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An Open Letter to Glenn Beck
by Gerhard A. Fuerst [1]

Reposted by the Coffee Coaster with the author's permission

Text of letters sent to TV Commentator Glenn Beck

"Apparently you think that the... Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia was not really a meeting to deal with the political problems, conflicts and controversies arising from the government under the Articles of Confederation, but a religious revival meeting?"

First Letter: June 22, 2009, 2:30 p.m.

Dear Mr. Beck:

Before your departure from "You-Know-Where," and your resurfacing on FOX, I  used to watch you quite regularly. I make it a habit to inform myself in regard to all matters plutocratic pundits present as spin, dogma, or daily  doses of dished-out diatribe, on both sides of the ideological divide (chasm, trench, or whatever...).

You see, I am a retired secondary and university educator (the latter as an  adjunct professor) with an academic training in social science and  political science, foreign languages, and so on. I had been taught, and I made it a  practice to be professionally ethical, honest, "fair and balanced" (to borrow  a favorite FOX jargon).

I had always asked my students to speak their mind, to be interested in and involved in public issues. I respected whatever private or personal political views they held. I asked them to write their opinions in essay or journal form, and they were fully credited, not graded. They received full support and academic credit for becoming involved in elections and political campaigns, totally free to chose to whatever party to lend helping hand.  They also received credit for becoming registered voters, and to comply with the mandate to register for the military, etc.

For many years, I sponsored tours of Washington, DC, and participation in  the Close-Up Foundation programs. I assure you that we had lively debates, and we also hosted visits of public officials with a wide variety of view  points. I believe in the First Amendment guarantee and promise of Freedom of Expression, something I both preached and practiced, In openly encouraged and I  employed. Furthermore, I still do so to date, writing view point articles.

To cut to the chase, I do have my own opinion and perspective on public  matters, and my leanings are to liberalism, while trying to remain in the  middle of the road (more or less), practicing The Golden Rule of Common Sense. I detest the extremes of radicalism on "the right" (which is mostly wrong), and the radicalism on "the far left." I believe in the principle of  compromise, because to me it is symptomatic of what a democracy ought to stand for, seeking the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

Words from God?

This having been said, let me get to my actual point, by taking issue with  what you had written on page xxxii of your "inconvenient book."  You allege  the following, and I quote: "The words contained in our Constitution, while written by our founding fathers, came directly from God—as do the rights they grant us." (italics are mine!) 

Now really, Mr. Beck!? Is this "The Political Gospel" according to Glenn Beck? Did you write this to endear yourself to religious fundamentalists (in order to sell more copies of your book?), who seem to remake, redesign, reinvent God as matter of  personal and political convenience over and over again, supposedly as "the spirit  moves them?" So, do you believe that the Bible consists of The Old  Testament, The New Testament, and The Political Testament (or Gospel) according to  Glenn Beck?

Apparently you think that the American Revolution was not really a  revolution spawned by political discontent over matters of representation and taxation, but a religious revival?  The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia was not really a meeting to deal with the political problems, conflicts and controversies arising from the government under The Articles of Confederation, but a religious revival meeting?  Was the war and its fierce and deadly battles for American Independence, a war between those who advocated God and those who denied or denounced God, in other words a struggle between the God-less British and God-fearing American patriots and freedom fighters?

Who  was George Washington in this process, a religious leader, seeking to establish a New American Religion?  How does "The Great Compromise" figure into your scheme and rhetoric?  Also divinely inspired, rather than a compromise between two conflicting plans for constituting and establishing a functional national legislature? How do you see James Madison's role, who is usually considered to be "The Father of The American Constitution?"  Was he God's messenger sent on a divine mission? Was the addition of the Bill of Rights also a divine plan, rather than a political necessity to placate those who argued against the ratification of the Constitution? Speaking of those opponents of the Constitution as originally written, were those opponents of "the word of God?"

"Dogma According to Beck"

Let me pause here, because you can see where this is heading in my own  personal rhetoric. I take the Constitution, as written and subsequently  amended, to be the foundation and the pillars of strength on which the American system of government rests. Now then, I will not argue with your own personal  perspective. You are, of course, entitled to your views, which you might even argue to have been divinely inspired? However, please consider that's all they are. I have not heard of any noted or publicly acclaimed and popularly accepted Religious (political) Dogma according to Glenn Beck. 

Furthermore, the continuing controversy and argumentation between "the  strict-constructionists" and "the loose-constructionists" of the US Constitution is a continuing debate over the meaning and implication of a political document, and not a controversy over exclusively religious issues! By the way, you do know the "Establishment Clause" and "The Free Exercise Clause" contained in the First Amendment to the Constitution!?  That alone  tells you that The Founding Fathers clearly distinguished between politics and religion!

Incidentally, during my years as a secondary educator, I have handed out  more than 20,000 copies of the United States Constitution to my students and to others in the Kalamazoo Public School System, at all levels of education, elementary school, middle school, and high school. Additionally, while escorting a group of students to the former Soviet Union as part of the Friendship Caravan, sponsored by The Eisenhower Foundation of Spokane, WA, I handed out hundreds of copies of the US Constitutions to eager recipients to read and to keep, and to seek implementation of what it contained there! I did my ever so small part there, in order to help push come to shove to produce a political regime change there.

Best regards,

Gerhard A. Fuerst
Retired secondary and university educator
Social sciences

Second Letter: June 22, 2009, 7:30 p.m.

In regard to the United States Constitution and its words allegedly coming directly from God, according to plutocratic pundit and FOX(y) fellow, Glenn Beck, continued:

The United States Constitution, as originally written by The Founding  Fathers, was a document which was imperfect, to say the least, and it was the  product of "a bundle of compromises," especially in the tug of war between different factions representing various sociopolitical and socioeconomic  interests, and competing ideas between the large states and the small states, dealing especially with the very tough matters and issues of equitable and fair representation and taxation.

Divinely inspired?

The fact and proof that this original document was not divinely inspired can be seen in the fact that:

  1. It perpetuated the institution of slavery for another 20 years after  ratification.
  2. Women were not granted any political rights, and 
  3. Persons of indigenous origin were also not included.
  4. It was a government of, for, and by the landed gentry (consisting of  Caucasian males, the privileged elite of the time), those who owned property and who also paid taxes.
  5. Therefore, all persons without real property were excluded, as were all persons of an indentured servant status.

That is how allegedly "divine" this document was at its inception. Remember, it also did not contain a Bill of Rights, which after it was added as the first 10 Amendments, merely restricted the powers of the central or national government. The only reference with religious implications are found in Amendment #1,  in the Establishment Clause and in the Free Exercise Clause. Other than that, the US Constitution makes no direct reference or indirect reference to religion or to God.

Benjamin Franklin, when being asked after the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, what sort of government had  been created by this document, is said to have responded: "a republic, if you can keep it!" In other words, this senior elder statesman at the aforementioned Philadelphia convention did not suggest or imply that a religious institution had  been created and established by God which now mandated or necessitated obedience to God.

Subsequent amendments had to be added to correct the original and  deliberate omissions, denials, neglect, and man-made imperfections, even enforced by Supreme Court decisions which actually legitimized and perpetuated conditions of racial segregation, institutionalized discrimination, prejudice and racism. It was a very long, hard political and even bloody struggle, on battle fields and in the courts, in order to have the Constitution become what it is today.

Although the 13th, 14th,  and 15th (Civil War) Amendments were added with specific purpose and intention to correct Constitutional (not divine) deficiencies, it took nearly one century before the 14th Amendment received real muscle and meaning, and a long struggle to obtain further aspects of equality and equity through further legislative efforts, in response to public protest and social unrest. The adoption of the 19th Amendment finally elevated women as citizens with rights equal to those of men.

Therefore, Mr Beck, God must have had a really hard time in getting his alleged divine message heard, listened to, understood, or accepted when the Founding Fathers originally met to see what could be accomplished in Philadelphia, May 25 to September 17, 1787.

Political speech

Coming back to matters religious: The Declaration of Independence of 1776 stated the causes and reasons which impelled the Americans to break their  legal and political ties to the government of England. They justified their  actions with this official declaration by listing abuses and usurpation  committed by King and Parliament against the people in the colonies, in violation of rights which had been granted by the Magna Carta of 1215 and other laws. In justifying their actions, after repeated appeals and petitions,  including declarations of loyalty, had been ignored, the Americans referred to inalienable rights to which they claimed entitlement, based on "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God."

However, here is the clincher:  "That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." This is political rhetoric, not religious justification! This powerful and clearly definitive statement is followed by these words:
"That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it  is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

Again, the rhetoric is clearly political, and the institutions involved are  governmental, not religious! There is no reference to God. Enough said! Right, Mr Glenn Beck? Got the message... that you are wrong!? Or are you looking for some clues and forms of divine intervention?

Gerhard A. Fuerst

We understand that Glenn Beck has not responded to Mr. Fuerst's letters. — Ed.

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