By Their (Conservative) Fruits You Shall Know Them: Conservative Christians Use Liberal Arguments to Defend Association with Glenn Beck

An article on CNN’s religion blog mentions some arguments and explanations used by conservative Evangelical Christians to defend their support of, or association with, Glenn Beck, who is a Mormon.

What struck me most, and made it seem worth sharing, is that the arguments in question are ones that have been used for a very long time – by Liberal, Progressive, social-justice, inclusivist, and any number of other strands of Christianity that conservatives usually denegrate. Just look at this excerpt:

Many conservative evangelical activists argue that evangelicals and Mormons should set aside theological differences to partner on moral and political issues.

“For Christians concerned about Glenn’s faith, I would ask the following questions: What fruit do you see produced by Glenn?” David Barton, an influential evangelical activist who is joining Beck’s rally, wrote on his Facebook page recently. “Good or bad? If you judged Glenn only by the fruits he has produced, would you still hold concerns over his faith?”

“Christians concerned about Glenn’s faith should judge the tree by its fruits, not its labels,” Barton, a former Republican National Committee consultant, continued. “After all, Nancy Pelosi and Bill Clinton openly call themselves Christians… Although these individuals have the right labels, they have the wrong fruits.”

It seems so strange to read an argument like this, which sounds so much like the emphasis of many progressives – that doctrine matters less than practice – only in reverse, or at least in favor of a very different sort of practice.
While other conservative Evangelicals who were interviewed emphasized that they would not “unite spiritually” with Beck because of important doctrinal differences, the article shows that for at least some people who self-identify as conservative Christians, the first part of that label is what really matters the most to them.

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  • And what are the fruits? Bearing false witness among others?

  • stephen

    The only fruit I can see is a big deposit in Glenn Beck's bank account. P.T. Barnum lives and he has a show on FOX news.

  • Gary H.

    The few times I've listened to Beck, I can't make any sense out of him. Doesn't like social justice, and presidents like Wilson, FDR, and Teddy. Uses Wallbuilders to revise history, and masquerades as a history expert. But as far as I know, doesn't say get rid of social security and medicare (since he'd lose listener support). Doesn't like big government, but thinks all those rich people will "take care of" the poor and the old people. Just like the industrialists took care of children, as they worked in their sweat shops during the industrial revolution. I don't particularly like big government, but I doubt that the rich will "take care of" anyone. And the churches certainly can't perform the "social justice" function. Beck is an ex disk jockey, and now multi-millionaire, into self-promotion only, with a "let them eat cake" attitude for the poor.

  • Fruits… that describes the Glenn Beck crowd politely enough. Amazing that Barton can make the claims of who is and who isn't a Christian, not based on anything else except that they agree with him.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, to burst your liberal bubble but you all are wrong

  • Glen Beck is an opportunist,who loves money and glory. Beck uses God for his own egoistic needs. WHAT IS MORE SHAMEFUL IS THAT HE HAS A HUGE FOLLOWING OF AMERICAN SHEEP THAT HELP LINE HIS POCKET AND SPREAD HALF TRUTHS AND HATRED. The fruits of his ego are forever rippened. Francesco Sestito Toronto Ontario Farncesco Sestito Toronto Ont