Editor’s note: Below are the prepared remarks for Glenn Beck’s speech in Washington, D.C., on June 19, 2013. This post has been updated with more up-to-date text, though the delivered remarks may slightly differ.
Today, inside, they dedicated a new statue of another American giant, Fredrick Douglas – a man born into slavery, but who knew instinctively that he was not born a slave. No man is.
To keep a man a slave you do much the same as the cruel circus masters did to the elephant around the turn of last century. Clamp heavy chains around their legs and stake them to the ground. Then beat and terrorize them. After a while you no longer even have to stake the chain; the elephant gives up and just the mere rattle of the chain convinces the elephant there is no hope, so they give up and do what ever it is the circus requires.
(Scroll down to watch the full speech)
Fredrick Douglas was lucky enough to live in a house where he was taught to read, write and think. He knew God did not make men masters over others. Nor did he ever intend any man to impose unrighteous dominion over another man or beast.
It is time we remind ourselves of this truth again, and begin to rise up against the intimidation before the handful of peanuts from our new political circus masters is considered a kindness and not the symbol of evil cruelty.
In the building behind me, they are now excusing storing all data, phone calls, financial transactions, geotracking on every American for our “safety,” while allowing anyone to cross our borders either on foot or in underground tunnels without any worry or consequence.
They have not suspended or fired but promoted those at the IRS who rattled the chains of control to any group that disagreed with their policies. And now, after pushing misery and death through the so-called “Arab Spring” in country after country, they are plotting a new war with Syria. This will bring death and destruction the world over. We are told that we need to pick sides and arm those who are so far down the scale of decency that even Vladimir Putin asked Americans if they knew that those we are arming have literally eaten their enemies on the battlefield.
The fact that he even needed to ask that question, and that most have never even seen the video of the commander of the rebel troops on TV engaging in this ungodly horror, is an indictment of our government officials and our media.
I am surrounded today by some modern-day spiritual giants. All from different faiths, different backgrounds and many different views. But we all have one thing in common. We don’t recognize our country anymore and because we know that God is just, we tremble for our children’s future.
We wonder, are we even worth defending anymore? If so, why? Who are we? And will we even notice or care when the chain is finally snapped around our legs?
What will be written about us? The greatest generation has passed. We are who historians will watch.
Will it be said that none called for justice not one pleaded for truth? They trusted in vanity and spoke lies. They conceived mischief and brought forth iniquity.
What is it we even believe as a people anymore? Where did we get these ideas that now seem so popular?
Our forbears came to these shores not for free stuff, but for freedom. The chance to make their own way, create a different life. They came here because they knew that God made them free to make their own way in life, take the risk, do their best and take responsibility for their own lives.
They came here because they wanted to serve Him in the way they believed, not as they were told.
But how many care about our history? And, of those who do care, how many really still believe?
Some things are worth believing in. That the little guy can make it. Every single life has value and is worth living. That honor and integrity do matter. That justice will prevail – if not in this life – then the next, and that God does exist. And what we do in our lives matters.
It is the meek and the humble that inherit the earth. Have we forgotten?
We have declared ourselves masters of the earth — spread our troops all over the world, taught the world how to do banking like we do it here in America. Even though we can’t even master our own homes, protect our neighborhoods, or simply balance a check book. How grotesque and garish we must appear to those looking in.
I, for one, still believe in the silly notion of truth, justice and the American way.
Since our founding, a good percentage of our fellow citizens closed their eyes to the civil rights of all Americans. “I’m okay. I don’t want to think of the bad things going on. I am busy. It doesn’t affect me. It can’t be that bad and even if it is, I am just one person and what can I do about it anyway?”
Nothing has changed, except the chairs at the table.
Someone has always been on the losing end of the stick of power. Blacks are the most obvious, the Chinese, the Native Americans, but lets not forget the Irish, the Catholics, the Mormons, the Jews, and now it seems all those of faith that will not conform.
For those that think men make progress collectively: I warn you, history teaches that you couldn’t be more wrong. We are redeemed one man at a time. There is no “family pass” ticket or park hopping pass to life. One ticket, one life at a time.
Man doesn’t vanquish hatred or bigotry. The target keeps moving. From the blacks to the Irish. Atheists to Christians.
But as always, there are a few leaders: Ben Franklin, John Quincy Adams, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Abraham Lincoln, Fredrick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, Gandhi and Martin Luther King. They know that the march toward freedom never ends; man must be ever-vigilant and pray less with his lips and more with his legs.
They never forget that truth, justice, and freedom are the wellspring from which the waters of man’s civil rights come. And so they must be upheld for all men – those you know, those you do not, and maybe more importantly — they must be upheld for those who you do know but do not like or agree with at all.
If they are lost for one, in the end they are lost for all.
In the past, these historic stands which we now call civil rights movements were done by a small but dedicated portion of our citizens which led to great shifts in our culture. But those movements always came from the same institutions … the church. And usually not the church with the popular preacher, but the one who put it on the line to tell the people the truth.
Preachers like these men, who know that we are all born free, but that freedom comes at a great price — a profound responsibility to stand against injustice, hatred and bigotry. Our pulpits have gone quiet out of arrogance, fear and apathy. Their faith is found in the wisdom of man and not in the power of God. For some, losing tithing checks or the gold Rolex watch has become more important than losing man’s freedom.
Whatever the reason, too many are no longer willing to call evil by its name. There is no vision. And when there is no vision, the people perish.
I humbly suggest to you that Martin Luther King knew the answer, and he lost more than congregants during his long march. Students are taught that his vision came from the ideas of Gandhi. Maybe a new radical 20th century progressive philospher was the one that taught MLK that “although we be free of all men, when we choose to make ourselves servants to all, we gain the more.”
Let’s get a couple of things straight. What MLK and Gandhi did was not progressive or new. It was an ancient idea. Hollywood, Woodstock, nor the hippie culture was the source of power of the 1960s freedom movement.
He was leading those who risked their lives over that bridge in Selma, not Janice Joplin, Columbia University, or a labor union. It wasn’t John Lennon that taught people about love and peaceful resistance — that job fell on the shoulders of a Jewish carpenter. And it is there that we will find the answers that will break the chains that are being forged for a new generation of slaves.
The rights that so many Americans ignorantly preach about so often are not really their rights. They belong to God and they are given to us for stewardship. They are pretty important and obvious. So obvious that we used to say they were “self-evident,” meaning that humans don’t need to be taught; you instinctively know that you have a right not to be executed without a trial, held without charge, searched without warrant or spied upon without cause.
The government is no longer the protector of those civil rights, and so we must be. When we are told that it is okay for the IRS, EPA, ATF, FBI or anyone to hassle, threaten or intimidate others because of their skin color, religion or political belief, we stop being the country that we all want to build, and start being the country the world should fear.
The long train of abuses regarding these rights are the same MLK marched against, and the very same our dusty founders warned us about losing.
Men may make progress, but man never changes. Man loves power and money. No matter the skin color, religion or income level. These symbols of our nation make men drunk with power, who then justify their lust for more by claiming they are public servants. The only difference between Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. is that at least Vegas has the decency to admit the town is full of hookers and crooks.
We must sober up and admit that too many of the Republicans and the Democrats have played us, lied to us and stolen from us, while the getaway car was driven by the media. A media that can no longer claim with a straight face the role of journalist. Journalists print the things the powerful don’t want printed. What they do is public relations. Those PR firms will not print the truth about the average American who finds himself concerned with the direction of our country today. So we must.
We are not violent. We are not racist. We are not anti immigrant. We are not anti-government. And we will not be silent anymore.
Those who wish to use unrighteous dominion over mankind are not enemies of ours; they are enemies of God, and He will not be silent much longer either.
We will no longer accept the lies, the corruption, or the information and data gathering. It is evil. And we come here today to send a message that we will surround all of those who wish to stand and break the cycle of corruption. We will use ourselves as shields to protect those in the system, the elected officials or whistle blowers with the courage to stand.
We come here today to respectfully, but with the power of the spirit, demand to be treated as an equal member of society. I am a man, and I will be treated as such. I answer to only one king and His kingdom will come, His will be done. We have chosen sides and we choose God. America as a nation must do the same, as well.
We come today to declare our independence, to reaffirm our founding principles. We, as a nation, acknowledge a creator. We acknowledge that he gives certain natural, guaranteed rights to man. We declare that government exists primarily to protect these natural, God-given rights. He has established right and wrong. He is just and therefore, man must pay for his mistakes either now on Earth, or through God’s justice later.
There is no such thing as social justice. Only God can balance things out, and we are not God. But honest and decent men can fight for and establish equal justice.
There is no such thing as collective salvation. We, however, are going to be judged on how we treat our fellow brothers and sisters. Thus we must serve them, help them with charity toward all. “Malice toward none,” Lincoln said. God said it slightly differently – vengeance is mine.
Anyone who speaks of punishing their political enemies in on the wrong side. It is clearly evil and we have a responsibility to say so.
America: it is now your time to rise up and boldly declare those same self-evident truths that changed the world, and demand that those truths remain the basis of our laws.
My civil rights will not be trampled, and I say this not for me but for my children, and all those who yearn to breathe free. Those who make your Apple products at Foxxcon, those who languish in prisons in Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela. Those homosexuals who are stoned to death in the streets of Egypt or Iran, while our so-called civil rights leaders hold coffee klatches with third graders in the White House.
We will stand not for our job, house or income, but we will stand for those immigrants who came here the right way, and not have their dreams destroyed by increasing competition at the lowest rung of the ladder while keeping the brightest and best minds out of the visa pool allowing for little competition at the top.
We will not pervert women’s rights and twist it into a gross silent defense of abortion doctors in Philly and Houston while turning our eyes from the forgotten women who have never had the civil right to walk alone on a street without a man, or to drive a car in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, and even those who now cower in fear with their faces covered in states like Florida, Virginia, New York and Minnesota.
We will not waste another second shadow boxing the demons of the past when the fight to end actual slavery is still happening today. Call it what you will, but those who make your iPad in China – those who make your cute little Mao purses – are the very people you claim to care so much about. They are the ones yearning to breathe free. And worse, there is the oldest form of human degradation man has ever known, the sex slave trade that currently has in its coils over 2 million children. The biggest source of this evil is a wide open hole in our Arizona border.
We beg the American people to wake up and help the 8-year-old children being sold into sex slavery. The press may say, ‘How dare these men declare themselves the next Martin Luther King or civil rights leaders?’
How blind to believe the civil rights movement ever ended. The civil rights movement never ends, and it never will. It has been marching since the beginning of time. Where Martin Luther King started is where Gandhi left off, and where he started, Abe Lincoln left off, and before that Whitfield all the way back to Moses. God has not moved. We have. But it is never too late. We are not at the mercy of these events. We can alter the course of history. We can stand against the dangerous arc of this story.
But we need people who are willing to speak truth.
The last century was a century of genocide. A century where collectivist, national socialist, and communist evil rose up again and again… swallowing up the lives of millions. It happens every time man says the collective is more important than the right of the individual. That one phrase becomes in the end – every time – a license to kill anyone deemed to be standing in the way of progress.
But evil met its match. Goodness eventually prevailed. People like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, Jr., Lech Walesa and Mother Theresa awoke the world. They gave their lives to the pursuit of human rights. They took the side of justice against injustice; they held aloft the torch of freedom to push out the darkness of hate. These men and women lived difficult lives. They often lived shortened lives. They were often born to relative privilege, but willing to take on suffering. They did want not to martyr themselves. They would have happily lived to the end of their natural lives in comfort… but to the righteous, there is no comfort when evil has taken root.
But the cause of human rights has been taken over by organizations who share little with the individuals who led the movement. Human rights was once a cry for justice. Now it used as a threat. These organizations have become bullies and grotesque parodies of the principles they pretend to represent. They criticize free nations and spare the unfree. They denounce nations like Israel and America, who have high standards for freedom, and leave alone nations that have no freedom at all. They are nearly comical in their double-standards.
They are no more than the enforcers or the attack dogs of those who wish to keep men confined in spaces they design. Whatever moral force they once had is spent. Their time is up. And so, we dismiss them. Today we take back the phrase “human rights” and place it where it belongs, as the first half of God’s plan for humanity. The second half is responsibility.
If we want to be endowed with rights – real human rights, we have to act with responsibility. We must not be comfortable with rights. We must be comfortable with responsibility.
Who will protect your rights better? A king, president or you?
Who will protect the truth? A reporter, a labor union or you?
Who will protect and teach your children to seek truth? A textbook committee, an education bureaucrat, or you?
Did a commission of wise men stop the Holocaust? Did a committee of Congress end Jim Crow?
No. In each case, the work was done by individuals who would not abide convenient lies.
They saw injustice and they called it out. They saw their nation wage war against a single group and they said “not in my name.” They didn’t wait for the conventions of society to catch up to God’s laws. They pushed. They pressed. And they were victorious.
Each of us have been waiting for a leader to rise from among us. And none have. How many have been called and refused to serve? How many must have failed to heed the call for the Lord to make it all the way down to us?
I pray now that those who have heard the call to rise up in the tradition of peaceful resistance do so now before, as it was with Bonhoeffer, it is too late. I beg those with eyes and ears to heed the call and begin to train under the exact system used by MLK. Search his words out. You will find that your history professors and civil rights activists left out the real author of the words of Gandhi, King and Bonhoeffer.
Read them, ponder them, and risk living them. Even though they will make you a target of the NSA, having your name on their list as an enemy may in the end be the way your name is forever etched in his book of life.
Pastors, priests and rabbis: I challenge you. What have you done with your knowledge and priesthood power that those without have not done this week? If you cannot answer that with power every day, what does that say about you?
Average citizens and college students: I challenge you. Martin Luther King didn’t take a class, get a certificate and a bunch of permits. He saw injustice, studied eternal truths, exercised discipline and marched.
If you don’t find a leader, perhaps it is because you were meant to lead.
Christians: I believe in the free market. If your preacher is too afraid to preach it from the pulpit, maybe you should preach it from the street corner. Many are called. Will you answer?
Our spiritual body is out of shape and we need intensive training right now.
Get back to God, and know that some things are true and worth believing in. The good guys do win in the end. Evil does not stand unless good men never rise up. The time is now and we are the people the world is waiting for. We must never stop being the shore that others can come to for shelter and hope.
But to do so we must realign ourselves with truth and rise up and stand. This is the vision. We must preach good tidings to the meek, bind up the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to those held captive. To declare vengeance belongs to God and God alone. We must give unto those who mourn — beauty for ashes and water the trees of righteousness. We shall not perish.
I can’t help that most of us don’t like to hear the truth, but hear it we must: George Washington told us religion and morality are the only stable and lasting basis of individual life and public policy. If we are to survive, they must be part of our public policy rather than driven from it.
It is no longer enough to just be a good person. We must work to be the next Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King. It is noble to strive to be the size of the bronze giant they dedicated this morning in the building behind me. Fredrick Douglas’ time was in the 1800; King’s time has passed. This is our time. This is the next long march toward civil rights and we shall overcome.
Stand without fear, lock arms and stare down the bullies that wish to enslave mankind yet again.
Honor, courage and love are what is required, and they are contagious. Spread the word and proclaim liberty throughout the land.
“Let us, today, raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.”
Watch Beck’s full speech below: