On his webcast this week, Glenn Beck unveiled yet another publicity stunt intended to buy him some attention, at least from his congregation of disciples. This time it comes in the form of his “vision” of a utopian community where rich and poor will live together in harmony while shopping and farming and riding holy-roller coasters to Valhalla.
This new society of egalitarian pilgrims would amass in Beck’s planned city of Independence, USA. He admits that there is no such place mapped out as yet and that the whole concept exists only in his imagination which is, to say the least, fertile. The development includes all the necessities that a demented doomsday prepper could desire. There would be farming land where residents could till the soil and produce their own food. There would be a mall with shops populated by craftsmen who would also teach the young’uns how to make their own rocking chairs and crossbows. He also plans a media center where he would produce entertainment “that would challenge viewers without resorting to a loss of human decency.” It is in that area that he would train new journalists in his techniques of lying and fear mongering. There would a research facility for…God knows what. Recognizing the need for diversions from all of this ecstasy, Beck plans to include a theme park. And of course, centrally located, would be a church for his parishioners to worship.
Perhaps most notable is Beck’s provisions for living space. He says that he will build “a residential area where people of different incomes could all come together and be neighbors.” Sounds a little socialist to me. But so does much of his concept that relies on all the people contributing to one another and to the greater good of the community.
What’s troubling is the notion that Beck wants to create a segregated community of followers who believe in his vision and will strike out on their own to build a self-reliant, communal society based on his twisted brand of evangelism and with him as its leader. Sound familiar? It is precisely what Jim Jones, a pastor from California, did when he assembled his flock in Guyana to form what he called Jonestown. That ended in tragedy with more than 900 disciples succumbing to poison-laced Kool-Aid.
Already Beck’s flock is getting excited about his new city proposal. They are leaving comments on his web site declaring their loyalty and wondering when they can move to the imaginary Independence. It’s sad to see that there are people who regard independence as fealty to a hate-filled, fear mongering, tele-prophet, who is only interested in his own fame and considerable fortune. Hopefully people will see through this charlatan before it’s too late, because it is difficult to see any good coming from this.