washington's army.

The suggestion that the British went around massacring civilians, much less clergymen, is simply a despicable lie. Yes, the London papers described the colonial revolt as a "Presbyterian Uprising" and yes, Congregationalist ministers in New England played a pivotal role in fomenting the American revolt especially in the critical years of 1774-1776. I have a two volume set in my library entitled Political Sermons of the Founding Era, 1730-1805 that points to the important contributions made to American political thought by American clergymen before, during and after the Revolution just as the clergy played a pivotal role in the English Revolution of the mid-seventeenth century.

As Dr. Ellis Sandoz, a political scientist formerly at Louisiana State University, writes in the preface, "the early political culture of the American republic was deeply influenced by the religious consciousness of the New England preachers."  He adds, "indeed, it was often through the political sermon—the 'pulpit of the American Revolution'—that the political rhetoric of the period was formed, refined, and transmitted."

Jonathan Mayhew, D.D., the Congregationalist preacher at the Old West Church in Boston from 1747 until his death in 1766 is credited for the phrase "no taxation without representation" during his vigorous opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765. His fifty-five page sermon in 1750 commemorating the centennial of the execution of Charles I entitled A discourse concerning the unlimited submission and non-resistance to the high powers  (pdf) is one of the most influential political essays on the nature of civil liberties in American history and considered by historians as the key political treatise written in colonial America. In the sermon, Mayhew explored the idea that Christians were obliged to suffer under an oppressive ruler, as some Anglicans argued. Mayhew asserted that resistance to a tyrant was a "glorious" Christian duty. In offering moral sanction for political and military resistance, Mayhew anticipated the position that many ministers took during the conflict with Britain. But Mayhew's key point rested on the ancient freedoms of the pagan pre-Christian Britons.

The English constitution is originally and essentially free. The character which J. Caesar and Tacitus both give of the ancient Britons so long ago, is, That they were extremely jealous of their liberties, as well as a people of a martial spirit. Nor have there been wanting frequent instances and proofs of the same glorious spirit (in both respects) remaining in their posterity ever since,--in the struggles they have made for liberty, both against foreign and domestic tyrants.--Their kings hold their title to the throne solely by grant of parliament; i.e. in other words, by the voluntary consent of the people.

No historian is going to dispute the view that clergymen played a role in the Independence movement but Glenn Beck is suggesting that clergy were the driving force. Nothing could be further from the historical record. John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian, was the only active clergyman among the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. It's true that Presbyterian and Congregationalist ministers, and hence their congregations, were largely for independence. However, it also true that many Quakers, who don't have ministers but rather believe that anyone may be called to pastoral ministry, and most Anglicans remained loyal to the Crown. Ministers of the Church of England were bound by oath to support the King and the Quakers were pacifists. It bears reminding that only a third of colonials were for independence, a third opposed and a third indifferent or neutral. Regionally at the start of the war, New England was the one most for independence and the South the most loyal to the Crown.

There's more...

Diaries

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