CNN's Glenn Beck sent me an email which detailed all of his activities over the Easter holiday. As you might expect, the weekend did not pass without some kind of terrible trauma. In Beck's case, misfortune came in the guise of neighborhood teens who apparently egged his house in the middle of the night. This led to a lengthy period of reflection in which Beck rued the teens' behavior in an age when people like him own guns and can't wait to use them. "I turn into Second Amendment Man at my house," says Glenn - which sounds like a version of Aquaman that can compel fish to form well-regulated militias or something.
When all that trouble had passed, it managed to leave Beck with tons of time to get all crazy aggrieved at the Easter sermon at Chicago's Trinity Church. Neither Reverend Jeremiah Wright nor Barack Obama were in attendance over the holiday, but that didn't stop Beck from wailing on a bunch of people who've done no one any harm and who probably wonder when they might just get back to worshiping in peace. If they did anything to invite scrutiny from Beck, it was probably the fact that the church used the constant and inflamed attention they've received this month as a road into a broader discussion of Easter's themes - crucifixion and resurrection. The upshot of the sermon was that the metaphoric "public lynching" that the church had received would help the church community grow stronger.
The sermon obviously referenced the troubled, tragic past of black people in America, so naturally, Beck wasn't having any of it:
They have -- by the way, the church, Obama's church, has also moved its once prominent section on its website about the black values system, they've moved that now but it still describes itself as unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian. Boy, can you imagine if your church declared itself unashamedly white and then you coupled it with unapologetically Christian? Can you imagine if you coupled those two things together?
I imagine that if a church "coupled those two thing together," I'd have to wonder if someone's head needed to be examined, because only the racist and the dotty (and the dotty racists) walk around thinking they need to be "unashamedly white." I don't think I need to get into a thorough cataloging of the historical advantages that white people have had in America. If you really need to know why a black congregation might present themselves as "unashamed," the words of Mike Huckabee speak volumes:
I grew up in a very segregated south. And I think that you have to cut some slack -- and I'm gonna be probably the only Conservative in America who's gonna say something like this, but I'm just tellin' you -- we've gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told "you have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can't sit out there with everyone else. There's a separate waiting room in the doctor's office. Here's where you sit on the bus..." And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment. And you have to just say, I probably would too. I probably would too. In fact, I may have had more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me.
And that's what separates Glenn Beck from the masses of sentient beings that otherwise populate the planet. The worst thing you can do is take away that chip on his shoulder. He wants to be thought of as being among the persecuted worse than anything in the world. He's already paid enough taxes! Hospitals need to treat him nicer! Black churches need to conform to his world view! Never mind the fact that he's ridiculously wealthy, with a book that's been on the best-seller charts for sixteen weeks, and the license to come of CNN - ostensibly a "news" channel - and say whatever he likes regardless of its factual accuracy.
Most people would say, "Brother, if that's persecution, sign me up for a slice!" But when you consider that lifestyle compels you to turn your post-surgery narco-dreams into the YouTube equivalent of The Last Temptation of the Blair Witch Butt Surgery and offer dread ruminations of how you might have gunned down the teens who egged your house, you realize - the world is already too stuffed with the Agonies Of Saint Glenn Of Omelettes.