Editor’s note: Below are Glenn Beck’s prepared remarks for the Restoring Courage event. We’ve included some video highlights (starting with the event intro) and will be adding more pictures and video shortly. Pictures courtesy of’ Lange Studios.
Last year, hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for an event called Restoring Honor.
Some of you were there. It may have changed you. I know it changed me.
In August, I challenged Americans to live a life of honesty and integrity. This year I have a new challenge.
Today, I ask you turn your eyes to Israel and restore courage.
I have been asked: What can you teach Israel about Courage? My answer is simple. Nothing.
Then they ask: Why are you coming to Israel? Because, I say: In Israel, you see courage.
In Israel, there is more courage in one square mile than in all of Europe. In Israel, there is more courage in one soldier than in the combined and cold hearts of every bureaucrat at the United Nations. In Israel, you can find people who will stand against incredible odds… against the entire tide of global opinion, for what is right and good and true. Israel is not a perfect country. No country is perfect. But it tries… and it is courageous.
Today, the world needs courage more than ever.
We need it because whether you live here in Jerusalem, or in London, or in Athens, or in Washington, D.C., you know – we all know — the world is changing, the world is burning, and whatever we have known… whatever we’ve thought would never change… whatever we’ve grown to think is solid and strong and durable … is under siege.
You don’t have to be a prophet to know that things are not going well in the world. The threats are mounting. Darkness is falling.
Far too many politicians are willing to look away. The shape shifters are at work. They have turned day into night, good into evil. They have changed the very meaning of words.
In New York, the so-called leaders of the world talk about abuses of human rights. But what they will do is abuse the very meaning of the phrase “human rights.”
“Human rights,” they say. But who will they focus on? Libya? Syria? North Korea? No.
They will condemn Israel. Tiny Israel. Democratic Israel. Free Israel. Israel, which values life above all other things.
Israel, as usual, is the exception.
The world is adrift. The world is confused.
In Europe, the great nations of the past – Greece, Italy, Spain, Britain – are falling into chaos and violence.
We have raised up a generation who cannot tell the difference between what they owe society and what society owes them.
They interviewed the rioters in England. Why, they were asked, are you stealing shoes or televisions. “Because,” the rioters said in response, “because we deserve them.”
We may think: Oh, how different are today’s youth! But the young merely imitate their parents. They have seen how the world reacts to evil – with indifference. They watch, they learn, they imitate. What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.
When the Fogel family was killed in their sleep the world barely took note. The grand councils of earth condemn Israel. Across the border, Syria slaughters its own citizens. The grand councils are silent. It’s no wonder children light their streets on fire.
These international councils, these panels of so-called diplomats, condemn Israel not because they believe Israel needs to be corrected. They do so because it is convenient.
Everyone does it. In some countries, it’s a crime not to.
The diplomats are afraid, and so they submit. They surrender to falsehood. The truth matters not. To the keepers of conventional wisdom, a sacrifice of the truth is a small price to pay. What difference does it make if we beat up on little Israel? These are the actions of the fearful and cowards.
But I stand here to tell you this: Fear is the pathway to surrender. And to overcome fear, we must have courage.
This is hard to do. Especially here. Especially now.
The plotters plot. The schemers scheme. And it is easy to tremble with doubt.
Even Israelis – the most courageous people on earth – doubt themselves. “Did we do something to deserve this? Perhaps if we just do something else, it will all go away!”
My Israeli friends, I have a message: You must not lose hope. You must not lose confidence. You must have courage.
And you must draw courage from the knowledge that you were led to this land by God. And in the affairs of mankind, God is not a stranger to the children of Abraham.
He promised that Israel would rise again. For two thousand years the Jewish people held on to this promise. We have seen the promise fulfilled.
Israel, we have witnessed the dawn of your redemption.
We live in an age of manmade, technological miracles. But these are the days of divine miracles.
Not by the hand of any man, whether his name is Balfour or Truman, does Israel exist. Israel is here because the God of Abraham keeps His covenants.
In synagogues just over a week ago, they read the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“Comfort, oh comfort My people,
Says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
And declare to her
Her term of hard service is over . . .”
And look at us! Here we are – in Jerusalem united. Jerusalem rebuilt.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is not neutral in the affairs of mankind. God is not indifferent to Israel. He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant he made with your forefathers.
In the 40 years of wandering in the desert, the ancient Hebrews were led through the dark of night by a pillar of fire.
Courage is the act of walking into the darkness, and knowing that each step would be guided and protected by the pillar of fire, if we follow it. God is with us.
I will admit, I did not know this, until very recently.
For the first half of my life I did very little. I was the stereotypical American that believed two oceans would forever shelter me.
As a radio and TV commentator, my job was little more than pointing out the problems. And I did. I saw what I thought were obvious things, and I made obvious observations.
I saw the interviews of Osama bin Laden, and so in 1999, I said he will attack New York again. He did.
I saw the unreal expectations of ordinary Americans in 2006, and so I said – there will be a crash in the housing market. It can’t keep going up. And it crashed.
I saw the global financial markets ready to seize up in 2007… I saw the coming unrest and riots in Europe in 2008.
It didn’t take a prophet to see these things – all you had to do was recognize that evil exists and evil was going unopposed.
And so this year, when I saw Tunisia’s and Egypt’s rulers crack and fall and the world called it the Arab Spring, I said: Where could this be going? And behind these revolutions was a familiar force, a force that will place those nations under a new pharaoh. And that force, I said, would come up to the borders of Israel. And so it has.
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. We need inspiration. We need a model to follow.
The last century was a century of genocide. A century where evil rose up again and again… swallowing up the lives of millions.
But evil met its match. Goodness eventually prevailed. People like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King Jr. and Lech Walesa and Mother Theresa and Henrietta Szold 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. 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. We cannot use our few short years on this planet enjoying our rights… we must do everything we can living by our responsibilities to our fellow man. Rights and responsibilities. The two go hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm, together.
Nowhere in the Torah or the Christian Scriptures do you see the phrase words “human rights.” But there is a lot in there about responsibilities.
Everything we know about human rights and civilization came from this place. Whether you live by 613 commandments or 10 or just one golden rule, they all came from here. This throne of the Lord.
When the world turns its back on Israel and the Jewish people, the world turns its back on the source of all human rights. Without the Jewish people, humanity would not know that every individual life has dignity, that every life is sacred, that God names every star and knows every soul. That was God’s message to Abraham and Moses. It is the message of the Jewish people to the world, and by their very existence they teach it to us.
Today I propose a new path. I propose a path led by you – the individual, linked in arms with other individuals. A path where governments and so-called human rights organizations get out of the way and people come together to solve our problems. As God intended.
Some may ask: Why not leave this work up to others – the well-connected and well-educated and well-heeled, our political leaders or the media?
Well, I ask you: Whom do you trust to do this sacred work?
Who will protect your rights better? A king, president or you?
Who will protect the truth? A reporter, producer 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.
This spirit lives within us. I believe that you will link arms with others and stand with courage, and walk behind the pillar of fire.
You see evil rear its head in our time. You see the signs again. The swastikas are on display in the street marches. This week they’re holding up signs in Cairo that say: We’re building the gas chambers. They dress their children in suicide belts. They are given the choice, and they choose death.
Let us have the courage to choose life. No more incitement. No more threats. No more terror. No more talk of genocide. No more hate. No fear. No more lies.
We can read their signs, listen to their speeches. So we know that they say what they mean and mean what they say.
Well: So do we.
And I know we will be victorious. Because while their conviction is rooted in hate, our conviction is rooted in love. And love always wins.
When Naomi and her daughters in law lost their husbands, Naomi knew that their future would be far brighter if they went back to their families, to start over. But her daughter in law Ruth would have none of it. She said,
“Entreat me not to leave thee,
or to return from following after thee:
for whither thou goest, I will go;
and where thou lodgest, I will lodge:
thy people shall be my people,
and thy God my God:
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.”
And so I say that if the world decides it must know who will stand with Israel, who will stand with the Jewish people, so they know exactly who to condemn, who to target, let them know this.
Condemn me. Target me. I will stand with Israel. I will stand with the Jewish people. And if they want to round us up again, I will proudly raise my hand and say “Take me first.”
There is courage in our time. It is here in this space. It is found everywhere God resides in the hearts of man. It is found in Joplin Missouri. Joplin was devastated by a tornado a mile wide. They lost their hospital and their school. Joplin looked more like a moonscape than the pleasant town it was.
But this is a town not looking to take help but to offer it. They began to gather early this morning. Many are taking the day off from work to show their dedication and love of the Jewish people and the state of Israel.
Our problems demand more than checkbook courage. It’s easy to write a check. But we can’t outsource love and truth and courage. We must do it ourselves. We must roll up our sleeves to make a lasting difference.
We will find hope. We will renew ourselves. We will be the first to regain what many of us have lost … Our faith. Together, we will begin to change the world.
We won’t find the answers in some global body halfway around the world…but in ourselves. We won’t find purpose in the drumbeat of destruction and disobedience we hear in the West, but in a mission of building and honor and courage.
In people like Rami Levi. In people like Tamar Fogel. In the owners, one a Jew the other an Arab, who built and reopened the Maxim restaurant after it was bombed. Each made a decision on their own to build.
The prophets and sages promise us, that by small and simple things do great things come to pass… and small means will confound the wise. Let us confound the world.
This will be a movement of honor…. courage… and responsibility.
God has made man in His image and after His likeness. He has endowed us with great privileges and rights. And He has given us purpose on this earth. His blessings are our rights. His purpose is our responsibility.
Because we have a right to worship freely, let us declare: We have a responsibility to fight for the rights of others to worship freely.
Because we have a right to pursue happiness, we have a responsibility to be thankful for our blessings and to comfort the needy.
Because we have a right to knowledge and truth, we have a responsibility to pursue it, and to fight falsehood.
These declarations of responsibility, and others, are being posted at www.glennbeck.com. In the coming days, I want each of you to print them, read them, carry them, and make them a part of your lives. Share them with your family and friends. Remember all that God has done for you, teach these lessons to your children, and obey God’s word. And join me on a historic march towards human responsibility.
Evil is counting on us to do nothing. Evil is counting on us to be afraid. But evil has misjudged us.
Evil has misjudged us as it has misjudged the Jewish people. The last line of a Jewish prayer is…
Adonai li, v’lo ira
God is with me, I fear not.
Those two lines have been uttered for centuries. Through crusades. Through progroms. Through the gas chambers. At the hands of butchers.
In every generation, they rise up to kill Jews. And in every generation, the answer is the same.
LO IRA. I fear not.
I will wait for someone else to rise no more. This time, we are the ones who say – LO IRA.
Let us begin here: some people call Israel an apartheid state. I reject that. And so immediately following this program I will fly to South Africa, which is where apartheid actually existed. I will broadcast from Cape Town tomorrow morning to remind the world what the evil of apartheid really looked like.
And I will learn from the people who conquered the hatred, ignorance and bigotry and who chartered a peaceful course for a new South Africa.
Then on Friday I will fly to South America to plead the case of human responsibility to a group of nearly 5,000 local leaders from all over the continent and ask them to join me in standing in defense of Israel, the Jewish people and responsibility.
Finally on Sunday, I will speak to 5,000 Americans in Dallas, Texas. I have chosen to end my week in the town where I will headquarter the charitable division of my company, Mercury One. Dedicated to the idea that one man, inspired by one God, makes a difference. This trip will end where a global moment begins.
This won’t be easy for me, and it won’t be easy for you.
Others will say, “come with us, over the horizon.” But that horizon is a cliff. And when you don’t go along, you will stand out. You will be mocked and in some cases your life may be in danger.
So you must remember to say: LO IRA. I fear not.
No one wants to be on the point, the person that sticks out. My first death threat came in 2002 after my first visit to Israel and my declaration of support of the Jewish people and state. My latest death threat was today.
And so I say: LO IRA. I fear not.
Many of us may fall along the way. Some will have their reputation destroyed or business or career ended and others still may pay the ultimate price.
But let us link arms and make the journey together and if one shall fall, let 10 join our ranks.
You were not born so someone else could rule over you. God did not create you, endow you with rights so you could remain silent while injustice and evil grow. You have a purpose and it is rooted in love, compassion and responsibility.
There are many reasons to hear my words, leave here and do nothing. We all have been trained to believe that we are not strong enough, smart enough or powerful enough.
Abraham was old, Moses was slow of speech, Ruth was a widow, David was a little boy, Joseph was in prison, and Lazarus was dead. What is your excuse?
You were born for a time such as this. Begin by declaring that this is why you were placed on this earth. It doesn’t matter how you’ve spent your years on this planet. What matters is what you do now from here.
I cannot promise you safety, prosperity or comfort.
But I can promise you this. One day, your children and grandchildren will ask you: “What did you do when the world was on the edge again? What did you say when the West, Israel and the Jews were blamed again?”
You will look them in the eye and say: I had courage. And on the 24th of Av, I committed to stand with courage… to walk… to march… arm in arm… behind God’s pillar of fire.
Adonai li v’Lo Ira.
God is with me, I fear not.