Glenn Beck has repeatedly attacked people like Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson for going to places where there is civil unrest. In Beck’s eyes, these people don’t help the situation; they add tot he problems of a community that is already suffering as it deals with some recent tragedy. If you listen regularly, you have no doubt heard Beck telling his audience that we must stop worrying about our interests and start standing on our principles. Then he goes and destroys any good he may have done by acting like a hypocrite and going to Charleston after this most recent shooting. Yes, sadly, his visit is hypocrisy, and if you give me a moment, I believe I can explain it so even Mr. Beck will see it.
OK, let’s start by openly admitting that Beck and his team are trying to do something good for the people of Charleston. They are trying to show love and support for the community. But do we really think that Sharpton and Jackson and the rest of those who go to places where events like this happen think they are going to cause trouble? Or do we have the decency to admit that Sharpton and Jackson believe they are trying to help, too? I will no longer tell another person what they believe in their heart, so I am going to grant that people on all sides believe they are trying to help. This is the intention on all sides: to help.
Now is when we look to see whether or not these people actually help. In Sharpton and Jackson’s case, they do not help because their actions are geared toward causing hatred. They cause hatred between the races (ignoring the countless white who have fought and died for the cause of black liberty in this nation). They also cause hatred toward the police and government: the very people to whom we all look to maintain peace and enforce the law. So Sharpton and Jackson and the like may believe they are helping, but they are not. Beck is correct: in reality, they are furthering their personal interests, not a principle. This can be seen in the fact that these people stay in the headlines and earn a great deal of money by doing what they do. None of it helps the situation — none.
But is Beck any different? He knows that he is a polarizing figure. He knows that, even if he doesn’t say a word, his very presence will cause more unrest with certain parts of society. Beck also requires special security considerations. This is an added burden on a community that is already struggling to deal with a mass shooting. How is it “helping” to lay that on the community? Then there is the fact that Beck is using this in connection to his show today. This means he is making money off of the shooting — just like Jackson and Sharpton do off of these tragedies. Finally, as a Mormon, Beck believes he needs to do enough good deeds to earn his salvation, so going to Charleston to “help” is in his best interest, but not the principles he espouses.
When Beck attacks Sharpton and Jackson for going to places where tragedies have happened to cause trouble, he is espousing a principle: that we do not do anything to make matters worse. It is no different than when Beck remembers the times that a community suffered a natural disaster, but when D.C. sent help, the citizens met them and turned them back. Beck trumpets this as the way local communities rise to the occasion of tragedy. I agree with him: this is a principle. We can and should offer support to these communities, but we should not go there unless they ask for us to do so. Otherwise, we are not going to help, we are going for our own personal reasons and that, my dear reader, is serving our interest, not our principles.
This is by Beck’s own definition of interests vs. principles. It comes directly from the explanation he has repeatedly given on his show. So, by going to Charleston, Beck is not living his principles, he is actually serving his interests. By definition, that makes him a hypocrite. Why does that matter? Well, hypocrisy is a form of a lie. It shows your actions do not agree with your words, which means your heart — what you actually believe — does not match what you say. How many times have we heard political leaders or talk show hosts or news paper editors make that same accusation against their opponents? The implication is always that we should not listen to hypocrites because we cannot trust them. You see, hypocrisy destroys our credibility. Now, I am not going to claim we can avoid hypocrisy. None of us can, we are human and it is in our nature to be hypocrites (it’s related to sin and the struggle between our Spirit and our flesh). But it is something against which we should be constantly vigilant in our lives so we can guard our own credibility and reputations.
[NOTE: I happen to believe there is a role for certain leaders to go to Charleston, but those would be our Reverends, Priests and Pastors (real ones, not Sharpton). This is because, as men of God, they are tasked with teaching God’s Law and not with drawing attention to themselves. I also believe it is because our Church leaders have allowed the government to silence them that our nation is in the trouble it is. Hitler succeeded because the Church allowed itself to be silenced. If we do the same, we will follow Germany down the same road to evil — period!]