I'm still trying to pin down what I think about Glenn Beck, but I know what I think about many of his critics.
They're sultans of snootiness who don't want to admit that we all have addictions.
Columnist Kathleen Parker, who likes to pile up points by putting down Sarah Palin, saw raw meat in Beck. She attacked him because he was addicted and admits his need for healing, recovery, and restoration. She would have liked him to greet the crowd by saying, "Hi. My name is Glenn, and I'm messed up."
That's a lot better (and I suspect, more accurate) than saying "My name is Kathleen, and I'm so smart."
She writes that Beck uses "the language of the addict. . . . 'You know, we all have our inner demons.'" She complains, "For Beck, addiction has been a defining part of his life."
True. And it's the same for everyone. All human beings are at some point, and some are at all points, addicted to created things rather than the Creator. Drugs, alcohol, and pederasty are among the generally unacceptable addictions. Adultery, lying, covetousness, and thinking murderous thoughts regarding ideological opponents seem generally acceptable in America today, especially if the perpetrator covers his tracks.
The reason Glenn Beck resonates with many evangelicals is that he's using Alcoholics Anonymous language, which derives from Christian language. We should recognize the tribute he is paying to biblical anthropology but we should not be taken in by Beck's theology. For example, Christians know that we become righteous by imputation (Christ's obedience in God's sight replacing our failure), but Mormons trust in infusion (we become godlike).
For a quick look at some Mormon concepts, see this 2002 article from WORLD.
Beckites need to be careful not to think of themselves as virtuous and their opponents as vicious. The Christian understanding is different: All of us sin and fall short of the glory of God. When The Times of London newspaper nearly a century ago invited G.K. Chesterton and several other eminent writers to contribute essays on the theme, "What's Wrong With the World," Chesterton's response was brief, profound, and biblically correct: "Dear Sirs, I am."
In short, some of us may be addicted to substances, others to praise within the circles we consider important. When we realize we're all in the same boat we often see that we have nothing to hide. We make progress when we admit sin and recognize our helplessness before it, apart from Christ.
Beck vs. Parker? I'd much rather learn from someone who admits his addictive nature than from someone who seems to deny hers.