Japan disaster ‘a message from God’, warns Beck
Has Glenn Beck given Fox the excuse to finally ditchconservative TV host?
Has Fox TV's Glenn Beck gone too far this time? Showing his trademark understanding and light touch, the populist polemicist used his daytime radio show on Monday to suggest that the millions of Japanese reeling from the triple horrors of an earthquake, tsunami and now nuclear meltdown were suffering from the wrath of God.
"I'm not saying God is causing earthquakes - well I'm not not saying that either!" he told listeners to The Glenn Beck Program, which is syndicated to more than 400 stations.
The born-again Beck, who discovered God after wrestling with drug and alcohol abuse, went on: "What God does is God's business. But I'll tell you this... there's a message being sent. And that is, 'Hey you know that stuff we're doing? Not really working out real well. Maybe we should stop doing some of it.' I'm just saying."
Luckily the 47-year-old, whose nightly Fox show is one of the network's top-billed strands, had "the answer".
"Buckle up! Because it's going to be a bumpy ride," he said, before advising that his listeners should treat the 10 Commandments as "10 rules of thumb".
"What do you say we start doing those things?" he asked. "Because the things we are doing really suck. And they're not getting better."
Beck joins the exalted company of such televangelists as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell in popping up after a truly shocking global event and suggesting that finer adherence to the teachings of the Bible might have led to a different outcome.
Falwell suggested after the September 11 attacks: "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'You helped this happen'."
Last January, Robertson said that the nation of Haiti, which had just endured an earthquake that killed 300,000 people, was paying for a "pact to the devil" struck in the 19th century to rid the country of French occupation.
But while Falwell and Robertson's more devout acolytes lapped up their comments, Beck may find his bosses at Fox - ultimately Rupert Murdoch - don't look so kindly at his remarks.
There has been a welter of stories recently suggesting that the shock-jock's days at the network are numbered. Today, Time magazine's Alex Altman wrote: "The comment isn't that surprising, I suppose; Beck has made a fortune sussing out conspiracies most of us can't detect."
But after this "odious" outburst, Altman says that "if Fox is pondering life beyond Beck, this could be the nudge they needed." ·
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