Glenn Beck and his buddy David Barton engaged in a verbal circle jerk Wednesday night and, as Right Wing Watch reported, Glenn Beck exclaimed that the Bible tells us “Everything we’re supposed to know” about politics.
“We disconnect this [the Bible] from politics [but] this gives us everything that we’re supposed to know,” crowed Beck, infamous already for his delusions on a number of subjects – like when he said just the other day that everything God warned him about is now happening (I will go out on a limb here and assume that God told him he would write really awful books and say a lot of stupid things).
If you have a strong stomach, you can take a gander courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
The Bible’s politics are all theocracy and monarchy. There is no freedom of religion in the Bible. Religion in the Bible is of the “Believe or else” variety, as the Old Testament amply demonstrates.
And here is what the Bible teaches about politics: When possible, you have a king, answerable to God. When you have no king, you have a country directly ruled by God, in other words, but a bunch of men (men only, mind you) who claim to speak for God.
Sounds great, huh?
Yeah, not so much. And as political systems go, it didn’t do Israel a lot of good in the ancient world. Israel does much better now, you might have noticed, without kings and high priests, and with the recognition that it is a friendly super power rather than God that guarantees their continued existence.
David Barton has always claimed that our political institutions derive directly from the Bible, which is patently untrue, along with everything else he says. The man is a habitual liar with delusions of grandeur.
Barton, like so many other conservatives, simply makes it up as he goes along, paying little or no attention to actual history. Barton’s version of history can best be described as a historical novelist’s approach: he takes historical characters and creates stories about them.
History, for David Barton, is, at best, as in Hollywood, inspired by real events, as he showed with his novel about Thomas Jefferson. The same is true of Glenn Beck, who took a famous radical liberal, Tom Paine, and turned him into a raving Tea Bagger.
In fact, we have already seen in Michigan what Biblical politics give us: The Mayor of Warden, Michigan, refuses to allow an atheist “Reason Station” inside City Hall because it would upset Christians visiting the “Prayer Station” that the First Amendment says should not be there in the first place.
Or in Oklahoma, where a Ten Commandments monument was placed on the grounds of the Oklahoma Capitol in 2012. A Satanic group wants to place a statue of Baphomet, which was not, by the way, originally to be equated with Satan except in the imagination of the Inquisition and later adoption (via Christianity, apparently) by the Church of Satan.
Many Christians don’t want Baphomet there, but since the Constitution forbids establishment of a state religion (which is to what the Ten Commandment monument amounts) the State of Oklahoma must allow expressions of other beliefs.
Conservative Christians don’t see it this way, of course, and the ACLU is having to sue to have the Ten Commandments removed. It doesn’t matter, you see, since according to the Bible, whether those of other or no religion are offended by what Christians do. Everything is skewed in favor of the privileged group: the so-called Believers. They have a right to bring their religion into the public sector, and into the private sector as well. Nobody else gets the same privilege. Even their corporations can have religion while individuals who are not Christian cannot.
That’s the political lesson of the Bible, which is, after all, based on the idea that there is only one God and only one true religion. As scholar Gerd Lüdemann has argued, that sort of thinking is incompatible with the ideals of a modern liberal democracy. You literally cannot both support the Bible and the Constitution when it comes to these issues. One has to stand above the other, and in this country, the Founding Fathers gave pride of place to the Constitution, which tellingly fails to mention God, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, or Jesus.
Since this is a not congenial yet very obvious fact, the Bartons of the world must pretend that the connection is there anyway, even though it obviously is not. The base is more than happy to go along with these flights of fantasy because it reinforces their preconceived notions and their belief – in other words, that they have not made a catastrophic decision by listening to their pastors.
Bless their square little heads: It will be a lot easier for them when they have the right, once again, to forcibly convert the rest of us. Even one doubter is one doubter too many, after all, as the Inquisition showed.
All you have to do to go along with any of this is be a) catastrophically stupid, or, b) egregiously dishonest. The best thing to do is to actually read the Bible in the context of a Bronze Age people adopting a foreign religion and persecuting their own gods and their believers out of existence and later, of a people under foreign dominion who (some of them) yearn for God to come down and smite the foreigners and put Israel on top.
The Religious Right doesn’t like context any more than it does facts so that solution is a non-starter. Another is to recognize that the Constitution, not the Bible, is the law of the land, but they can’t do this either, since for them, the Bible must come first. Thus the insistence that the Bible and the Constitution are really indistinguishable, even though they don’t agree at all, which brings us full circle(jerk) back to a delusional Glenn Beck and a dishonest David Barton.
You literally cannot invent this stuff.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.