It is only fair: after asking Glenn Beck to consider being quiet (see this post), I would be remiss to not commend him for his recent pledge of nonviolence, and his call for his listeners and viewers to consider joining him in the pledge. (He also presented a Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities, which references similar values.) Once again,as with many on the right, Beck’s pledge contains an interesting claim to be continuing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s mission (though not all of it, of course, as I commented on here). Still, voices from the non-violent community are already questioning Beck’s sincerity. Writing at the Sojourners blog, Eric Stoner comments:
My problem isn’t generally with the words here, but with his interpretation and implementation of them. While I wasn’t ever an avid watcher of his television show and have never listened to his radio program, the little that I do catch regularly violates this pledge and declaration.
If he really seeks to “defeat the forces of evil not by sword, but through our love for mankind and his creator,” then how can he support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or any war for that matter?
And if he really wants to direct his “attack against the forces of evil, not against the individuals propelling those forces,” why go to the blackboard and rail against George Soros and others in the progressive world as villains who are destroying the world? While we differ on who is propelling those “forces of evil,” his approach is not exactly going after the system rather than the people in the system.
As for the declaration, if he were to take these “responsibilities” seriously, then there could be no demonization of Islam or Muslims on his shows, he would speak out against Guantanamo, and he would work diligently to take care of the homeless and poor. Maybe he’s volunteering at the Catholic Worker on the weekends — or building shelters and food banks with his fortune — but somehow I doubt it.
That said, I’m glad he’s talking about nonviolence in a positive light and calling on his listeners to take these ideas seriously. We should do what we can to hold him to his word and to push his followers to take this pledge and declaration to heart, even if Beck isn’t exactly leading by example.
I would join Stoner in his appeal for Beck to be a man of his word. I hope this is a sign of some real change to come, and pray that Beck will live up to his words. He can certainly continue to believe strongly and do this, as he says in his pledge. I pray that a new age of civility, on both sides will soon begin so that the violent language and violent actions can end, and true cooperation and understanding can flourish.