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My name is Glenn Beck, and I need help

The Fox News conservative commentator exhorted a sprawling crowd on the Mall on Saturday to restore the traditional American value of honor.

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Taking others along for the ride, a.k.a. evangelism, is also part of the cure. The healed often cannot remain healed without helping others find their way. Beck, who vaulted from radio host to political-televangelist, now has taken another step in his ascendancy -- to national crusader for faith, hope and charity.

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It's an easy sell. Meanwhile, Beck has built a movement framed by two ideas that are unassailable: God and country. Throw in some Mom and apple pie, and you've got a picnic of patriotism and worship.

Wait, did somebody say . . . Mom???

Sister Sarah, come on down!

Yes, Mother Superior made an appearance. Sarah Palin, whom Beck sainted a few months ago during an interview in which he declared her one of the few people who can save America, came to the Mall not to praise politics but to honor our troops.

Palin is the mother of a soldier, after all, and God bless her, and him, and all those who have served. Unassailable. As Palin said, whatever else you might say about her, she did raise a combat soldier. "You can't take that away from me."

Who you? Oh, that's right, The Media. Never mind that Beck is one of the richest members of the media. Or that Palin has banked millions primarily because The Media can't get enough of her. But what's an exorcism without a demon? And who better to cast into the nether regions than the guys lugging camera lights?

Covering all his bases, Beck invoked the ghost of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who stood in the same spot 47 years ago to deliver his most famous speech. Where King had a dream, Beck has a nightmare: "It seems as darkness begins to grow again, faith is in short supply."

Really? When did that happen? Because it seems that people talk about God all the time these days. Even during the heyday of Billy Graham, most Americans could get through 16 or so waking hours without feeling compelled to declare where they stood on the deity.

And the darkness? Creeping communism brought to us by President you-know-who. Conspiracy theories and paranoia are not unfamiliar to those who have wrestled the demon alcohol.

Like other successful revivalists -- and giving the devil his due -- Beck is right about many things. Tens of thousands joined him in Washington and watch him each night on television for a reason. But he also is messianic and betrays the grandiosity of the addict.

Let's hope Glenn gets well soon.

kathleenparker@washpost.com

For more Post opinions about Glenn Beck, read Dana Milbank's Civil rights' new 'owner', Ruth Marcus's The church of Beck, Eugene Robinson's Even Beck can't mar King's legacy, Charles Lane's What Obama doesn't get about Glenn Beck and Ann Telnaes's animation The Glenn Beck show.


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