Glenn Beck Calls for Americans to Unite. Not So Fast, Atheists…

Glenn Beck of FOXNews wants to fix America and he needs your help. He wants all Americans to join together to watch his show next week, when he will explain how to take back the country:

021009unite1

He says this:

So, how do we show America what’s really behind the curtain? Below are nine simple principles. If you believe in at least seven of them, then we have something in common.

One’s already out of the question for most of us:

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.

So I’m already partly un-American to Beck. (Brother Richard‘s picture says it a bit more succinctly.) I don’t really mind the other 8 Principles though the use of the word “sacred” in number 4 is disturbing.

It doesn’t help that the “values” of Reverence and Humility are probably not applicable to atheists either, given Beck’s definitions of those words.

In any case, Beck wants to collect pictures of “real” Americans to display unity.

Richard offers this altered suggestion:

Beck wants us to send a digital version of your picture to: wesurroundthem@foxnews.com to show our support.

Please join me in emailing Beck and letting him know that his continued bigotry will not be tolerated. Also, feel free to send him a picture of you with something added to make it clear you are an nontheist.

Some ideas:

  • Send him a picture of you holding copy of Dawkin’s “God Delusion.”
  • Send him a picture holding the American Flag and wearing an atheist t-shirt.
  • Send him a picture of you holding an “Atheist Nexus” sign.

Will those pics change his mind? Of course not. But it’s never a bad thing to remind people that atheists are just as American as Christians.

  • http://www.godandstate.com LK

    I usually can’t sort the content from Glenn Beck because his “aw, shucks” manner of speaking drives me to watch anything else in the world, but now reading it, I can’t stop hearing his same condescending tone of voice.

    It sucks that I’m only capable of being 8/9ths American, but in Beck’s defense, he says you only need to agree with 7 out of 9 to qualify as “not being alone.”

    So I guess I’ll be welcomed with open arms? No?

    Here’s the one that got me:

    7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

    Notice that the 12 values that accompany the nine principles includes charity.

    So one of the most important values that we can have is “charity” but of the nine fundamental principles that we should also believe is that no one can force you to be charitable.

    I like the implied freedom by having a value and a principle contradict one another, but I don’t think that’s what he was going for.

  • Luther Weeks

    I think 4. and 5. cannot be true at the same time.

    I am also suspicious how someone can hold both 1. and (8. or 9.) at the same time.

    Maybe Glen only meets 7 himself.

    I also note that principles like 4., 8., and 9. sound to me like its about Uniting to overthrow the Government.

  • http://blueollie.wordpress.com ollie

    “Take America Back”? From whom? What an idiot.

    How about this: we took a big step toward taking America back by electing a smart, principled person as president. We can take the next step by banishing superstition from the mainstream of our public discussion.

  • Shane

    I disagree with the first 3 and a half, but I’m only Canadian so that’s probably about right.

    “I like the implied freedom by having a value and a principle contradict one another, but I don’t think that’s what he was going for.”

    That seems pretty weak to me. I don’t see a contradiction. I think you were just desperately looking for one.

  • http://themousesnest.blogspot.com Mouse

    4 and 8 also have contradictory issues. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority (OK, he probably doesn’t mean *my* spouse and me since we’re lesbians who were married in Canada, but anyway…) but then isn’t it also true for our son that “It is not un-American for [him] to disagree with authority”?

  • Miko

    1. America’s government is not as bad as the government of some other countries, but our politicians are working to rectify this.

    2. I don’t believe in a god. Even if I did, it would be no where near the center of my life. I also don’t capitalize the words “center” or “life” randomly.

    4. The family is not sacred. There is no ultimate authority, certainly not the government. We live in a cooperative society, in which reason, persuasion, and logical argument prevail. Any society which depends upon an “ultimate authority” to enforce cooperation is doomed to fail. Patriarchy (which I assume is what Beck means by “family,” despite the token nod to the spouse) is every bit as destructive to human liberty as coercive governance is.

    9. The government doesn’t work for me; in reality it works for large corporate interests. Which corporate interests are favored change when the majority party changes, but the principle applies to both Democrats and Republicans equally. As long as the federal budget is measured in the trillions, this will be the case. But if we’re looking at a hypothetical utopia, I’ll agree that to the extent that we should have a government, it should work for us.

    and minor quibbles on some of the others. So, broad agreement on only 5 or 6 out of 9, so I guess I’m out.

    So one of the most important values that we can have is “charity” but of the nine fundamental principles that we should also believe is that no one can force you to be charitable.

    This is also implied by the definition of the word “charitable.” Similar to how tolerance is a value (but notably not one of Beck’s) yet no one can force you to be tolerant. Our government has a long history of trying to make people “moral” (prohibition, etc.) and an equally long track record of failing at it. You can’t force people to be virtuous, even if you know what virtue is.

    I like the implied freedom by having a value and a principle contradict one another, but I don’t think that’s what he was going for.

    Beck has been moving in a libertarian direction over the last year or so (although he isn’t there yet), so he’s definitely intentionally setting up that dichotomy. In any event, there’s no contradiction. Indeed, as Arthur Brooks points out in his work Who Really Cares (which I don’t especially recommend and have some quibbles with the scholarship leading to some of the other conclusions), those who generally favor redistributionist policies are among the least charitable in America. More often that not, those who favor a massive government bureaucracy to enforce “charity” do so as an excuse to not be charitable themselves (cf. Joe Biden as a prime example), so it makes perfect sense that someone who holds up charity as a value would likewise oppose government-mandated “charity.”

  • PrimeNumbers

    I prefer Heinlein’s “Take back your government” to Beck’s.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    I have sent in a response and a photo. Though I’m sure it’ll be disregarded.

  • http://darwinsdagger.blogspot.com Darwin’s Dagger

    Glenn Beck is the answer to this question: who is dumber than Rush Limbaugh? I couldn’t care less what he thinks if I actively tried.

  • http://atheistnexus.org Brother Richard

    Hey all, if you do send pictures, please email them to me. I will post them on Atheist Nexus. atheistnexus @ gmail dot com.

  • http://aurorawalkingvacation.blogspot.com Paul

    8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.

    But when the Republicans were in power, it was un-American for liberals to disagree with authority or share their personal opinions…

  • Richard Wade

    Glenn Beck always uses himself as the standard for judging people’s morality and/or Americanism. Any opinion or behavior deviating from his own is less moral and less American. This self-centered naivete is almost childlike, which may explain his appeal to childlike adults who want their issues simple, black-and-white, and already decided by a parent-like authority figure such as God or a Republican President, whichever is available for comment at the time.

  • Robert Thille

    What an idiot. The “principles” are self contradictory.
    Number 4 says that my wife and I are the ultimate authority, but number 5 says that I have to pay the penalty if I break the law. Huh? Not to mention that if my wife and I are the ultimate authority, what need have we for God?
    Number 1 says (unqualified) that America is good. No matter what? What about when we descend into an Atheist & Socialist hell? Is America still good?
    I’m sure number 5 & 8 were included now that the Democrats are in power. I doubt he was pushing that line of thought in 2005.

  • http://humanism.meetup.com/164/ Steve Schlicht

    Hey Richard Wade!

    You’ll be please to know that I wholeheartedly agree with your post.

    Steve

  • http://humanism.meetup.com/164/ Steve Schlicht

    Hey, what does it mean to try to be a “more honest” person than I was yesterday?

    3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.

    Either one is honest or one is not honest.

    If one must always “try to be a more honest person” than yesterday, then isn’t one always dishonest while merely trying to be honest on principle?

    In my view, there is no sliding scale to honesty.

    I’m just an atheist, though, so what do I know.

    ;0)

  • http://blog.myspace.com/johnpritzlaff John Pritzlaff

    I would say if anything atheists are more American than Christians, given the history of our great country.

  • Richard Wade

    :D LOL Hi Steve, good to see you. I’m pleased to see your comments, agreement or not. :)

  • http://humanism.meetup.com/164/ Steve Schlicht

    It’s all good, RW!

    Hey, I kind of like 7, especially regarding the whole Office of Faith Based Initiatives and my tax dollars being used to support religious institutions.

    I’m not sure if that is what Glenn is on about though.

    Hrmmm…

  • Pingback: According to Glenn Beck, I am “taking America in” « Irresistible (Dis)Grace

  • Richard Wade

    In number 7, I think he’s talking about welfare. He doesn’t like being forced to keep people from starving. Poor guy, it must be awful to have to pay a little more tax and be deprived of the pleasure of flipping coins to begging kids.

    Since he’s being so theatrical, even Moses-like about his lofty Nine Principles one would think he’d at least get the grammar correct:

    7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

    “with who I want to”? Oh dear, somebody wasn’t paying attention in 5th grade. It’s “with whom I want” or “with whom I please” would be better.

    Beck could sell all his property, liquidate everything he has, take all that money to get an actual education and with great perseverance he might some day rise to the level of dork.

  • Adam

    1. America used to be good.

    2. I don’t believe in God and He is not the Center of my Life.

    3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday. OK, but maybe it should just say “Be Honest”

    4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government. OK, true, but since eminent domain keeps taking people’s property rights, do we really have any rights? Heck I can’t even order fats in some restaurants now

    5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it. OK, but out last couple sitting presidents have thought they were above it–both R’s and D’s.

    6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results. True, thus the American Dream

    7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable. Exactly, the government FORCING charity turns it into taxes and NOT charity

    8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion. We wouldn’t be our own country today if our forefathers hadn’t fought against the tyranny

    9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me. Thus the whole republic thing and not mob rule…It just sucks that pretty much all our representatives and most of the people in the U.S.A. are forgetting about the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence

  • AxeGrrl

    Shane……you’re “only” Canadian?

    can you clarify what that means?

  • Christophe Thill

    My quick comments :

    1. is absurd. It’s pure Bush-speak: there’s good and evil, good is good and the evil is not. On the face of it, it’s a tautology, but actually it’s a whole program of intolerance and closed-mindedness. A Marxist would call it “metaphysical thinking”. And from theere, there is a logical path towards a static view of the world, including the denial of evolution and the refusal of social progress.

    So let’s strike point 1 and replace it with “There’s some good and some bad in the USA [yes, America is a continent, did you know that?]. The good must be cultivated and the bad must be fought”.

    2. It’s a joke, right ?

    3. OK with me.

    4 and 5 are not compatible. Decide yourself. I’d tend to prefer 5. Otherwise, everyone makes their own law, and it’s the Wild West all over again.

    6. Yeah, OK. But “no garanty of equal results” doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t help those for who things get bad. Which of course means that those who do very, very well must help more than the others.

    7. That’s silly. It’s in the same league as “my health is my own business and the government can’t compel me to vaccine”. Ever heard about general interest? Anyway, if you want more of your tax money to be given to the army and less to education, just vote for those who propose so. It’s as simple as that.

    8. Sure !

    9. Good words.

    As for the values :
    Reverence is a behaviour, not a value. And it must be deserved.
    Hope… ?
    Strike charity and replace it with solidarity.
    Personal responsibility is tricky. It’s not bad in itself… until you use it to deny the weight of socio-economical determinations. Which is usually what it’s used for.

    Well, I’m not American anyway, so feel free to ignore my comments…

  • Reginald Selkirk

    5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

    Yes! It sounds like he’s going to push for prosecution of Bush and Cheney fro war crimes, and for Cheney and Rove for treason.

  • tim

    I think any Atheist’s opinion is as meaningless as his belief in God,therefore the waste of your life is as the waste of your opinion.The meaninglessness of your life is as the waste of my sparce time to endure a person who could disappeer into nothingness.An Atheist is as Nothingness,a piece of flesh that will rot in the ground,that is merely what you all are.Animals,not human.Now I’ve wasted approximately 5 minutes on small minds.

  • Pingback: A Few Thoughts on Beck’s 9 Principles

  • http://newref.blogspot.com/ James

    1. America is good. – NO.

    It can be dangerous to label a person, nation, or group simply as “good” or “evil.” Good is as good does. Only deeds should be judged as good or evil. Former President Bush tripling funds to combat AIDS in Africa is an example of a good action. Bush lying to invade Iraq and subsequently causing the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people is an example of an evil action. Most of the wrong done in the world has come from one nation or group of people labeling themselves as “good” and finding somebody different than them to label “evil.” It is the quickest path to discrimination, oppression, and genocide.

    2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life. – NO.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with America or government. America was founded as a free nation – a nation of liberty. You cannot be both a nation of freedom and liberty and a theocracy. Religion is a personal choice that has no place in government.

    If you want to see what happens when fundamentalist religion gets mixed up with politics look to further than the Taliban. To quote founding father Thomas Jefferson, “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.”

    3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday. – YES.

    4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government. – YES. BUT…

    The government has no place in deciding who is a family, or who can marry. At the time President Obama was born, it would have been illegal for his parents to have been wed in 16 of the states. In 1967 bigots said “Protect the sanctity of marriage: No interracial marriage.” In 2009 bigots of the same ilk say “Protect the sanctity of marriage: No gay marriage.” If you believe #4 is true, you must demand the government stop meddling in personal freedoms and grant the same civil rights to all.

    5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it. – NO.

    The law is not nor ever should be the decider of what is moral. Our understanding of law and morality evolve over time, and will continue to evolve. Slavery, condoned by even the Bible, was an important institution in our country from before its founding until the passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865. Who today would condemn those, like Harriet Tubman, who broke the law to assist escaped slaves before 1865? Martin Luther King spent many a night in prison for breaking laws that today we find offensive and revolting.

    In fact, it was from a jail cell in Birmingham that King wrote to his critics, defending his civil disobedience and open defiance of the law, saying, “One may ask: ‘How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?’ The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’”

    6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results. – YES. BUT…

    We must grand these rights to all people, not simply those who live within some invisible lines arbitrarily drawn on a map. Human rights are for all people, and it is hypocritical and selfish to say only Americans have these rights. People lived in North America long before there ever was a United States, and I’m sure people will inhabit North America long after the United States is nothing but an ancient relic – the lore of history books.

    The day I found inner peace was the day I stopped considering myself an American citizen, and started considering myself a neighbor, and brother, to all of humanity – and pledging to support all people to their right of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

    7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable. – NO.

    Call me a socialist, if you must, but at least call me a Biblical socialist. For that is where I have drawn my guidance on charity and social justice. The truth is we must pay taxes to fund civilization. Civilization should include roads, police, prisons, and fire fighters. It should include transit, arts, basic housing, food, and clothing, hospitals, and health care. Without adequate health care, for example, many live a shortened life – or a life in pain – in direct opposition to principal #6. Health care is a human right.

    Taxes should be about equal sacrifice, not equal percentage. If you don’t like funding civilization, you can join your ilk of Jim Jones or David Koresh in a remote compound somewhere. A nation is only as rich as its poorest citizens. I used to be a libertarian, until I found a heart and lost the greed.

    As Martin Luther King said, “A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”

    8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion. – YES.

    9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me. – YES.

    To quote V for Vendetta, People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

  • http://headline-news.care2.me Geren Galoy

    Beck told the crowd at his American Revival meeting in Salt Lake City that he’d been diagnosed with macular dystrophy.

  • Jonathan Rogers

    1. America is good. – Yes, these united States was founded to be a land of liberty and freedom. So long as these things are found here in any measure then America is good but it used to be great but hasn’t been so since about 1865.

    2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life. – NO.

    3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday. – YES.

    4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government. – Yes, when it comes down to matters within the family then the government has no place to dictate it’s internal behavior.

    5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it. – Yes. If you do something that is illegal then you accept the consequences of breaking that law.

    6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results. – Yes. It’s right there in the Decalaration of Independence. While humans in general have those rights it is not the business of the American government to provide those things for peoples in other nations..they will have to do that for themselves just as we did.

    7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable. – Yes. It is not within the Constitution for the federal government to redistribute wealth or provide welfare or health care for that matter. Americans have prospered when the government only did what is within it’s delegated power in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution..Americans have not prospered every time the federal government steps outside that delegated authority and essentially robbed people who have succeeded on their own merit to give to those who have not worked for it. Give a man a fish, you’ll feed him for a day..teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

    8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion. – YES.

    9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me. – YES.

    A couple quotes I liked, but can’t offhand remember who said them, but one is “when the government is afraid of it’s people there is liberty but when the people are afraid of their government there is tyranny.” and the other is “a government strong enough to give everyone everything they need is also strong enough to take everything you have.”.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X