insanity, James Cone, liberation, race

Setting Straight the Insanity of Glenn Beck on James Cone and Black Liberation Theology

Well, I’ve got my piece up at The Other Journal titled: “‘Everyone in This Room is Now Dumber for Having Listened to [Him]’: Setting Straight the Insanity of Glenn Beck on James Cone and Black Liberation Theology.” I like it. I think other people should read it.

Also, I should probably note here that the tone is rather caustic. And some may find it rather off-putting. I attempted a line that is difficult to walk, and perhaps failed. How do you not legitimize Beck and his project, but still address the narrative he helps push that permeates society? How do you show that Beck is not learned — cannot speak well, nor well read — in this discourse? And perhaps most importantly, how does one not give into gentle language that would avoid showing the ugliness of what Beck has done? But on the other hand, how does one avoid becoming like Beck who seems to love name calling?

I determined that my first priority was truth-telling: to appear a bit crazy in an insane world may be the most sane thing someone could do. I ought not sugar coat the issues at hand, and I should keep a sharp edge. So I decided to follow the master, Terry Eagleton in his review of Dawkins. Now, I am not under the delusion that I have Eagleton’s mastery of the English language, or wit. Still, the method seemed apt. The poverty and ugliness of Beck’s work, and the popular narrative he is working within, has to first be exposed for the falsehood it is.

And so, I do not see this piece as simply character assassination or preaching to the choir, after all, I tried to keep the pejorative comments directed in how Beck stumbles, rather than Beck his person. This piece, instead, is aimed at achieving a moment of clarity, even if it is fleeting. This piece is also designed to give James Cone a fair hearing. And it would not be wrong to read this piece much more about Cone’s project and evangelicalism’s need to reckon with race, than Beck himself.

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2 thoughts on “Setting Straight the Insanity of Glenn Beck on James Cone and Black Liberation Theology

  1. John says:

    Of course Beck (and Fox “news”) are quite popular in right wing Christian circles, including the folks that run the blogs at First Things.

  2. “I attempted a line that is difficult to walk, and perhaps failed. How do you . . .?”

    Perhaps by not focusing so much on Beck but on folks like Anthony Bradley (who made nary an appearance in your article!), a man whom Beck had used as his back-up scholar (having had him on his show). But, then, Beck is an awful easy target. (And I’m not suggesting Beck articulates what Bradley does; I think Beck just uses him to stamp his wildly insane monologue, and, somewhat surprisingly, Bradley lets him).

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