“God and Caesar were very much appropriately represented on the National Mall on Saturday at that ‘Restoring Honor’ rally,” she commented.
In her view, much of the rally had a good focus: “challenging people to be good, to seek the good, sacrifice for the good, and pray for the good.”
“It was a bit of a mix of religious revival, country-music concert, and Independence Day celebration. And its end goal was to rally people to stay and be more engaged in politics, but to not get lost in it, as Beck put it. There was a clear balancing of the importance of politics while never ever losing sight of our real citizenship.”
Lopez said that the rally recognized “real threats” to the United States’ freedom and sustainability which are “fruits of messes of our personal lives and decisions and of bad policy.” It did this without being “explicitly partisan or political,” she claimed.
Seeing “prudence and humility” at the rally, she thought the event was “realistically positive” in acknowledging political and religious differences while seeking a “unified focus.”
She thought Beck’s focus on foundational issues should be encouraged without putting him “on a pedestal.”
CNA also discussed the rally and related issues in a Saturday phone interview with Mark Stricherz, author of the book “Why the Democrats are Blue” about the place of Catholics in the post-1968 Democratic Party.
Stricherz, who did not comment on the rally itself, questioned the characterization of Tea Party-related movements as religious revivals.
“It’s not led by religious leaders, its participants don’t say they’re religious. None of its tactics are claimed to be religious,” he commented.
The present-day action is not comparable to the civil rights movement, he also contended.
“The civil rights movement was the gold standard of social movements. Its marchers prayed for their enemies and sought equal justice.”
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In contrast, Stricherz suggested, Beck’s political movement has been “the bronze standard” of social movements.
“Supporters exhibit disapproval and jeer at their enemies, and seek the end of runaway spending and domestic debt.
“They just want to tame federal domestic spending and don’t want to pay higher taxes through the health care bill. Sometimes federal intervention is godly, and sometimes it is not.”
Beck’s invocation of the U.S. Founding Fathers is “a little more complicated question,” Stricherz told CNA, saying the push for American independence from Britain incorporated elements of religion “but it certainly wasn’t a religious movement per se.”
“There is an argument that the Founders were linked to the First Great Awakening, but the Founders’ appeals were much different than Martin Luther King, whose appeals were explicitly religious and spiritual.
Asked about the possible political consequences of the rally and related movements, Stricherz responded: