UPDATE: Beck defended his appearance; says he won’t teach theology. I dispute that here and note that the LDS believe the founders were redeemed into the church via baptism.
Nicola Menzie’s Christian Post article examined the evangelical megachurch fascination with Glenn Beck, but Fellowship Church’s statement about Beck’s knowledge of history stood out to me. Unmatched? Unmatched in error perhaps, but I think the clueless spokesman meant it as a compliment. The full quote was Glenn Beck’s:
knowledge of our history and his understanding of our nation is unmatched.
Beck got history wrong (see also this) when he spoke at Liberty University in 2014. He even messed up Mormon history in that talk at the same time he promoted LDS theology in his speech.
As I noted recently, Beck is speaking this coming weekend at Fellowship Church, a Southern Baptist church pastored by Ed Young.
Beck is the Gospel Doctrine teacher at his Mormon church and is about to teach his audience from the Bible next week. Watch:
Menzie’s article did not get comment from Beck on his status with the Mormon church but apparently he has a position teaching doctrine there. You can review the teacher’s manual for the New Testament on the LDS church website. This site gives lessons from the Book of Mormon. The gospel doctrine teacher is to teach the doctrines of the Mormon church, which are outlined here.
Of course, all are free to practice their religion but it appears that celebrity worship is the religion of the modern Christian megachurch.
In response to a reporter’s request for comment, Senator Jim Inhofe, known to be affiliated with the Fellowship Foundation, condemned the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, now active again in the Ugandan Parliament.
According Red Dirt Report:
OKLAHOMA CITY — Responding to Red Dirt Report’s October 27, 2011 story “Uganda, The Family and the reintroduction of ‘loving punishments,” U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., offered the following statement, sent to this reporter on Friday:
“I do not, nor have I ever, supported or condoned this legislation. It is my hope that Uganda will abandon this unjust and extraordinarily harsh legislation,” Inhofe said.
Last night, Rachel Maddow interviewed Jeff Sharlet about his new book: C-Street. I have not seen it yet but I am aware that his reporting on his visit to Uganda takes up a chapter and will provide much detail about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Roll the tape:
Note the intent of Bahati for his legislation as described to Sharlet. He is not trying to close any gaps in law on child abuse. He believes the government there should put Leviticus into effect. Democracy requires that you get a law in place to do it.
Regarding the Fellowship and pressure to withdraw the bill. I am aware that American Felloship members have said to Ugandan members that the bill is a mistake and should be withdrawn. However, Bahati says he feel no pressure.
Here is my view of the situation. Bahati does not feel any threat to his standing in the Fellowship as the result of differing with the Americans and other Fellowship groups around the world about the anti-gay effort. It is clear to me that the bill has caused division between the Ugandan and American members. However, as Sharlet reported, Bahati describes no consequences for his stance. He hears words of disapproval regarding his bill but business as usual continues on other matters (e.g., “like defense contracts”). No consequences mean no need for a shift in ideology or policy.
Personally, I think the Fellowship is doing a lot of good in the world. I think much of their work in poor nations is a reflection of true religion. However, with the great reach comes great responsibility. If it is true that David Bahati continues to enjoy the brotherhood and benefits he describes, then I can understand why he would dismiss the public pressure. It seems clear that the Fellowship has great reach. The question is what will they do with their great responsibility in this situation.
The article is lengthy and I need to read it more thoroughly before I give an assessment of the completeness of the reporting but I am not encouraged by the author’s treatment of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill:
Hunter brought Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the former African rebel who became Uganda’s President, and other key Ugandan leaders into prayer groups. When Uganda’s Parliament took up a bill last year that would have punished some homosexual acts with death, Hunter and his friends in the Fellowship felt they had the standing to urge the proposed measure’s defeat. Museveni appointed a commission that studied the matter and then recommended that the bill be withdrawn.
That’s it. While Peter Boyer’s purpose was to report on the Fellowship – in advance of Jeff Sharlet’s new book on the subject coming out soon – he could have at least mentioned that the bill was not withdrawn and that the mover of the bill is a main figure in the Ugandan prayer breakfast movement (The Fellowship).
This paragraph makes it seems as though the bill is history because of the American opposition from the Fellowship. If anything, the American and Ugandan prayer breakfast groups are still at odds over the proper policy regarding the bill. The bill is still alive in committee with Fellowship associate and Ugandan member of Parliament, David Bahati, still advocating the application of Leviticus in Ugandan law.
Let me hasten to add that the American Fellowship group woke up about the issue after Jeff Sharlet reported that David Bahati was a Ugandan associate. From that time, Fellowship associate and spokesperson Bob Hunter’s opposition has been strong and unwavering. Spiritual leader Doug Coe spoke out against the bill. The February national breakfast committee would not have allowed Bahati to attend. And Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton used their National Prayer Breakfast speeches to blast the Ugandan bill by name.
However, Boyer glossed over this history and current reality (did he talk to anyone in Uganda?) and the reader is left with the impression that the bill has been withdrawn or defeated because the American Fellowship used their “standing.” The American Fellowship group has used their influence but the Ugandan Fellowship group has not responded by withdrawing or urging defeat of the bill. My contacts tell me that the situation is no different than when I was at the National Prayer Breakfast in February and many of the Ugandan delegation were in favor of the bill.
Given this treatment of the Uganda situation in the New Yorker piece, I urge a cautious reading of the rest of the article.