Unity is goal for Mormon talk show host Glenn Beck's 'American Revival'

Published: Friday, July 16 2010 12:44 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Glenn Beck displays little doubt about what he does and believes.

Next on the agenda for the conservative TV and radio talk show host and converted Mormon is a trip to Utah, signing his new novel for fans Friday at the downtown Deseret Book and hosting a stop on his "American Revival" tour, an all-day menu of scholars and speeches Saturday at EnergySolutions Arena. Beck says the event is meant to encourage people to put aside their differences and embrace common values embodied by the Founding Fathers.

His star has risen in recent years, giving him the third-ranked radio program in America, behind only Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. He is heard on more than 400 stations. His Fox News television show has 1.5 million viewers despite airing in the afternoon.

While his show is clearly conservative, Beck told the Deseret News he was cheered by a recent poll that showed the public is pleased with neither Democrat nor Republican politicians.

"That's a good sign," he said. "Let's not be about parties; let's be about principles."

Beck is also enthusiastic about his planned rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech.

"I'm trying to get the message out that there's more that unites us than divides us," Beck said. "And what unites us is the content of our character."

Beck doesn't shy from strong positions. He regularly criticizes the Obama administration and the progressive movement, which he has labeled a disease.

In the last week, Beck's show has taken Attorney General Eric Holder to task for scaling back the prosecution of two Black Panthers accused of voter intimidation at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008. Beck scoffed at the suggestion, made by a Republican member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and others, that the incident was blown out of proportion.

"It's our basic right to go in and vote without being harassed," Beck said. He also brushed aside a recent piece in the conservative Weekly Standard that called him "the voice of a reactionary counterculture" and said he shares conspiracy-theory tendencies with the late Mormon author W. Cleon Skousen.

Beck also doesn't shy away from religious topics, spending much of another show this week talking about salvation through Jesus Christ.

Beck says the mainstream media often take his remarks out of context and ignore stories that don't fit a liberal agenda. On air, he frequently says his own story won't "end well" because of those working to discredit him.

"They can make me into any kind of monster they wish," he said. Beck says he's not a victim, yet he clearly doesn't appreciate the hits he takes.

"Who in the end wins is whoever beats the drum longest and hardest and loudest," he said. "But that's OK. I do what I believe because I believe it."

If you go...

What: Glenn Beck's American Revival

When: Saturday, July 17, 10 a.m.

Where: EnergySolutions Arena.

Tickets: Available at www.glennbeck.com.

Beck is also signing his novel, "The Overton Window," today at 3 p.m. at Deseret Book, 45 W. South Temple.

e-mail: pkoepp@desnews.com

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