Televangelist and religious guru Glenn Beck, who has been known to host a program on cable news, is now telling his faithful flock that their salvation is at hand, and all they have to do is travel to Washington, DC on the eve of his 8-28 rally for the mother of all tent revivals, modestly titled "Glenn Beck's Divine Destiny."
While you ponder the ambiguity of that title (is it Divine Destiny brought to you by Glenn Beck, or is it Glenn Beck proclaiming his own divine destiny?) take a moment to read Beck's description of the event, as it was posted on his website this morning:
Glenn Beck's Divine Destiny is an eye-opening evening at the historic Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C that will help heal your soul. Guided by uplifting music, nationally-known religious figures from all faiths will unite to deliver messages reminiscent to those given during the struggles of America's earliest days. The event will leave you with a renewed determination to look past the partisan differences and petty problems that fill our airwaves and instead focus our shared values, principles and strong belief that faith can play an essential role in reuniting the country.
I'm a little incredulous that "all faiths" will be represented at Beck's event, given his many documented troubles with Islam and casual disdain for non-monotheistic cultures. I envision a scenario more akin to something out of The Blues Brothers: "Oh, we got both kinds of faiths -- Christian and Jewish!"
It's possible that Beck is sincere in his desire to "heal your soul," but don't believe for a minute that participants in the event will walk out with a "renewed determination to look past the partisan differences and petty problems that fill our airwaves." If that were the case, Beck would have to instruct them to not watch his program. I also don't think that Beck is necessarily qualified to be in the soul-healing game, given that he earns his rather comfortable living by sowing division and rancor, often in explicitly religious terms.
And it's the overt religiosity that makes this more troubling than Beck's other scams, like Goldline or Beck University. Those are just bad investments, and anyone who gets taken in will, at worst, lose a little money and their faith in the financial and educational wisdom of cable news hosts. Religion is a whole different animal, though, and is usually worth a lot more to people than the contents of their checking accounts.