Beck's “preachers and pastors” panel: straight from the fringe

On the July 1 edition of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck assembled a panel including “preachers and pastors” to provide “a look at today's news.” Many of the panelists have a history of extreme and divisive statements, as well as Republican or right-wing activism.

John Hagee

Evangelical pastor's extreme comments led McCain to reject his endorsement. John Hagee is the founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church. During the 2008 election, John McCain actively sought Hagee's nomination. After some of Hagee's controversial comments came to light, McCain refused to repudiate Hagee but said, “in no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee's views, which I obviously do not.” After more comments were reported, McCain publicly rejected Hagee's endorsement, calling one of Hagee's comments “crazy and unacceptable.”

Hagee: God sent Hitler as a “hunter” of “the Jews.” In a May 21, 2008, Huffington Post article, reporter Sam Stein wrote that Hagee “argued in a late 1990s sermon that the Nazis had operated on God's behalf to chase the Jews from Europe and shepherd them to Palestine.” From Stein's article:

John Hagee, the controversial evangelical leader and endorser of Sen. John McCain, argued in a late 1990s sermon that the Nazis had operated on God's behalf to chase the Jews from Europe and shepherd them to Palestine. According to the Reverend, Adolph Hitler was a “hunter,” sent by God, who was tasked with expediting God's will of having the Jews re-establish a state of Israel.

Going in and out of biblical verse, Hagee preached: " 'And they the hunters should hunt them,' that will be the Jews. 'From every mountain and from every hill and from out of the holes of the rocks.' If that doesn't describe what Hitler did in the holocaust you can't see that."

He goes on: “Theodore Hertzel is the father of Zionism. He was a Jew who at the turn of the 19th century said, this land is our land, God wants us to live there. So he went to the Jews of Europe and said 'I want you to come and join me in the land of Israel.' So few went that Hertzel went into depression. Those who came founded Israel; those who did not went through the hell of the holocaust.

”Then god sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. And the Bible says -- Jeremiah writing -- 'They shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and from the holes of the rocks,' meaning there's no place to hide. And that might be offensive to some people but don't let your heart be offended. I didn't write it, Jeremiah wrote it. It was the truth and it is the truth. How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel." [italics in original]

Hagee: Hurricane Katrina was “the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.” In a September 18, 2006, interview on NPR's Fresh Air, Hagee said:

HAGEE: All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are -- were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades. So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know that there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment.And I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.

Hagee: “The difference between a woman with PMS and a snarling Doberman pinscher” is “lipstick.” In his book, What Every Man Wants in a Woman (Charisma House, 2005), Hagee wrote, “Do you know the difference between a woman with PMS and a snarling Doberman pinscher? The answer is lipstick. Do you know the difference between a terrorist and a woman with PMS? You can negotiate with a terrorist.”

Ralph Reed

Longtime conservative and GOP activist. Formerly the executive director of the Christian Coalition, Reed is now the chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, an organization that claims a mission of supporting “legislation that strengthens families, promotes time-honored values, protects the dignity of life and marriage, lowers the tax burden on small business and families, and requires government to tighten its belt and live within its means.” He is also the founder and president of the public relations and public affairs firm Century Strategies. Reed served as the Southeast regional chairman of the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign. In 2006, Reed lost the Republican primary for lieutenant governor of Georgia.

Reed was paid by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff to fight casinos competing with Abramoff's clients. A January 16, 2006,Washington Post article reported that “the first major dent in Reed's carefully cultivated image came with the disclosure in the summer of 2004 that his public relations and lobbying companies had received at least $4.2 million from Abramoff to mobilize Christian voters to fight Indian casinos competing with Abramoff's casino clients.” The Post further reported:

Similarly damaging has been a torrent of e-mails revealed during the investigation that shows a side of Reed that some former supporters say cannot be reconciled with his professed Christian values.

“After reading the e-mail, it became pretty obvious he was putting money before God,” said Phil Dacosta, a Georgia Christian Coalition member who had initially backed Reed. “We are righteously casting him out.”

Among those e-mails was one from Reed to Abramoff in late 1998: “I need to start humping in corporate accounts! . . . I'm counting on you to help me with some contacts.” Within months, Abramoff hired him to lobby on behalf of the Mississippi Band of Choctaws, who were seeking to prevent competitors from setting up facilities in nearby Alabama.

Jim Garlow

Evangelical pastor and chairman of group founded by Newt Gingrich. Garlow is senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego. On March 16, Newt Gingrich announced that Garlow had been named chairman of Renewing American Leadership (ReAL), a non-profit organization Gingrich founded. According to its website, ReAL's mission is “to preserve America's Judeo-Christian heritage by defending and promoting the three pillars of American civilization: freedom, faith and free markets.”

Garlow claimed health care reform was “anti-biblical.” In a December 16, 2009, anti-health care reform “prayercast” hosted by the Family Research Council, Garlow said that the then-pending health care reform bill was “anti-biblical” and should concern “every follower of Jesus.” Garlow went on to explain that he believed the legislation “violated” many of the Bible's Ten Commandments.

David Barton

Founder of anti church-state separation group whose theory “many historians dismiss.” Barton is founder and president of Wallbuilders, which describes itself as a “pro-family organization that presents America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious and constitutional heritage.” According to Time magazine, Barton is “educating an evangelical generation in what might be called Christian counter-history” whose “thesis” is that “that the U.S. was a self-consciously religious nation from the time of the Founders until the 1963 Supreme Court school-prayer ban.” Time also reports that “Many historians dismiss his thinking.”

GOP activist. According to Time: “He has been a co-chair of the Texas Republican Party for eight years, is friends with House majority leader Tom DeLay (whom he has advised on the Pledge Patriot Act, which seeks to keep the phrase 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance) and was tapped by the Republican National Committee during its election sprint as a liaison to social conservatives.”

Sen. Specter called Barton's work “pseudoscholarship.” People For The American Way reported that writing in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy (Spring 1995), in an article titled “Defending the wall: Maintaining church/state separation in America,” Senator Arlen Specter said that Barton's “pseudoscholarship would hardly be worth discussing, let alone disproving, were it not for the fact that it is taken so very seriously by so many people.”

Barton questioned statistics on child poverty in America: “Is that because they only have two TVs instead of three?” In an interview with conservative radio host Janet Parshall, Barton said, “I was really intrigued with what [former Democratic presidential candidate Gary] Hart said on poverty -- one out of five American kids lives in poverty. Is that because they only have two TVs instead of three?”

Richard Lee

Lee is senior pastor of First Redeemer Church in Cumming, Georgia, and editor of the book The American Patriot's Bible. The book's marketing materials say: "The American Patriot's Bible intersects the teachings of the Bible with the history of the Unites [sic] States while applying it to today's culture."

Lee on Obama: "“I haven't seen any patriotism from him yet.” In a July 2, 2009, Religion News Service interview about his book, Lee reportedly said he didn't know if former President Carter (who teaches Sunday school in a Baptist church) was a Christian and said of President Obama, “I haven't seen any patriotism from him yet.”

Christianity Today blog: Lee's book uses Bible “merely as an excuse to further the patriotic agenda of the commentators.” In a review of Lee's book, Christianity Today's Out of Ur blog states:

Every special interest Bible imposes a certain agenda that to some degree colors the Word, but the Patriot's Bible takes this “coloring” to a whole new level. There's not a single commentary in this Bible that even attempts to shed light on what the biblical text actually means. To the contrary, the text of the Bible is used merely as an excuse to further the patriotic agenda of the commentators.

There are a multitude of problematic aspects to the Patriot's Bible, including the remarkable way it excludes from consideration almost every aspect of American history that could blemish the image of America or its heroes.


The assumption that God is uniquely invested and involved in America should especially concern Christians, since Jesus explicitly taught that the Kingdom he brought had nothing to do with nationalism or violence. His Kingdom was “not of this world,” and the proof he offered Pilate in support of this claim is that his followers would not engage in violence, as defenders of worldly kingdoms invariably do (Jn. 18:36).

Robert George

Founder of conservative organization. George, a professor at Princeton University, is the founder of the American Principles Project. According to its website:

The United States of America does not need new principles. It needs renewed fidelity to the principles set forth in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.


Are we conservatives? You bet we are, if by a “conservative” one means a believer in the rule of law, democracy, limited government and respect for civil liberties, private property and the free market, equality of opportunity, the sanctity of human life, the protection of marriage and the family, and the defense of our nation's sovereignty and security. For us, these convictions are not platitudes. We are convinced that the renewal of our nation and the flourishing of our people vitally depend on making these historic ideals and commitments once again operative in the laws and policies by which we govern ourselves.

George: Same-sex marriage would redefine marriage as “an emotional union for the sake of adult satisfaction that is served by mutually agreeable sexual play.” George wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed: “If marriage is redefined, its connection to organic bodily union -- and thus to procreation -- will be undermined. It will increasingly be understood as an emotional union for the sake of adult satisfaction that is served by mutually agreeable sexual play.”

Stephen Broden

Broden is senior pastor at the Fair Park Bible Fellowship church in Dallas and a Republican congressional candidate for Texas' 30th Congressional District.

Broden: “Tyranny” to tell us “how to buy or when to buy insurance.” In response to a question from a conservative blogger, Broden said that it was a form of “tyranny” for citizens to be told “how to buy or when to buy insurance,” an apparent allusion to the recently passed health care reform legislation.

Broden reportedly endorsed John McCain from the pulpit, “hoping to provoke a free speech court fight” with the IRS. According to an October 8, 2009, article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Broden, the pastor of the 100-member Fair Park Bible Fellowship, was among several dozen pastors who publicly endorsed Republican candidates, or denounced Obama, from the pulpit last fall, hoping to provoke a free speech court fight with the Internal Revenue Service.”

Broden reportedly said Washington was in the hands of people who want “to replace our Judeo-Christian ethic . . . with secular humanism birthed in atheistic Darwinism.” According to the same Times-Picayune article, Broden made a speech to a Tea Party event where “without mentioning President Barack Obama or naming any other Democrats -- he said Washington has passed into the hands of people determined 'to replace our Judeo-Christian ethic . . . with secular humanism birthed in atheistic Darwinism.”

Panelists echo Beck's attacks on social justice

Beck has waged war against social justice. Glenn Beck has repeatedly attacked the concept of social justice and churches that promote it, asserting that it is “code language for Marxism” and warning that “when you see those words, run.” In fact, numerous churches and religious faiths, as well as prominent religious scholars, espouse social justice, including the Catholic Church, the Conservative and Reform movements of Judaism, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hagee: Churches that “have the social gospel” have “the design to explain who you think you are rather than who you really are.” On Glenn Beck, Hagee stated: “George Washington said, 'It is not possible to govern without God and the Bible.' That very concept is even out of many churches because they have the social gospel. They have the design to explain who you think you are rather than who you really are.”

Broden: “Any connection between the Bible and its attempt to do what is called justice and a socialistic frame is like mixing water and fire.” From the July 1 edition of Glenn Beck:

BECK: Anybody want to take on social justice and what they're saying here?

BRODEN: I'll be glad to give it a shot, Glenn.

BECK: Go for it.

BRODEN: The first thing -- the social justice movement is built upon, or predicated on, the idea of liberation theology. Liberation theology has its origin or its source in socialism, communism, and Marxism. Marxism and communism is a godless idea. They do not believe in the divine. And so any connection between the Bible and its attempt to do what is called justice and a socialistic frame is like mixing water and fire. They don't mix together.

Reed: Churches with a “social gospel message are shrinking.” Reed said: “Glenn, I think if you really look at the modern church today, those churches that are standing for the gospel are the ones that are growing. And the ones that have a watered-down message and a social gospel message are shrinking.”

Lee: Social justice “has been twisted,” “comes from manipulation of the government.” On Glenn Beck, Lee said:

LEE: Glenn, you know, when they talk about social justice, of course we as Christians, we want to be just. The Bible says a great deal about us bringing justice. But social justice has been twisted. And now it -- what we're talking about is Christian charity when we talk about social justice years ago. Christian charity. Christian charity comes from the mercy of God. Today's social justice comes from manipulation of the government. And it's all about power, it's all about control.

George: Social justice has “too often ... become corrupted and used as a pretext for advancing ... [a] socialist agenda.”George said:

GEORGE: The authorities of the Catholic Church still speak in terms of social justice. The pope will sometimes speak in terms of social justice. But too often the concept has become corrupted and used as a pretext for advancing what is essentially a social democratic or social welfare or social -- socialist agenda.