During Friday’s “Independence Through Enlightenment” at Glenn Beck’s Man in the Moon event, the radio and television host joined historian David Barton, Rabbi Daniel Lapin and Pastor Ken Hutcherson to reveal a new rapid response initiative that is in the works — a grassroots effort to confront cultural and free speech issues that emerge at the local level.
With the project still in its infancy, the men shared just a few pieces about what is to come. But even those small pieces are fascinating.
“We’re developing a rapid response team,” Beck announced at the beginning of the panel discussion, adding that we live in “very dangerous times” — times that require a response from citizens.
The men briefly highlighted their goals and objectives, also spending some time describing the overall framework. Barton detailed the importance of focusing on local communities — the heart of the project. With so many people intent on making change at the federal level, the work that needs to be done at lower levels is sometimes overlooked.
Now, that void will be filled, however the group said the overall project isn’t a political movement as some might assume.
“This is not a political movement … now it has political ramifications,” Barton explained. “But it is not a political movement. It’s not out to do political things.”
This project will be setup in an effort to create a framework to respond to issues in local communities across the nation. Barton provided the example of a kid who gets thrown out of school for making a symbolic gun with his fingers.
Rather than allowing the school board to get away with punishing the child, this theoretical team would ensure that community leaders show up to the next board meeting to make known their discontent over the punishment.
If that doesn’t work and officials don’t listen, then citizens can work to elect new board members.
“What we’re going to do is mobilize folks in every, single community with a quick response team [to respond to] everything that happens in that community,” Barton explained.
The panel discussed two key elements on the initiative: faith and the media. Members drove home the need for a united front. First, rather than focusing on the doctrinal differences between denominations, for example, they called for people of all faiths to cooperate with one another.
Of course, this call had nothing to do with theology, with Barton saying that differences will certainly continue between churches and factions (as they should). But on the community front, he stressed the need for togetherness.
“As long as your pointed in the same direction, same values, we can cooperate together,” Barton added.
Second, they highlighted the power of the press. During the civil rights movement, the historian said that the exposure that television gave to the abuses helped the greater society recognize the horrors that were unfolding. By using video and other mediums to expose local issues that are unfolding, Barton said that the same effect could take place.
“School boards across the country will be afraid of arresting kids for using their finger guns,” he said, also adding, “This is about people standing with backbones and doing the right kind of stuff.”
The overall effort, which may roll out in September, is about “saving a culture.”
Earlier during the panel, Beck also gave the audience a reminder that it’s important for each individual to also examine their own lives and to confront any personal demons.
“I have been asking the audience to clean up your life. Whatever it is that’s in your life, clean it up … get all the secrets out of your life,” the radio and television host said. “If people don’t like you, then so be it. You just be square with God and the truth.”
Beck said that he believes his audience will be the one that helps save souls and important principles. He pointed to the the importance of people who do not care about partisan politics — and called for the audience to show courage, which he said is “contagious.”
As people begin standing up for what they believe in, Beck said be believes “people will run and follow and stand with them.”
Hutcherson, who has stage four cancer, is an unlikely leader in this movement — one who Beck profusely praised. After all, taking the lead on a nation-wide initiative when your health and life are at risk is uncommon.
But the preacher is more than prepared for and open to the task. He encouraged the audience to come together to take the nation back “one family at a time…one county at a time, one city at a time and one state at a time.”
“You know how we start taking back the United States?,” Hutcherson asked the audience. “You! And I’m going to expect great things out of you.”
The details are still being worked through, but the framework will certainly excite freedom-of-speech advocates.