Liberal and conservative blogs gave their thoughts on Saturday's dueling rallies: Glenn Beck's "Restoring America's Honor" at the Lincoln Memorial and Rev. Al Sharpton's celebration of the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech.
One point resonated particularly loudly in the liberal blogosphere: that while Beck told rally attendants that "America today begins to turn back to God," his own religion, Mormonism, is viewed in many Christian communities with skepticism at the least and downright opposition at the most.
Liberal blogger Steve Benen linked to reports from several Christian news outlets and figures that condemn Beck's religion while supporting his political views.
Tea Partiers and related right-wing activists have often been split, just below the surface, between competing factions -- largely secular libertarians who focus on fiscal issues and the scope of government vs. religious-right-style theocrats who are still inclined to fight a culture war. Saturday's gathering seemed to suggest the latter contingent might have the edge.
But then there's the other fissure -- theocrats comfortable with a Mormon's leadership role in their so-called 'movement,' and theocrats who appreciate Beck's madness, but not his LDS membership.
Think Progress joined the liberal blogs pointing out Beck's religion, writing of his turning the supposedly apolitical event into "a stinging political missive against Obama," after Beck, appearing on Fox News the day after the rally, said that Obama's version of Christianity is "a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it."
Ironically, while Beck is casting stones to undermine Obama’s faith, his own faith is one that many Christians view as a 'perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ.' Beck, a converted Mormon who had been raised in a Catholic home, has been attacked by many evangelicals who say he is not a Christian 'because of his Mormon beliefs.
Meanwhile, conservative bloggers like Red State's Dave Poff commented on what other people had to say about the rally.
It should be lost on NO one how incredibly diverse and divisive the news coverage of events in DC on 8/28 has been; the white guys are talking about God and Country while the black guys are threatening to beat them up over it as they express their intolerance for insufficient levels of freebies and shout out their demands for even more nannyism from the State. And, of course, those who dare disagree with them are racists and bigots.
He also compared the number of times God was invoked at both rallies.
The fact that Sharpton, like King, is a Reverand would lead most of us to expect invocations of God and our greater purpose in pursuing Him in our daily lives and our struggle for equality. King mentioned God four times in his I have a Dream speech, and Beck mentioned God twice in the first 5 minutes of his own 'Restoring Honor' speech at the Lincoln Memorial…a few steps and 47 years away. Sharpton mentioned God not once in his own speech, choosing instead to refer to 'us' and 'them' and 'we' and 'they' on multiple occasions while simultaneously calling for unity.
Hot Air's Allahpundit noticed a similarity between how President Obama handled a question from NBC's Brian Williams on his impression of Beck's rally and Obama's infamous "guns and religion" remark from 2008.
Obama's response to the rally question: "Given all those anxieties — and given the fact that, you know, in none of these situations are you going to be fix things overnight. It’s not surprising that somebody like a Mr. Beck is able to stir up a certain portion of the country."
Isn’t this his infamous bitter/clinger theory of small-town values voters dressed up in slightly more politic language?
Allahpundit also wrote that Obama seemed to have mischaracterized the rally.
He says he didn’t watch the rally so he may be under the impression that it was a three-hour 'the socialists are coming!' Obama bash-fest. Not so; Weigel is closer to the mark in describing it as 'the world’s largest megachurch.' I don’t know what The One was thinking, but dismissing what ended up being a big revival meeting as a byproduct of economic anxiety is not the way to ingratiate oneself with religious voters.