Tag Archives: Orrin Hatch

Glenn Beck’s paranoid religiosity

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck

It strikes me as overly cynical whenever I hear someone argue that Glenn Beck’s just an entertainer who doesn’t mean half the things he says. I find it hard to believe anyone could spew that much toxic rhetoric just for laughs (and money).

Now the Boston Phoenix’s Adam Reilly has advanced an alternative explanation, based on some pretty extensive research. According to Reilly, what animates Beck may be an out-there, retro strain of Mormonism he has embraced with a convert’s zeal.

Unlike mainstream Mormon public figures like Mitt Romney, Orrin Hatch and Harry Reid, Beck, Reilly argues, harks back to the virulent 1950s anti-communism of Ezra Taft Benson, a member of President Dwight Eisenhower’s cabinet who later became head of the LDS Church.

And when Beck says the Constitution is “hanging by a thread,” he’s not just indulging in a cliché — he’s invoking the very specific language of a particular type of religious paranoia.

Reilly’s piece is well worth your time.

Ted Kennedy and the Mormon temple (II)

Paging Kevin Bacon! There’s a heretofore unreported connection between the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and the Mormon temple in Belmont: communications consultant Scott Ferson, president and CEO of the Liberty Square Group.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Ferson was press secretary and Massachusetts issues director for Kennedy from 1990 to 1995. Later, as senior vice president of McDermott/O’Neill, he provided assistance to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in its efforts to build a massive temple in Belmont, a matter of some local controversy.

Ferson, in a comment he posted on Blue Mass. Group about an unrelated matter involving Republican gubernatorial candidate Christy Mihos and Lieutenant Gov. Tim Murray, writes:

[T]he Mormon church was a client of mine, and … I joined Mitt Romney as he gave a tour of the Boston Temple in Belmont to my former boss, Ted Kennedy. Coincidence? Are there really any coincidences in this city?

It remains unclear precisely what Kennedy might have done to help local Mormons, who were finally allowed to build a spire with the Angel Moroni on top after winning a case before the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. But it is a fact that Kennedy was close to Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who claims Kennedy took credit for the Mormons’ success.

I should point out that Ferson is (was?) also involved in the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s efforts to build a gigantic gambling casino in Middleborough — efforts that, fortunately, have bogged down in scandal and controversy, through no fault of Ferson’s.

(Thanks to an alert Media Nation reader for passing this along.)

Ted Kennedy and the Mormon temple

Anthony Schinella has an interesting piece in the Belmont Citizen-Herald examining claims by U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch and former Hatch aide Jared Whitley that the late Ted Kennedy was somehow responsible for ensuring that a sculpture of the Angel Moroni could be built on top of the Mormon temple in Belmont despite local opposition.

But as Schinella notes, it’s hard to see what Kennedy could have done, unless he somehow interceded with the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. It’s a worthy addition to the Kennedy mythology, but unproven as yet.