But regardless of Beck's fusion of the sacred and the secular, what is more disconcerting is the Evangelicals who believe that it is something to drink in to the very last drop. The danger is not just in fusing religion and politics (that's bad enough), but embracing and endorsing a non-Evangelical religion, yay even a non-Christian religion, yay a "generically theistic civil religion" with politics that consists of Evangelical Christians, Roman Catholic Christians, Mormons, Jews and even Muslims. This is not to say that these different groups shouldn't participate and help one another in political engagement, but that said political engagement should remain political and not be religious.
Darryl Hart has already addressed this issue quite well (see here and here). But for a shorter, Baptist version, Russ Moore has provided an excellent reflection on Beck's god and country rally (the lower case "g" is not a grammatical error just in case you were wondering). I highly recommend you read his analysis and seriously think about his rebuttal:
The answer isn’t a narrowing sectarianism, retreating further and further into our enclaves. The answer includes local churches that preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and disciple their congregations to know the difference between the kingdom of God and the latest political whim. It’s sad to see so many Christians confusing Mormon politics or American nationalism with the gospel of Jesus Christ.Moore is correct in saying that we don't need to retreat into our enclaves; however, we do need to engage politically in light of our particular religious enclaves and not fall into the trap of thinking any movement based upon a confession of "god" is something worthy of our participation. We must ask what "god" we are confessing; which "god" we are serving; and whose will are we are doing--is it the will of the God of heaven who came to earth to die and be raised for sinners who prayed for his Father's heavenly kingdom and will to come to this world, or the god of this world who knows he cannot rule heaven and so seeks to bring many with him to his doom through a counterfeit religion.
In another response, John Sampson over at Reformation Theology provides a biblical response looking at the participation of Evangelicals at Beck's rally from an Old Testament perspective:
Have you ever seen something like this in the Bible - God saying, "Go meet with the Baal worshippers' and arrange a huge rally, an ecumenical inter-faith service - talk about honor and integrity and family values.. and you can pray to Me, of course, and they can pray to Baal - in fact, hold the priest of Baal's hand as he prays.. that will be such a nice touch.. and its quite ok with me.. I, the Lord your God, the holy One, really don't mind.. that's because it will show so much love to people and it will open hearts to My religion and everyone will so appreciate you not being closed minded elitist bigots. It will do wonders for people's view both of you and of Me. Go do this in My Name."?
Ever seen that? Even a hint of it? No? Me neither.We need more than honor, we need honesty in our political and religious commitments. This can't be done by promoting a false god and false religion, or in confessing someone else's false god or by participating in that god's sham.