Glenn Beck was the featured convocation speaker at Liberty University on April 25, and it didn't take long for critics to begin attacking the university for inviting him to speak. But Beck said on his radio program Tuesday that many of the attacks haven't actually come from the left.
"Liberty University is being smeared, absolutely smeared, and they're being smeared by religious people [who] claim to be followers of Christ," Beck remarked. "Now, I've read the Bible several times, and I just can't find the place where Jesus hates."
Beck said there's a group of people who identify themselves as Christians, but always seem to "have a problem" with him and men like historian David Barton.
"I want to make it really, really super clear: there is no difference between the people who are currently trying to take down Liberty University because they're 'not Christian enough,' or me because I'm 'not a Christian,' [and] the people who are trying to run other people out of the square."
"This is why your churches are dwindling," Beck continued. "You think you're standing for something, when indeed, you're standing for hate and bigotry. I think Jesus was hanging out with prostitutes and sinners, wasn't he? You won't even listen to a man who says ... 'I challenge you to know your faith, not my faith, your faith so well that you're willing to die for it. Stand with one another.' That frightens you so much? If it does, you might want to consider that you're on the wrong side."
Beck said America is "turning into a land of monsters."
"I look at every single lover of light and truth as my ally, my friend, my brother," he said. "I look at everyone who is my enemy as my brother. I don't care what you say; I don't care what you think your belief is; I don't care what your lifestyle is -- you're not going to change me. And I invite you to join me, join others of multiple faiths -- never asking anyone to change their faith -- asking you to strengthen your faith, whatever it is."
Beck said he wants "nothing to do with you" if your religion is telling you to "kill people, burn their books, shut them up, torture them, imprison them."
"[But] if your faith says: learn about love, learn about goodness, learn about the power of faith, learn about the miracles of God ... I'd love to meet you," he said. "And I'd love to be around you."
Liberty University has also stood by its decision to invite Beck to speak. An email from the office of Johnnie Moore, senior vice-president for communications and assistant to the president at Liberty University, was posted at Religion News Service.
"College is about learning," the email read. "How can you defend what you believe if you don’t understand what others believe? I believe our students are stronger in their faith because of our convocation speaker series and the wide diversity of views that they have been privileged to hear in person over the last few decades."
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