Last night, Lawrence O’Donnell ripped into Glenn Beck and Christianity while setting the record straight on Thomas Jefferson:
The transcript below is adapted from the MSNBC website and may not be verbatim:
I’ve gotten to Beck as no one has before, thrown him off his game by going where none of his television critics have gone before. To his preaching, to the religious components of his fact-free presentations on FOX News and his radio show.
This, Beck cannot abide because Beck has enjoyed the convention that we must never talk about another person’s religious beliefs. That convention is most strictly observed by people who know the least about religion. The more religious education you have, the less trained you are to observe a phony zone of sanctity around this subject. With 12 years of formal religious education behind me, in which matters of doctrine and faith were debated religiously by nuns and priests, I don’t have the fear Beck thrives on, the political media’s fear of discussing religion. Without that collective media fear, Beck’s act would have collapsed a long time ago.
Beck has been telling his audience the breakdown of the nuclear reactors in Japan may be signaling the end of the world. he said ‘I don’t know if this is the end of the world.’ He is now enraged that I have told you the truth, that it is not the end of the world, that I know it’s not the end of the world. He’s enraged I would dare to suggest that the Book of Revelation has nothing to do with what is going on in Japan or in the world today, and that I know it has nothing to do with it. He is much more enraged that I have said good and thoughtful Christians do not believe the Book of Revelation, just as no good and thoughtful Christian literally believes everything in the Bible.…
… Though Beck is constantly citing the genius of the founding fathers, he will never tell you that one of those geniuses, Thomas Jefferson, considered the Book of Revelation, ‘merely the ravings of a maniac no more worthy of explanation than the incoherences of our nightly dreams.’ Jefferson went on to say ‘I do not consider them as revelations of the supreme being, whom I would not so far blaspheme as to impute to him a pretension of revelation, couched at the same time in terms which he would know were never to be understood by those to whom they were addressed.’
… That’s how wide opinion is on the Book of Revelation. I called it a work of fiction. Jefferson called it blasphemy. Beck calls it the word of God.
O’Donnell talks about Beck’s viewers, but I think a good portion of that holds true for church-goers in general. The longer you attend church, the harder it is for you to call pastors out on their bullshit, even when you know they’re lying.
That’s why you rarely hear stories about people questioning what the pastor said or challenging him on his literal interpretation of the Bible.
It takes someone outside that system to ask the tough questions. To shake you up. To challenge you to the point where you have no alternative but to accept that you’ve been taught a lie.
This is why religious dogma is something we must fight against. We have to help Christians discern between what’s actually true and what their Bible actually says. When you’re in the Church Zone, you can’t always tell that there’s a difference and churches are betting on that haziness.