I could comment a lot about the Washington rally held on Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial. There are all kinds of ways to slice and dice the event, which drew an estimated 300,000 people.
I heard an interview conducted Monday by Robert Siegel on NPR with Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Siegel asked Land about Beck's questioning of Obama's faith. Beck connected Obama's brand of Christianity to "liberation theology," and Land agreed, saying liberation theology is about collective salvation, which he termed an "oxymoron."
Land said Beck and the rally were trying to call attention to the wrong directions this country has taken since perhaps the 1960s: an increased divorce rate, an increase in the number of children born out of wedlock, etc.
Then Siegel asked Land about Beck's Mormon faith, and that's where it seemed to me Land became uncomfortable. After all, Land had been asked to talk about Beck's organization of the massive rally and the ways in which Beck and other conservative commentators have cast doubt on Obama's Christian faith. Land said, "I do not think Mormonism is an orthodox Christian faith, with a small O. I think perhaps the most charitable way for an evangelical Christian to look at Mormonism is to look at Mormonism as the fourth Abrahamic faith."
But here is a different perspective from another Southern Baptist about Beck, the rally and specifically Beck's Mormon roots as they relate to his claims to want to revive American Christianity. Russell D. Moore is dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice-President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He writes: "Rather than cultivating a Christian vision of justice and the common good (which would have, by necessity, been nuanced enough to put us sometimes at odds with our political allies), we’ve relied on populist God-and-country sloganeering and outrage-generating talking heads. We’ve tolerated heresy and buffoonery in our leadership as long as with it there is sufficient political “conservatism” and a sufficient commercial venue to sell our books and products."
It looks like he thinks we're gullible.