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September 2, 2010

Column #1,514

Glenn Beck’s Revival at the Mall

by Mike McManus

                WASHINGTON - “This is a day that we can stir the hearts of America again.  It has nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with God and going back to the principles and values which made us great,” Fox News host Glenn Beck told 300,000+ on the Mall Saturday.

                Beck kept his word.  Obama’s name was not mentioned during the four-hour rally that was a combination of Christian Revival and Fourth of July “Restoring Honor” celebration of America’s veterans.  Beck requested people to bring no signs, which they honored.

                I attended as a reporter, and had a hard time finding a place to sit down. Want to see it? Go to GlennBeck.com.

                Beck was attacked by Al Sharpton for holding a Lincoln Memorial rally on the spot where Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech exactly 47 years earlier, assuming Beck’s Tea Party crowd would be racist.  But every time King’s name was mentioned, applause burst forth.

                In fact, part of his speech was aired, and one of the speakers was King’s niece, Dr. Alveda King, who lost both her father and uncle to Civil Rights killers. She thanked Beck for a rally focusing on “the content of our character and not the color of our skin,” and issued her own “I have a dream that white privilege will become human privilege..I have a dream that America will pray and God will forgive our sins and revive our land...”  Everyone stood as she spoke and she earned the biggest cheers.

                Beck was also attacked from the right by some Christians who noted correctly that he is a Mormon.  Yet he spoke not of Joseph Smith, but asked for a “40 day challenge, seeking faith hope and charity in your own life. Pray on your knees.  Recognize your place with the Creator. He is our King, and He is the one who guides and directs our life and protects us.

                “Pray on your knees with your door open, for your children to see. Let them see their father and mother humbled by God in prayer, because that which they gaze upon, they will become.”  The crowd burst into applause and cheers.

                Awards were presented to three people who exhibited Faith, Hope and Charity in their lives.

                Yes, Sarah Palin spoke -  not as a politician, but as the mother of an Iraq War veteran.  She gave awards to three battle-scarred veterans.

What was most memorable was Glenn Beck’s reminder: “We are standing amongst giants… Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson.”  He said the Reflecting Pond is intended for us to reflect upon the man who gave his life for everyone, Martin Luther King.”

                He challenged the crowd. “Do we Americans who live today, surrounded by giants, who gave their all, do we today say the experiment cannot work?  It does not end here. It shall not end in my generation or your generation.  It is up to us,” he cried, sparking applause.

                “America is at a crossroads. Today we must decide who we are, what is it that we believe.  We must advance or perish,” he said speaking extemporaneously, without teleprompter.

                He recalled that when the Jews were in bondage in Egypt, they prayed for a savior, “And a man shows up with a stick! But he had trust in the Lord,” as did Lincoln and Washington. “I can relate to Martin Luther King, because we have not yet carved him into marble. He is a man who made a difference.  What is it that these men have that you don’t? “

                Later in his 66 minute speech, Beck exclaimed, “I testify that one man can make a difference,” igniting cheers. “YOU can make a difference.  Don’t stand and look to someone else.  Look to yourself.  Pick up your stick and stand.”

                Beck read “American Scriptures,” the Gettysburg Address, carved in marble at the Lincoln Memorial.  He recited the last words of the Declaration of Independence:

                “…with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

                He asked what it means to pledge “our Lives, our Fortunes? “One generation must sacrifice for the next” if “our children are to have a sliver of what we have grown up in.”

                Sacred Honor?   You must tell the truth…There are no lies in your life.  I tell you this as a man whose whole life was a lie, a man who was on the floor in a fetal position” due to alcoholism.

                Glenn Beck is a vulnerable but inspiring man.

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