Al Sharpton, who held a competing march in Washington on the same day as Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, appeared on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News show Monday for a lively debate about the implications of Beck's message.
O'Reilly, who devoted most of his show's hour to dissecting the event, challenged Sharpton to identify any problems he had with Beck's rally. Sharpton said that the rally had not gone as Beck said it would, and that the thing that had angered him most — when Beck said the rally would "reclaim the civil rights movement" — was not repeated at the actual event. Had Beck not said that, Sharpton told O'Reilly, there would have been no issue.
"When he announced this march and traveled all over the country with you for a year, no one criticized him," Sharpton said. "When he got that date, no one criticized him. When he said he was going to take the civil rights movement, that's when we had a right to address it. Had he not said that, we never would have said a word."
O'Reilly asked him if he thought that Beck's rally had been a positive thing for the country.
"If he talked about God and country...then how do we apply that?" Sharpton said. "All of us believe in God and country...how do you implement rights?...He's talking about a theocracy. He's not talking about fighting against equality."
Sharpton closed by challenging Beck to actually read Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech and see if he agreed with everything he said. Beck himself admitted in an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace that he did not agree with many of the stated aims of the 1963 March On Washington.
"He admires the man," Sharpton said. "Does he admire what the message of the man is?"