Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Glenn Beck Hosts "Restoring Courage" in Israel

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In an effort to top the success of last year’s Restoring Honor rally, and to garner public support for Israel, conservative pundit Glenn Beck has launched his week of Restoring Courage events, which are taking place in Israel. When Beck announced this event earlier in the year, he said, “God is involved in man’s affairs, but so is the force of darkness. I believe I’ve been asked to stand in Jerusalem. Many in the history of man have had the opportunity to stand with the Jewish people … and they have failed.” For Beck, failure in this area is not an option. He asked his listeners to “stand with me, in Jerusalem” this summer.

And they did. While Restoring Courage could not garner the 500,000 attendees present at last year’s Restoring Honor rally, given this year's location in Israel, it still boasts a significant attendance and sold-out events.

The week of events began at the Caesarea Amphitheater in Israel, where Beck opened his remarks to a crowd of over 3,000 people with, “Welcome to the land of milk and honey!”

Beck reminded his supporters that, like Restoring Honor last year, Restoring Courage is intended to be non-political, saying, “The God of Abraham ain’t running for office.”

The event has been touted as one that will allow Americans and people all over the world to show their support for Israel. Florida pastor Tom Mullins summed up this purpose in his speech to the large crowd at the amphitheater:

It’s time for the people of faith to stand with a courage that flows from God’s deep love and defend Israel!

We are gathered in the very spot, where, centuries ago, the faith of the Apostle Paul was put on trial. Paul resolutely refused to compromise the truth of his faith. He stood with great courage and embraced his destiny; and his life had profound, eternal impact on the world.

Likewise, “Restoring Courage” is intended to encourage supporters of Israel to courageously ally themselves with Israel and its cause. Pastor John Hagee told the crowd:

We have come tonight to say to the people of Israel, you are still the apple of God’s eye, you are still the chosen people, you are still the covenant people, you are still cherished by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Similarly, Beck exhorted his audience, “Honor these people who have honored God for so long.” He also commented on the courage of those in attendance, noting that they have come at “great expense” and at “great risk” to their personal safety.

Beck has also taken the opportunity to criticize the Bush and Obama administrations' drive for a two-state policy as a means to achieve peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Acknowledging the dangers that such a policy would pose for the people of Israel, Beck assured the Israeli people, “We are not our governments. We stand with you.”

The week-long event features a number of prominent speakers and performers, including historian David Barton, Grammy-nominated vocalist Vernessa Mitchell, Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight, and author Mike Evans.

On Sunday, the week-long global event kicked off at the amphitheater in an event called “The Courage to Love.” Focused on the biblical stories of Ruth and Esther, the purpose was to encourage the audience to display their loyalty, love, and courage as they stand with Israel and the Jewish people. At the event, Dr. Mike Evans, award-winning journalist and #1 New York Times bestselling author, shared his personal story of faith and how he came to understand what the courage to love truly means.

Beck told his audience, “We are leaving the age of manmade miracles of spacecraft, and we are entering the age of the miracles of God.”

On Monday, in an event called the Courage to Remember, Beck and his supporters met at the Old Train Station Plaza in central Jerusalem, where they focused on the Holocaust and the strength of its survivors. At the event, a documentary was screened on the Holocaust, which explored the long-term impact on its victims. Following the documentary was a panel discussion, led by Dr. Evans. The event concluded with a candlelight ceremony, wherein a survivor’s family passed a flame from generation to generation.

At Restoring Courage, Beck will also be airing a documentary made for Glenn Beck TV (GBTV), khis new online channel. The documentary features Beck and his wife, Tania, as they visit Auschwitz. Beck’s website explains the function of the documentary:

There is perhaps no single location representing all of history that better depicts pure evil, man’s greatest inhumanity to his fellow man, than the stark, cold set of buildings in southern Poland called Auschwitz-Birkenau. During WWII more than one million people, mostly Jews were executed there. Murdered in cold blood. The Nazis called it “the final solution of the Jewish question in Europe.

From 1942 through 1944 Jews were delivered to the camp’s gas chambers from all over Europe.

But in the face of unthinkable horror there were people who displayed courage beyond imagination. Regular men, women, and children who put their very lives on the line in defense of righteousness. It was a small but important triumph of the human spirit then and equally important lesson for us today.

Restoring Courage will culminate in the main event, Courage to Stand, set for Wednesday, August 24. Hosted at the Davidson Center in Jerusalem, just steps from the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, the event will call upon its visitors to unite with people from all walks of faith. It will honor those who have displayed courage in their struggle for peace and survival in Israel. Beck will call upon those in attendance to stand with Israel. The event will feature a number of reputable speakers such as Rabbi Shumuel Rabinovitch, known as the Rabbi of the Western Wall, as well as Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight, internationally renowned singer Dudu Fischer, and the Jerusalem Great Synagogue Choir.

Tickets for the Courage to Stand have already been sold out, but those who subscribe to GBTV are able to watch the event live on their computers. Likewise, those who were unable to attend the event in Israel may take part in public airings of the event in their local communities. In Brevard County, Florida, for example, two churches will be offering simulcasts of Wednesday’s rally.

Pastor Gary Cristofaro, of First Assembly of God in Melbourne, explains, “We have a love for Israel, and the idea of someone with Glenn Beck’s name recognition advertises the plight of Israel. I think it’s something that draws attention to the U.S.’ relationship with Israel. I think it’s been strained, and a lot of us wish our president would stop putting pressure on them.”

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