Saturday, September 11, 2010

Glenn Beck's Black Robe Republican Regiment

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The following was compiled by Ben Dimiero of Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog organization scrutinizing conservative media figures and outlets.

Two weeks ago, Glenn Beck capped his shift into hyper-religiosity by unveiling the "Black Robe Regiment." The formation of the group and our culture's alleged "turn back to God" at his "Restoring Honor" rally were supposed to mark the "beginning of the end of darkness." While hyping the group, Beck has repeatedly stressed that they are non-political. Like most other things he says, this does not hold up to scrutiny. In fact, it's becoming increasingly clear that the Black Robe Regiment is simply a thinly-veiled get-out-the-vote push for the GOP. [Emphasis added]

Using church to capture state

Beck announced last week that he was working with James Dobson to help form the Regiment. In the past, Dobson and his organizations have repeatedly used churches to attempt to influence elections. The Alliance Defense Fund, which Dobson co-founded, sought preachers who were willing to challenge the IRS over whether tax-exempt churches could explicitly endorse or oppose candidates. Last month, Beck promoted the ADF's "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" initiative. During the segment, David Barton - whom Beck has credited with helping hatch the idea of the Regiment -- described the movement as "several hundred preachers" saying to the IRS, "come after me. I dare you." Additionally, as reported by The Washington Post in 2006, Dobson's Focus on the Family group announced that it would "work with affiliated groups in eight battleground states to mobilize evangelical voters in the November elections."

Speaking of mobilizing voters, Dr. Richard Lee, Black Robe Regiment member and pastor at First Redeemer Church in Atlanta, told Media Matters last week that part of the Regiment's mission is to return to their places of worship and boost voter involvement. Lee's words were echoed by fellow Black Rober Richard Land, who explained that the Regiment mission entails "Energizing all of our members to register to vote, to be informed as to where the country stands on issues and leave it to them to connect the dots."

The Black Robe Regiment's connections to partisan politics run even deeper.  At least two members of the group are closely tied to former Speaker of the House and putative 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and his Renewing American Leadership group. Barton, who "spearheaded the Republican National Committee's rigorous outreach to pastors in 2004, "is listed as a board member. Joining Barton is Black Rober Dr. Jim Garlow, who serves as the group's chairman.

So what is the goal of Renewing American Leadership? As explained on their "Who We Are" page, the group is "dedicated to educating, organizing, training, and mobilizing people of faith to renew American self-government and America's role in the world." When the group launched last year, Founding Director Rick Tyler described the group toU.S. News in explicitly political terms, saying that they wanted to "prove" to Republican donors that "mobilizing evangelical voters leads to the best economic policies."

As we documented this week, numerous members of the supposedly nonpolitical Black Robe Regiment share a fervent opposition to the "homosexual agenda" and are strident opponents of gay marriage. Included in this anti-gay army of God is Maggie Gallagher, whose association with the Black Robe Regiment further makes a mockery of the idea that this group is non-political. Gallagher, who confirmed her involvement with the group to Media Matters, is neither a pastor nor a religious figure; she's an anti-gay activist. Her organizations, National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, both revolve around "protecting marriage" - by which, of course, they mean denying gays t he right to marry.

So if Beck is serious that his followers should "run from any pastor, priest or rabbi" advocating that "any one policy God says is the right thing," then he apparently thinks people need to flee from his Black Robe Regiment.

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Lisa Houserman said...

I knew this group would be totally political. Big surprise huh? I'm actually getting confused as to what in the hell Beck is up to. He seems to buy into the "Christian Nation" label but, he turns around and says that religion and politics should not ever mix. I don't know where he's going half the time. On an off topic note, did you notice how his set has changed on the show? It now looks like a total class room with a ton of blackboards and an old fashioned looking wooden desk with his logo on it. I think this way he can psych folks out by being the "teacher" and we are the pupils.

The Glenn Beck Review said...

Have not noticed the new set. It's ironic that someone who rails against universities want's to come off as an instructor of the creed: Worry, be stupid.

If you're confused about what Beck is up to, it's because you're thinking rationally. Beck uses "truthiness;" what FEELS right.

When he claims that religion and politics should not mix, he's lying. Proof of that is his close relationship to David Barton.