Scott D. Pierce: Beck is in a Catch-22

Published: Thursday, Jan. 11 2007 12:15 a.m. MST

PASADENA, Calif. — Glenn Beck didn't exactly apologize for the way he questioned the nation's first Muslim member of Congress, but he did admit that he handled it poorly.

You may recall that, back in November, Beck said to Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, "What I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' ... I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel. And I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."

Beck told TV critics he was really trying to make the point that not all Muslims are anti-American.

"Well, first of all, let me just say (that was) quite possibly the poorest-worded question of all time," he said. "And that just comes from my lack of — well, maybe quite possibly lack of intelligence."

Hey, a lot of people have made formal apologies that sounded less apologetic than that.

But the slew of people who e-mailed yours truly attempting to defend Beck by asserting that Muslims deserve our scorn because they employ terror and murder have completely missed Beck's message. And to all those who objected to yours truly comparing the misapprehensions people have about Mormons to the misapprehensions people have about Muslims ... well, Beck — a member of the LDS Church — did exactly that.

"My point to Keith Ellison ... is the same point that I make to my own faith, and that is — you must stand up before things get out of control, because by not standing up, by not making a very clear point and leading the charge, the people who are just working every day to just feed their own families ... just get whatever it is in the media, and they'll just say, 'That's probably right,"' Beck said. "And it's important for people of all faiths, when someone is hijacking their religion, to stand and say, 'That is not what we do. That is not who we are."'

Beck drew a direct comparison between those who incorrectly believe that Muslims are terrorists and those who incorrectly believe Mormons are polygamists. "I mean, I think people have their preconceived notions of religion, and very few people are going to do their homework on their religion. ... I think that's a problem, not just with my religion."

And he thinks it's a problem that a bigger effort isn't made to differentiate the LDS Church from the polygamists. "That's why I, on my radio program and my television program, have railed against this polygamy thing. I've railed against the Mormons in Salt Lake, saying, 'OK, guys. The world thinks we all have 700 wives. Here are some people that are excommunicated. Why aren't you going after them? Because by not going after them, it looks like implied endorsement. And that's a problem. At least for my faith, that's a problem."

HE'S A SELF-PROFESSED conservative, but Beck's forthcoming special about global-warming "myths" — one of three quarterly reports that will air on CNN — might surprise some people.

"You know what? I believe global warming is happening. I really do," Beck said. "I went to the Al Gore movie, and my producers are, like, 'Oh, dear God, Glenn, if you come back out of that Al Gore movie and you say he was right, do you know you're flushing your career on radio down the tubes? And I'm like, 'Well, he might be right.'

"I went to the movie. I actually believe in global warming. Now the next step is — does man cause it? I don't know."

Ah, now that's more what we might expect.


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com

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