Saturday, August 28, 2010

Restoring Honor- My unexpected day at the Glenn Beck Rally.

In recent years I have become more firmly set in my political ways, and in doing so have moved myself even further away from any defined political party. I do not choose to affiliate myself with any person or party that makes a practice of anger and finger pointing. My politics are those of charity and kindness. I do not believe in heavy regulations, big government, or rules for every thing. I call my politics those of Joseph Smith’s, “I teach men correct principles and let them govern themselves.” I believe in punishments for those that hurt others or the public at large. I believe in the Constitution and the words of the Founding Fathers, and in very little else.

A very small portion of the "tens of thousands" that some media are reporting attended.

I was invited by a relative to join her at the “Glenn Beck Rally” in Washington, DC. Not necessarily being a supporter of Mr. Beck or his style of “shock conservative politics,” I was hesitant to accept. But after a few days of considering the invitation, I came to the conclusion that no matter what was said or how many gathered for this event, it would be historic. It would be the first time in history that there would be little to know possibility of accurate, unbiased, and honest media coverage. I felt that Fox News would naturally be overly positive, as it was their event. And the remaining media has nothing to gain from admitting the possible success of a rival.

We had excellent seats, thanks to some cousins who slept there overnight, right up at the front!
I expected to be attending a highly divisive political rally, what I hadn't expected was a religious revival. I expected to hear words of anger and hate pointed at the opposing political parties. Instead, what I heard was a call to turn out hearts to God, to bring faith, hope, and charity back to America. I witnessed tributes to the military unparalleled in my lifetime.
“We must restore honor by restoring heroes for our children to look up to.” – Glenn Beck. 
I have been shocked as I have returned home to read comments on Facebook, Twitter, and news reports. One news article described the event as having “political overtones,” further proving that it is now considered to be a political statement to choose to be religious.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.  
One friend proudly boasted that instead of watching the event with his children, he showed them the original Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have a dream” speech, delivered 47 years ago in the same location as today’s “Restoring Honor” assembly. By choosing to turn his back on the event, rather than approach it with an open mind, he and his children missed the opportunity to see Dr. King’s niece, Alveda King, pay tribute to her uncle, quoting him frequently, and call for national unity. Also, they missed the beautiful performance of the “King Singers.”
Obligatory self-portrait. And yet again, I'm wearing a hat and still sunburned.
In a time and place where the country is emotionally divided over the location of a place of worship in New York City, I find great comfort that a gathering of nearly half a million people was lead in prayer, addressed by leaders of many faiths, and closed in prayer. A call for a “return to God” was issued to those listening.
Medals were given in the names of Faith, Hope, and Charity. The Faith Medal was presented by Chief Nigel Big Pond (my apologies for possibly getting his name wrong) to Pastor CL Jackson of Houston, Texas (  Pastor Jackson invited Americans to become “covenant warriors in Christ.”
Albert Pujos
The value of Hope was described as the parent of both faith and charity. The medal for Hope was presented by St Louis Cardinals Manager Tony Larusso to player Albert Pujos. Pujos is actively involved with providing aid and assistance to those in his community, family, and in his native country of Dominican Republic.
Chief Justice Raoul Gonzales
The Charity Medal was presented by retired Texas Supreme Court Justice Raoul Gonzales to John Huntsman, Sr, for his considerable donations. Huntsman was unable to attend the ceremony, choosing instead to attend the wedding of his granddaughter being held at that exact same moment (this announcement received great applause from the audience).  The medal was accepted on his behalf by Emma Houston, a breast cancer survivor who was treated at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. She is of African-American descent.  In her acceptance speech she quoted, “This is the day the Lord hath made and we shall rejoice.”
I bring up Ms. Houston’s race, for one reason only. Of the three presenters and three recipients, there were only two Caucasians. Additionally, representatives of the Native American community assisted in the opening prayer, there was an African American choir, as well as peoples of other backgrounds participating. This event was largely diverse in race and religion. And yet, I saw a quip on Twitter that the rally was a “white supremacist” gathering.
The 240 religious leaders take the stage.
As I have read through the mainstream media coverage of the event, I have not found one mention of the medals or of the recipients. I have also not found one mention of the 240 religious and community leaders that took the stage.
“Mankind are all of a family.” – Benjamin Franklin
Look closely to see the snipers on top of the Lincoln. Glenn Beck was also obviously wearing a kevlar vest under his shirt.
I did not hear one call for “political” action. Unless you consider pleas for God to be the leader, and to bring the values of Faith, Hope, and Charity back to America, “political activity.” I was not told who to vote for. I was not even told who might be running for office. I was encouraged to turn my heart to God. I saw the military given an overdue tribute.

I have saved my favorite part of the event for last. In his closing speech, Mr. Beck asked who would be the next George Washington? Who would be the next Abraham Lincoln? Where is the John Adams and Thomas Jefferson of today? This got me to thinking. Are the political pundits like David Broder or George Will our new thought leaders? Has God left us without leaders we can look to as Americans once looked to President Washington or President Lincoln? Were politics as divisive and insulting then as they can be now? Would political parties be as offensive to each other then as we allow them to behave now? I do not have an educated answer, but my gut tells me no, that the parties likely acted with far more decorum and respect in the past than they have ever considered to do so now.
But the question remains, would God leave us without a leader? I believe we have a prophet on the earth today. So why would God leave us without other leaders? We have not had such inspirational leadership in over 100 years. Maybe that is because we have spent the better part of the past 100 years making sure our values and religious beliefs were removed from politics?
I left the event uplifted and educated. I am more firm in my personal political beliefs than ever before. None of my opinions on politics changed today. However, I have opened my mind to new hope that it is possible to bring the values of Faith, Hope, and Charity back to the core of governance of this country.  And if that is politically divisive, I’ll firmly stand on the “right” side.


  1. It was FABULOUS! I am so glad you came. It was so inspirational and I got goosebumps several times.

  2. Great to hear how it went. I dropped off my brothers, but came home and ran on the treadmill watching part of the event. Got to see it up close and the news didn't show how many people were actualy there because it was so focused on the speakers.

    Nice post!

  3. I'm glad you were able to go. I was able to catch it by watching on C-SPAN's website archived videos. I like Glenn and believe him to be honest. However, I have found he doesn't always fact check and often presents one side of the story (often because people have already been taught the other side).

    Saturday was different. It was about turning to God, as I'm sure he learned about as he struggled through the 12-steps of AA. And while his ego showed itself several times, he was also honest about what he believes Americans must do and that he is an imperfect messenger.

    I recently listened to "What Kind of Nation?" by James Simon which discussed the history of John Marshall and Thomas Jefferson. It includes some of the history of U.S. partisan politics. Based on the sources cited, my perspective is that every major newspaper supported either the Whig or Democratic-Republican parties. The attacks quoted are extremely venomous and compare to the most extreme comments form today's partisan media.

  4. Loved your post, Erin. History runs in cycles, and yes, politics has been this venomous a few times in our history. These times have always been followed by major upheaval and changes in American society. We are currently looking for the next Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln, etc. because they will be sorely needed in the years to come. As a teacher, I only hope that all school children are at least taught who these men are and why they should be our heroes. They put country first and self last - Washington and Adams almost never saw their wives or children for 5-10 years while they were setting up this great country. If "we" will focus on teaching "our" children these sorts of priorities, all will be turn out for the best in the end.

  5. I'm glad you posted this. I was hoping to hear how this event went from a "real" person, because, like you said, I knew the news media wouldn't get it right!...either side!

  6. Anonymous2:44 PM

    Sisty Ugler here,

    I had not heard about the awards. I didn't know the rally didn't promote certain political leaders. I have heard a lot of criticism about having the rally on the same anniversary day as MLK's speech. I did not know tributes were indeed made to him at the rally. Next time, whoever cares about the anniversary should reserve that space ahead of time. Morons. Thank you for setting the record straight. I am so tired of politics, especially the ridiculous finger pointing that democrats and republicans do. (I saw footage of the protestors to the rally and all the footage was closeup - making their numbers appear numerous, but no footage of the entire 300,000 + crowd)


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