There's a guy on Fox News named Glenn Beck that has become a rising star after struggling on CNN Headline News. He is garnering the highest ratings on cable news right now. Before you are impressed by this, realize the biggest star on cable news is something akin to tallest midget in Texas.
Beck has started his 9/12 project, which is aimed at bringing us back to the way we felt on September 12, 2001. Personally, that day I was worried that very little good was going to come of this, and history has proven me right.
9/12 also stands for 9 principles and 12 values. The second of his prinicples, right after America Is Good, reads as follows.
I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
Beck is a devout Mormon. That is his perfect right. The thing is, he has decided to put some dead people forward as his heroes who wouldn't want anything to do with him.
One of his heroes is Thomas Paine. Paine would have hated Glenn Beck and everything he stands for, but the right wing suddenly thinks Tom Paine is their hero. He was a firebrand and iconoclast and believed strongly in taxing the socks off the rich to give chances to the poor.
More than that, here are a few quotes from Paine on the topic of religion.
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be true.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Paine would be writing 24/7 against the right wing, but he's dead and Americans are bad at history, so these pinheads think he is on their side.
Beck is also big into Ayn Rand. At least Rand would agree with Beck on taxes. She hated government. But she grew up in Soviet Russia, so what does anyone expect?
On the other hand, she also hated religion. Paine has at least a few quotes that take a balanced view of religion, but Rand wasn't big on balance. What she loved, she loved and what she hated, she hated. And she hated religion.
Here are a few of her quotes on the subject.
For centuries, the mystics of spirit had existed by running a protection racket - by making life on earth unbearable, then charging you for consolation and relief, by forbidding all the virtues that make existence possible, then riding on the shoulders of your guilt, by declaring production and joy to be sins, then collecting blackmail from the sinners.
And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride.
This god, this one word: I.
That's right, Ayn Rand believed god was the self. No other higher authority existed. While Beck claims to be a devout Mormon, the way he makes stuff up, he might have more in common than he realizes with the self-loving and faith-hating Rand.