Glenn Beck at Restoring Honor rally
WASHINGTON – People of every race and color in red, white and blue T-shirts gathered in the nation’s capital today for Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally only to receive a heavy dose, not of the radio host, but of Jesus Christ.
Anita Crane reported from the ground for WND: “The crowds are enthusiastic and orderly as far the eye can see, waving flags, wearing on their shirts the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and ‘God Bless America.'”
Video of the rally shows crowds filling the grounds surrounding Washington’s Reflecting Pool, Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. By the rally’s end, Beck announced media estimates of 300,000 to 500,000 in attendance.
When Beck first took the platform, however, he joked about the size of the gathering.
“I have just gotten word from the media,” he quipped, “that there are over a thousand people here today.”
The speakers, including Beck, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, representatives for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation – for which the rally was raising funds – and others, spoke glowingly of the promise of America, the accomplishments of its past, the soldiers who served their country and the foundation of the nation upon faith.
Beck focused on faith from the beginning of the rally, declaring, “America today begins to turn back to God.”
Crowd members gathered from across the nation echoed the speaker’s pride in America, as well as their concern that the nation has been drifting from its Founders’ intent.
Rally attendee Debbie Emo came with two friends from Kansas City and told WND, “I believe our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and we’ve let those slip.”
Jim Allen brought his dog, Spot, from Tulsa, Okla., because he had heard Beck urge people to bring their “families.”
“I’m here because I want the Constitution restored,” he said.
Juan Muicea, wearing a Declaration of Independence T-shirt, told WND, “I’m standing here for my family to bring honor back to the country, the basic principle that we have rights.”
Muicea explained that he’s not asking for “anything outrageous,” just that the government would observe and honor its citizens’ Constitutional rights.
Crowd attending Restoring Honor rally
Several attendees expressed worry over the expanding power of the federal government, arguing that its bailouts, corporate takeovers and health-care mandate are all evidence of a government operating beyond its constitutional bounds. And without the Constitution effectively enforced to limit its power, the attendees fear, the government has no check against tyranny.
“We’re here because I’m scared to death that our freedoms are being taken from us,” said Ann Kane, who came to the rally from Raleigh, N.C., with her husband and four of their six children.
Frank Stuber, grandfather of two, told WND, “I’m here from Chicago for my grandchildren, because everything is out of control.”
Glenn Beck’s proposed solution to their fears, however, may have caught some by surprise.
The radio host explained that when he planned the rally, he expected it would be “political.”
But several months ago, surrounded by the crowds at another gathering, he grabbed one of his co-workers and said, “We’re wrong.”
Instead of a political rally, playing on patriotism to push for votes in the fall, Beck gave today’s Restoring Honor gathering a heavily spiritual theme. He challenged the crowds to make the message of restoring honor personal, by living out the key virtues of 1 Corinthians 13: faith, hope and charity.
In turn, a variety of presenters introduced three individuals lauded for exemplifying these virtues: Rev. C.L. Jackson for faith, major-league baseball star Albert Pujols for hope, and Salt Lake City philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. for charity.
Beck challenged the crowd to take up a 40-day endeavor to demonstrate faith, hope and charity, and thus, to live out the final words of the Declaration of Indepenence: “With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
“We must as a people strengthen our spirit,” Beck declared. “Look to the top of the Washington memorial, [where it is carved] ‘Praise be to God.'”
Dr. Alveda King was also on the platform, echoing the famous words of her uncle’s “I have a dream” speech.
“I have a dream,” Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece declared, “that America will pray and that God will forgive us our sins and revive our land.”
After making his announcement about the size of the crowd gathered, Beck reiterated the rally cry that summed up today’s primary message: “It has nothing to do with politics; it has everything to do with God.”
With reporting by Anita Crane.