Burning Bosom

Theology, History, Culture, Politics & Life from a LDS (Mormon) Perspective

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So You Think Romney Gives Mormons A Bad Name . . .

Posted by Shawn L on January 4, 2008

Ol’ Brother Romney has nothing on Glenn Beck, CNN’s conservative windbag.*  Don’t believe me?  Then check out this video, released today, in which Beck rambles on (and on and on) about his recent medical scare.  If he was not on some serious medication at the time of taping, he should starting taking something immediately.  My issue with Beck (and his ilk), however, runs deeper.

Generally speaking, I have no patience whatsoever for the seemingly endless parade of talking heads on either side of the political spectrum.  They contribute virtually nothing to the political dialogue, serving only to drive wedges among the population in hopes of lining their own pockets.  I find the whole affair distasteful. For my money, Beck is one of the worst offenders (topped only by the High Priestess of Evil, Ann Coulter).  He has built his career by spewing the most hateful rhetoric possible, usually against groups who are not in a position to defend themselves (don’t even get be started about his take on immigration). 

But my disappointment with Beck is not really based in political differences — the TV is full of folks with whom I (often violently) disagree.   It’s just that I expect more from Beck because he’s “one of us.”  Yes, I know that is an unfair cross for him to bear, but I can’t help it.   Don’t get me wrong — I do not need (or want) Beck to be an unofficial spokesman for the Church on any subject, doctrinal or otherwise.  Romney has already fumbled that particular football enough times for my taste.  However, I do find myself hoping (often against hope) that the more prominent amongst our ranks act in a more Christian manner.

What says you?  Am I just being a overly-critical liberal here?  What, if anything, should we members expect from our famous brothers and sisters?

*Yes, Glenn Beck is a real, honest-to-goodness Mormon.  No, Steve Martin is still not (yet) amongst the ranks.   

7 Responses to “So You Think Romney Gives Mormons A Bad Name . . .”

  1. Andrew said

    I am a recovering conservative Republican, now registered as an independent (technically DNS in CA), who used to devour all of the political talking-head shows. But I tuned out all of that a few years ago for the same reasons you identify. Civil discourse is gone. Political jousters used to play the role of loving critics, but now we seem to only have pundits who uncritically love their own side while unlovingly criticizing the other.

    I don’t know much of anything about Glenn Beck for the reasons stated above, but I have noticed an unfortunate amount of intolerance among our ranks as members of the Church. I see this as a problem with Mormon culture, rather than Mormon doctrine. Thankfully, our Church leaders are teaching us to abandon that intolerance. See Elder Ballard’s General Conference entitled “Doctrine of Inclusion” in the Nov. 2001 Ensign. Hopefully that message will continue to sink in over time.

    It seems we Mormons jumped in bed with the “religious right” many years back. But now that we see how intolerant many of them are toward Mormons, maybe more of us will re-think whether we’ve been joining arms with the right folks. I can’t see myself ever voting for a liberal, but I’m sick of these conservatives who have all the money in the world for war, but claim their pockets are empty when it comes to spending money on people. I wish there was a third party, but Nader and whoever the Libertarian guy is don’t do it for me.

  2. As one who is still neck-deep among the conservative Republicans, I have to agree with a lot with what is said here.

    While I think Mormons should live to a higher standard, it’s not a Mormon problem. Incivility is human nature.

    I like some talk radio but cringe at a lot of it too. I’ve wanted to like Beck but like Hannity, they seem to spout off a lot of talking points and attacks without much thought or substance. So I find it unfortunate that he is becoming successful and better known as an LDS talk-show host.

    Instead if saying Mormons jumped in bed with the “religious right” I’d put it as the secular left pushed them away.

  3. Andrew said

    Dave, good point about the left pushing us away. It’s like Nibley said, one of the devil’s most clever tricks is to try to force us to choose between two evils–capitalism or communism, Iran or Iraq, and I’d say liberal or conservative–and fool us into thinking we’ve aligned ourselves with the “good” side.

  4. Shawn L said

    I think that, in an urge to blast the right-wingers amongst us*, I may have buried the real point of my post. Politics aside, just what should we expect from celebrity Mormons? Should we ask more of them than others? Let’s try it another way. In my stake lives a former athlete (you would probably know his name, so I’ll keep it anonymous). In real life, he’s a super guy, loves his family, is active in the Church, etc. But what if, in a television interview, he made comments (a la Fuzzy Zoeller) that betrayed a less-than-Christian attitude towards African-Americans. I hold no quarter for such things, but is it fair of me to be doubly angry (and, hence, less likely to forgive) because the offender is LDS?

    *Oh I can’t help myself . . . I am always floored by the enthusiasm of Mormons to jump into the proverbial bed with the religious right. Don’t forget, these are the same folks who, every Sunday morning, teach that we are cult members who are all going straight down the eternal crapper. Be wary, my friends.

  5. jonathanhebacon said

    My thoughts (based on Shawn’s latest comment), we should absolutely expect more out of our religious celebrities. Not because they want it, or can handle it, but because they are in a position to do so. Where much is given… you know the rest. As LDS, especially when others know it, we are watched. Mitt knows it. Glen knows it. I know it from my own experience with friends who are not LDS.

    Thought for Shawn though, by throwing your conservative LDS friends under the bus for essentially sleeping with the enemy, are you not in essence doing the same thing that Glen, or any other “talking head” does?

  6. Shawn L said

    Fair point, Jonathan. In my defense, though, while I often disagree with Republicans, I believe they have just as much right as I do to spout off about their opinions. As they say, some of my closest friends are conservatives! But you’re right, no matter how confident I feel in my beliefs, if I use the same bullying tactics as Brother Beck, then I am no better than him.

  7. Shawn L said

    In the interest of fairness, here’s a bit of redemption for ol’ Brother Beck:

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