Glenn Beck Civil Rights Icon?
My gripe with Glenn Beck has always been with his absurd attempt to claim a connection to Tom Paine.Beck talks in riddles and at a dog whistle like frequency only his genuflecting followers can decode. One minute he stands for everything from victory over the Japanese during WII ( by a liberal president) to being against every advance made in public policy from protecting children from sweat shop labor to Social Security. But the right worships him and Palin like gods - than tell us they think for themselves. Time for a name change that reflects the truth - wacky sheep herd instead of "conservatives".
The furiously self-promotional Fox personality wrote a book last year that he suggested was a contemporary update of Paine's pamphlet "Common Sense."
In fact, Glenn Beck's Common Sense  was short on Paine and long on Beck. And it failed to note the founder's canon of criticism of organized religion, concentrated wealth and know-nothing opponents of government. 
But, as silly as Beck's attempt to claim Paine might have been, his attempt to associate himself with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a radical critic of not just racism but of an economic system left tens of millions in poverty, would be comic if it was not so sad.
Beck and his followers say they are out to "reclaim the civil rights movement."
Reclaim it from who? Presumably the people who were involved in the civil rights movement.
As Martin Luther King III notes : "My father championed free speech. He would be the first to say that those participating in Beck's rally have the right to express their views. But his dream rejected hateful rhetoric and all forms of bigotry or discrimination, whether directed at race, faith, nationality, sexual orientation or political beliefs. He envisioned a world where all people would recognize one another as sisters and brothers in the human family. Throughout his life he advocated compassion for the poor, nonviolence, respect for the dignity of all people and peace for humanity.
"Although he was a profoundly religious man, my father did not claim to have an exclusionary 'plan' that laid out God's word for only one group or ideology. He marched side by side with members of every religious faith. Like Abraham Lincoln, my father did not claim that God was on his side; he prayed humbly that he was on God's side.
"He did, however, wholeheartedly embrace the "social gospel." His spiritual and intellectual mentors included the great theologians of the social gospel Walter Rauschenbush and Howard Thurman. He said that any religion that is not concerned about the poor and disadvantaged, 'the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them[,] is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.' In his 'Dream' speech, my father paraphrased the prophet Amos, saying, 'We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.'"