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Aug-29-2010 13:18printcomments

Message to Glenn Beck Christians Regarding the Holy Land

If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twenty-first century.

Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck speaks at the Restoring Honor rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, August 28, 2010. Credit: CBS

(CLERMONT, Fla.) - On 8/28/10 Glenn Beck announced that "America today begins to turn back to God" at his "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial.

Beck caused me to recall Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" a scalding critique of American Christianity that King addressed to his "Dear Fellow Clergymen".

Inspired by Beck and the "fierce urgency of now" for "direct talks" between Israel and Palestine are scheduled to begin September 2, 2010; and after 20 months of inertia, a new start begins to "resolve all final-status issues...in one year."

And so, I have taken a few liberties with King's masterpiece by adding a few words of mine in bold:

I am on the internet because injustice can be expressed here. I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in comfort and not be concerned about what happens in Israel Palestine.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives in the world can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; examining one's motives and acting on conscience with direct action.

Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.

Too long has The Peace Process been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. We must come to see that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

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."

A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.

Segregation [Translates to Apartheid in Afrikaner] distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things.

Hence segregation; apartheid, conscription and military occupation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound; it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness?

An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and it was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany.

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever and if repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. [End of Letter from Birmingham Jail]

In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, King reminded his fellow clergymen that Jesus was an extremist for love who taught his follower's to "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."

King recalled to his fellow clerics that the Hebrew prophet Amos was an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream."

King behooves us all to recall the extreme vision of Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine:

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal"

"Soon after I had published the pamphlet "Common Sense" [on Feb. 14, 1776] in America, I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion... The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."-Tom Paine

The world is pulled to change by extremism and our only dilemma is what will we be extremists for? Hate or love? God or State? The preservation of injustice or the extension of justice; equal human rights?

The clinging to the status quo is a form of extremism for all around US are the deep groans from the oppressed, as King addressed from his jail cell:

Few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. Too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.

There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."'

Small in number, they were big in commitment and by their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.

If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twenty-first century.

King wondered if organized religion was too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world. He knew that "Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death."

We who claim to be Christian are called to love our enemies and that the daughters and sons of God are the peacemakers. The last words Jesus spoke to his follower's before his martyrdom was to "put down the sword" and his first words after his resurrection was "peace be with you."

During one of my seven trips to occupied Palestine since 2005, Mohammad Alatar, film producer of “The Ironwall” addressed my group on an Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions tour through Jerusalem and to the village of Anata and the Shufat refugee camp, in the very area where the prophet Jeremiah in the 6th century B.C. critiqued the violent conflicts in the Mid East, which were already old news: “I hear violence and destruction in the city, sickness and wounds are all I see.” [Jeremiah 6:7]

After we broke bread and ate a typical Palestinian feast prepared by the Arabiya family in the Arabyia Peace Center, Mohammad Alatar said, “I am a Muslim Palestinian American and when my son asked me who my hero was I took three days to think about it. I told him my hero is Jesus, because he took a stand and he died for it. What really needs to be done is for the churches to be like Jesus; to challenge the Israeli occupation and address the apartheid practices as moral issues. Even if every church divested and boycotted Israel it would not harm Israel. After the USA and Russia, Israel is the third largest arms exporter in the world. It is a moral issue that the churches must address.”

While he lived the FBI placed wiretaps on Reverend King's home and office phones and bugged his hotel rooms throughout the country. By 1967, King had become the country's most prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, and a staunch critic of U.S. foreign policy which he deemed militaristic. In his "Beyond Vietnam" speech delivered at New York's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 [a year to the day before he was murdered] King called the United States "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today." In 1986 the federal government 'honored' King with a national holiday.


Eileen Fleming is the Producer of "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu" Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org, Eileen is a Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com, Author of "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory" and the soon to be released "BEYOND NUCLEAR: Some of my Experiences of Mordechai Vanunu and the Holy Land: 2005-2010" youtube.com/user/eileenfleming. Eileen is a unique leader in her state and she intends to run for a Florida Congressional seat in the future, to help speed the process of change that is so demanded today. Like many who walk in similar steps, Eileen, like other writers at Salem-News.com, is an outspoken advocate for humanity and she has no tolerance for the oppressive forces of the world.

You can send Eileen Fleming an email at this address: ecumei@gmail.com




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Paul September 21, 2010 9:14 am (Pacific time)

Utah Woman Accuses Mormon Prophet Of Attempted Rape! http://thomas-monson.blogspot.com/2010/09/gayle-smith-accuses-mormon-prophet-of.html


Piper August 29, 2010 6:30 pm (Pacific time)

Anonymous how do you compare Jihad from Sharia Law with Mormon teachings? Which is more cult-like? Which has a documented history with extreme violence throughout the world? I could care less about Beck or Palin, but if they were prevented from speaking their minds, now that would be a true threat. They are not tools, just people who have strong opinions, and millions (growing quickly) share those opinions with them. That's what America is all about. The current administration has not been honest with what they campaigned on and people want them removed from power asap. This happens all the time in the history of America, it's just that with our immediate communications ability, it's more intense. This is democracy in action.


Anonymous August 29, 2010 2:10 pm (Pacific time)

I posted this on www.whatreallyhappened.com, and posting it here as well. Glenn Beck is moron...I mean..mormon, and in my opinion are a cult. Glenn Beck is the master snake oils salesman, he deserves a nobel prize along with Al of the Gore. A 'profit' (prophet) came to Joseph Smith in the 1800's.. lol Glenn Beck is an addict, and I dont mean like me, who needs 4 beers most everyday. I mean major abuse out of control. He traded one addiction for the other. If you study the true mormon belief system,it is not like true Christianity at all. Their are many documented discrepancies, and have changed their belief system over the decades to fit in better with society. And now, using beck to distort it even more. True Christianity, which has been used and abused, and has almost been eliminated from this country, know that Palestinians are most likely descendants of Christ, and true Christianity knows those who run Israel at this time are not jews but seeds of not so good stuff. Altho the founding fathers had many faults, I believe the Constitution was written with a foundation of true Christianity. That is why the evil people want true Christianity, and the Constitution eliminated. A true Christian, with Constitutional values are their worst enemy. Glenn Beck wants the Constitution?? Then why did he say to arrest Ron Paul supporters, when Ron Paul is the CHAMPION OF THE CONSTITUTION? Why did he not defend Ron Paul when the MIAC report came out?? yeesh. But, someday, the tares will be separated from the wheat. And it wont come from violence in the Christians part, although, I will defend myself and my family if threatened with torture, death, or ill will of my family. Those are my lines I draw in the sand. And the god, glen wants you to pray to, is not the Creator, he is the one causing all the hate, death and destruction. Glenn beck and sarah palin are tools to keep the unknowing, so called christians, to keep fighting the muslims, therefore, keeping the military industrial complex a mighty power. period.

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