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Open Letter to Glenn Beck Rally Attendees

First of all, I’d like to take this opportunity to ask the entire readership and authorship of “open letters” to end, once and for all, the writing of “open letters”.

We have 24.3 million of them on the web as of 8:52 PM tonight, and for Christ’s sake, it has to stop. (In another five minutes, make that 24.3 million and one.) The time of open letters has passed, and even before they passed, they were annoying as fuck. Everybody knows damn well when you write an “open letter”, it’s like that annoying asshole at the next table in a restaurant who’s talking loudly so you can hear him and he could care less whether the hot piece of ass in front of him is actually listening to him. (I was too distracted by his wife to notice what he was saying.) Anything put on the web is by definition an “open letter”, so you really only need to call attention to a web post’s closedness, not it’s openness. If you want publish a closed letter, go for it. Call it a “registration-only, $19.95, PPV rant against assholes stupid enough to pay for rants written specifically about them”. See how much money you make. (The scary thing is, I think there’s actually a business model here.)

What was I saying? Oh, yeah, I almost forgot about the big outdoor mass that occurred this past Saturday. I just want to say one thing to any of the tens of thousands of people who went to the “huge church picnic” (a friendly description of it by the Wall Street Journal) and happen to stumble upon this post. I have seen or listened to Glenn Beck a handful of times. I have heard things I agree with. The way he speaks as if either he’s underprepared, he thinks his audience is mentally slow, or his audience is mentally slow, is enough to prevent me from sitting through his entire program. (Well, that, and the fact that I have a day job and need to conserve DVR space for Top Chef.) But the point is, I’ve heard clips that have actually caused me to leave the show on, and even to think that he might be sincere. So, if you’re not offended by me yet, my point is that I don’t necessarily think you’re a complete ass if you watch his show.

That being said…

If you want someone like me to be in your camp, or vice versa, in the realm of politics, you need to ditch the religious stuff. I might agree with you on particular issues of individual freedom, and even with generalities like “smaller government”, which isn’t a principle, but which might help me live another year longer nevertheless. You need to decide what’s more important to you: actual, individual freedom, which includes your ability to practice your religion if you choose, or promoting and institutionalizing your religion by package-dealing it with your political demands. The latter undercuts your claim for individual freedom, obviously, because people who are free will simply choose to practice religion with you or will choose not to.

Honestly, it’s hard to tell what this rally really was about (the “church picnic” description is probably a good one), but it sure seemed to be a pep-rally for God. Here’s yet another friendly description:

“Despite the presence of former Gov. Sarah Palin and many Tea Party trappings, the event was not political, or at least not in any conventional sense. Rather, the speakers called for bringing religion into the public square and using it as the guiding force in all aspects of American life.”

I’m just telling you that this is the wrong direction. Don’t give up the political battle. There are others like me who would be happy to stand with you. Our only requirement is that we stand only for freedom. And frankly, it ticks us off that you guys keep lumping religion in with it at every chance you get.

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