Over the past several days, Fox News host Glenn Beck has explained that the unrest sweeping the Middle East augurs a New World Order jointly pursued by a combination of George Soros, radical Islamists and communist unions, all aided, apparently, by Google. But on Thursday, Beck literally turned apocalyptic, warning that the seeming chaos could be seen by the Shiite leadership in Iran as a portent of the coming of the 12th Imam, or what his guest Joel Richardson deemed the "Islamic Anti-Christ."
Of course, such hysterical warnings of the End of Days are nothing new for either Glenn Beck or Fox News.
As Media Matters summed up Beck's latest effort to get from here to eternity:
On today's edition of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck tied Islam to the Antichrist described in the New Testament. He even had a side-by-side comparison of the Antichrist and the "12th Imam" or "Mahdi" (terms Beck uses interchangeably to describe the figure many Muslims believe will guide believers in the end times) on his chalkboard.
And to help Beck discuss this connection, Beck hosted Joel Richardson, an anti-Muslim activist who says that Satan will use Islam "to fulfill the prophesies of the Bible" and has written a column headlined "What Obama and the Antichrist have in common."
If that sounds familiar, it should. Beck has been spouting the same Armageddon panic for years dating back to his days at CNN.
On March 30, 2007, Beck invited Left Behind co-creators Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jennings and "acclaimed author" Joel Rosenberg to debate whether the Iranian capture of a British gunboat crew was a sign of the Apocalypse. (Rosenberg, who joined Beck for his program last week, also appeared with him as far back as 2006.) Then as now, Beck appeared, well, rapturous at the prospect:
All this has had me wondering. The increased tension between Iran and the west, is it just one more piece in the puzzle, one more chess move towards the final apocalyptic vision of Iran`s maniacal leaders? Are we, indeed, living in the end times?...
Are the cataclysmic events of 9/11, Katrina, tsunami, famine and the threat of global pandemic signs we`re living in the end times?
One world government, one world economy, one world vision. Are we creeping even closer to the Book of Revelations` countdown to doomsday? And does an age-old prophecy foretell a Russian-Iranian alliance against Israel as well as a nuclear showdown? Apocalypse now?
Just one year later, Beck worried that the Anti-Christ might not be the Mahdi, but presidential candidate Barack Obama. In March 2008, he confessed his fears to End Times Texas Pastor (and John McCain endorser) John Hagee:
BECK: Let me ask you, because I got -- I get so much e-mail on this, and I think a lot of people do, and I`ve only got a couple of seconds. They say Glenn, you and the media, you`ve got to wake up. Barack Obama`s making people faint and cry and everything else. And he`s drawing people in.
There are people -- and they said this about Bill Clinton that actually believe he might be the anti-Christ. Odds that Barack Obama is the anti-Christ?
HAGEE: No chance. He has a lot of charisma. There`s a media love affair with him right now. He is a very formidable political person. I believe the best leader for America in the future is John McCain.
BECK: Thank you very much, Pastor. Back in just a second. That`s good news, at least where I stand.
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