Syndicated talk radio show host Glenn Beck is tripling down on his statement that evangelical Christians who support Donald Trump and not Sen. Ted Cruz “are not listening to their God.”
Beck is expanding his attacks on Trump supporters beyond evangelicals to now include all Christians and Jews who back the GOP frontrunner, as the Hill reported:
Glenn Beck on Thursday suggested that GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump is incompatible with Christians who take their faith seriously.
“No Christian, no real Christian — I don’t mean a judgmental Christian, I mean somebody who is living their faith — no real Christian says, ‘I want that guy, that guy is for me,’” he said during a broadcast of his radio show. “Nobody. Nobody.”
Beck also argued America is moving away from its Christian underpinnings, causing myriad moral and social problems nationwide.
“I honestly don’t know what else to do,” he said. “We have got to be a people of principles. We are a Christian nation.
“Are we really?” Beck asked. “Then why are we in so much trouble? Why do we have the same kind of problems that non-Christian nations do with pornography and drugs and everything else?
“We should be setting an example if we’re actually living our Christian faith. The problem is we all say we’re living our Christian faith. We’re not living our Christian faith.”
Beck additionally vowed he would challenge any religion or denomination he believes is ignoring its own guiding principles.
“I’ll take on the Jews, and I’ll take on the Lutherans, and I’ll take on the Catholics, and I’ll take on the Mormons,” he said. “I’ll take them all on. You’re damn right. Where are you? You’re not living your principles.”
Beck is now framing at least part of the Ted Cruz campaign narrative, one that re-enforces negative main stream media memes Cruz has been trying to stop, such as Washington Post‘s columnist Kathleen Parker’s critique of Cruz’s use of the term “the Body of Christ.”
As Breitbart News reported previously, Beck’s fusion of politics and theology is contrary to a view expressed by one of the leading academic experts on religion in America, Dr. Thomas S. Kidd, Distinguished Professor of History and Associate Director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University:
Assuming that Mr. Beck is referring to evangelicals who vote for Trump, I would make a distinction that Beck does not: The Bible certainly offers principles on how to think about government and politics. The Bible does not, however, tell us which individual candidates to vote for.
If other Christians don’t vote for our preferred candidate, we should not say that they are not listening to God. None of us has special access to God’s opinions about candidates.
There are many reasons why devout Christians should hesitate to vote for Donald Trump, but God has not revealed Ted Cruz as the divinely anointed alternative, either.
Beck’s constant attacks on Trump’s profession of Christian faith seem to be dominating the news, so that in some regard he is framing the discussion as a battle between himself and Trump for the soul of America, rather than a battle between Cruz and Trump for the Republican nomination for President.
To date, however, the Cruz campaign has stood by Beck. Breitbart News reached out to the Cruz campaign to comment on Beck’s statement criticizing evangelicals who support Trump and not Cruz. Cruz campaign spokesperson Brian Phillips offered this response in an emailed statement:
Are you guys going to write the story of Trump’s decades-long association with some of the most liberal and corrupt people in New York? Seems like giving thousands of dollars to far left-wing politicians like Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton and David Dinkins, or disgraced officials like Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, and Charles Rangel, or criminal felons facing 130 years in prison and even a guy who stole $90,000 from a little league association would be worth a blog post or two. No? Nothing?
None of the hundreds of evangelical leaders who have been included in the Cruz campaign’s press releases of public endorsements have commented specifically on Glenn Beck’s statements that “real Christians,” and especially real evangelical Christians, won’t vote for Trump.
Neither Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, nor Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, both of whom have endorsed Cruz, responded to inquiries from Breitbart News to comment on the merits of Glenn Beck’s recent comments. Nor have half a dozen evangelical pastors who live in the South and are included as endorsers in statements issued by the Cruz campaign.
Dr. Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, who recently gained national attention for his article “This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!” and has said he will vote for Cruz, though he has not been listed as an endorser in any Cruz campaign press releases, and was interviewed in-studio by Glenn Beck in November on his television program, did respond to two questions posed to him by Breitbart News:
1. Has Glenn Beck’s recent claim that, in effect, God wants Christians to vote for Ted Cruz, hurt the Cruz campaign?
2. Should Sen. Cruz disavow Beck’s comment on Monday that “all throughout the South the Evangelicals are not listening to their God”?
Piper first qualifies his response.
“It needs to be clear that Oklahoma Wesleyan University does not endorse candidates,” Piper tells Breitbart News.
“For me personally — I will vote for the candidate that will give the American people the greatest amount of freedom we can hope for in this election season. I believe that person is Ted Cruz,” Piper adds.
Understanding that qualification, Piper offers this emailed statement to Breitbart News:
Frankly, I consider the premise to your question a distraction. It shouldn’t matter what Beck (or Breitbart for that matter) has or hasn’t said. What should matter for evangelicals is what Scripture says. And in this case it is very clear. Calling a woman a fat pig is not Biblical. Profiting in strip clubs is not Biblical. Owning businesses that objectify women is not Biblical. Resorting to ad hominem attacks rather than attending to facts is not Biblical. Mocking the disabled is not Biblical. I’m a Wesleyan and I’m a Christian. John Wesley said he was ‘a man of one book.’ Christ told us, in that book, that we are ‘known’ by our ‘fruit.’ What Beck or Brietbart, Biden or Billy Bob says doesn’t matter. What the Bible says does and I will vote accordingly. All who claim to believe in the whole counsel of Scripture should do likewise. I agree with anyone, whether it be Breitbart or Beck, who calls evangelicals out for not doing so.
Piper also very publicly announced recently he would never invite Trump to speak at his university.
Rank and file Cruz supporters, however, seem to be disturbed by Beck’s increasingly frantic denunciations of Trump’s Christian faith. Cruz supporters and Trump supporters who participated in Breitbart’s February 25 focus groups of evangelical Christians in Tennessee offer these views:
“Glenn Beck is an embarrassment to himself and should be to Ted Cruz,” Perry, a Cruz supporter who participated in the focus groups, tells Breitbart News.
“My God didn’t tell me to vote for Cruz. I can’t say who Glenn Beck’s God told him how to vote,” Don, a focus group participant who supported Sen. Marco Rubio until he dropped out, says.
Victor, a Cruz supporter who participated in the focus groups, adds this:
I listen to Glenn every day and although I agree with most of what he says, I’ll again hold my nose and vote for Donald over Hilldebeast anyday….he is NOT the favorite of one single evangelical Christian that I know ‘personally’….So, I’m not sure where Glenn is coming from in general, but obviously there are large evangelical Christian leaders endorsing him.
John, a Trump supporter, says:
Let me present myself as a traditional evangelical Christian, young-earther, and a believer in everything the Bible says. And if we could reverse the direction toward which our country is headed back to Judeo-Christian moral principles, I’m in for the long run. The person who I think has the muscle and the success history to bring that off, he’s my man.
I think that Beck has, over the past few years, run off the rails.
“This is sad. Glenn says he prays and lives for God, I didn’t judge him. He just insulted and judged me,” Larry, a Trump supporter who participated in the focus group, says.
Charlotte, who likes both candidates but supports Trump, adds:
I hate to tell Mr. Beck, but I do not accept him as my teaching elder, my priest, my Pope, my parent, my husband, etc.! My Heavenly Father gave me His Word to read and understand. Granted, I am a lay person and I often have to ask someone trained in the languages of Hebrew and Greek to explain exactly what the Bible is saying. But my Father has instructed that I check His Word by reading further in His Word. I do not accept that the Book of Mormon is given me as a part of my Father’s teachings nor His Word. I accept that Mr. Beck has a right to his opinion as much as I do; however, I am not telling him that he is not evangelical nor listening to God.
“Glenn is a little late criticizing the Southern Evangelicals, that ship sailed, perhaps he should have endorsed Cruz sooner if he wanted a different outcome,” Debbie, a Cruz supporter, tells Breitbart News.
“The media and American public have forgotten a campaign is not a personality contest . . . it is a job interview. We all need to remember we are hiring the leader of the free world. I want a candidate with a Christian worldview who thinks the ‘how to manual for governance’ is the Constitution. This is why I support Ted Cruz,” she adds.
Karen, a Cruz supporter, adds this:
I tend to agree with Glenn Beck. I am and have been very surprised at the number of people, even in my own church, who seem oblivious to what God tells us to look for in a leader and are supporting Trump.
People are angry. So am I but I am reminded of the direction we are given for leader selection (1 Timothy 3) as well as to avoid making decisions based upon anger (James 1:20).
As my own pastor admonished our congregation, ‘You cannot claim to have spiritual discernment and vote for Trump or other candidates, for that matter, who make a mockery of God’s standards. We, as Christians, have a moral duty to stand against sin and lawlessness. I plead with you, do not throw biblical standards to the gutter when you cast your vote’
The Breitbart focus groups of evangelical Christians in Tennessee conducted on February 25 confirmed the polling results first reported in February by the Barna Group, the leading pollster of evangelical Christians, that committed evangelicals support Cruz more, while cultural evangelicals support Trump more.
Beck shows no indication of backing down from his claims that “no real Christian” should support Donald Trump, and the Cruz campaign shows no indication that it intends to disavow Beck’s statements. What remains to be seen, however, is the level of visibility Beck will have within the Cruz campaign as it moves to primary contests in less heavily evangelical states, such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and New York.