Glenn Beck: ‘The Government is the Devil’
Glenn Beck continues his string of loony, irresponsible, extremist statements by saying, “The government is the devil.”
From his May 5th radio show:
GLENN: No, did he say — go quote the scripture to your professor. Ask him, did Jesus say when a man asks for your shirt, you give the government your coat, also, and have the government give that coat to the man? No. The government is a middleman. The government is acting in the role of Lucifer. They are taking stuff from you. They are forcing you — yes, I did, I did just say, yes, the government is the devil. They are taking your choices from you. There is — you ask your professor this. I hope you’re writing this stuff down and I want to hear the answers from this nut job of a professor. You ask this — you ask your professor this: At what point — now, jeez, I just lost it. What were we talking about before that? The government is the devil, I remember that.
Mormon readers (or listeners, as it may be) will probably recognize the last two sentences as a variation on a standard Sunday School theme. The scriptural allusion is to Moses 4:3 (Pearl of Great Price) in which the Lord reveals that in the pre-mortal existence, “Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man.” There’s nothing particularly apocalyptic about the verse or the idea in and of itself. But again, Beck is utilizing the verse as a social commentary on what he views as the twin political threats (socialism and fascism) facing America thanks to the Obama administration. And again, it seems that he is most likely taking his talking points from the political writings of Ezra Taft Benson and Cleon Skousen which opposed Soviet Communism (see here for a sampling of relevant quotes by Benson, noting the similarities to Beck’s own language).
This isn’t surprising considering that Beck apparently sees Obama as a sort of young, black Lenin (or, worse yet, a threat the world hasn’t seen since the days of Hitler and Nazi Germany). But it is a bit surprising considering that such rhetoric has been out of vogue among most Mormons for some time. What remains to be seen is whether conservative Mormons (of both the Republican and libertarian stripe) buy into Beck’s apocalyptic discourse, and whether such acceptance will indeed signal the rebirth of Bensonian politics within the LDS church (at least at a grassroots level). Furthermore, it will be interesting to see what response Beck’s (unattributed but unmistakable) invocation of Mormon scripture and Mormon prophetic folklore in expressing his political philosophy garners from the conservative evangelical crowd.