'Glenn Beck': Founders' Friday: George Whitefield

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," May 14, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: Welcome to another Friday from New York. Hello, America.

The premise of these Fridays is to get to know our Founding Fathers. Why? Because back in the early 1900s, the progressives had an idea to fundamentally transform America — and it crashed the first time, it didn't work. They've been doing it in bits and pieces the whole time.

It didn't work the first time because they knew they had to fix three things. One: Undermine the Constitution. They had to get us off the Constitution. Stop reading it. It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter. Just look at this flaw. OK?

They also started case law — study case law instead of the founders' words.

The second thing they had to do is undermine the Founding Fathers. We loved these guys up until about 1920 to 1940. And then we started losing interest in them, OK?

We loved them! They had to take them apart. It's 1920-ish that they first start revealing that they're just racist, white rich guys. OK?

Then the last one was: undermine faith and religion.

Tonight, we're going to restore one of the Founding Fathers, one you've probably never even heard about, and it will also teach you a little bit about faith and religion. So, it's two in one shot.

We have studio audience in tonight.

We're going to talk to you, guys, a little bit, and questions. But I want to know — who here knew about George Whitefield before you were invited to come?

Three people. Three people.

I had never heard of this guy.

How many have read up since you got the invitation to come? OK.

Were you amazed at what you learned?


BECK: Do you think there would have been a revolution without him?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: There wouldn't.

BECK: There wouldn't have been.

So, how come, America, you've never heard of him? Well, I'll explain throughout the rest of the evening. And I have some experts here. They're going to teach you about him — and he's an amazing guy.

But, first, I want to tell you a little bit about — we're all looking for answers, right? That's what we're here. We're here to restore some of these things. If you want to hold on to America, you have to restore them.

And we're all looking for answers and there are a lot of answers. And most people are just focused on politics and everything else. This show is going to be different.

About a year-and-a-half ago, I started the 9/12 Project. Now, I haven't talked about it much on this program because it's not my project. I'm a proud 9/12-er myself, but I'm not involved in running it or anything else.

This was a project for you. You do it. You put it together. Get together.

But I want to give a little piece advice to the 9/12 group. You need to double your efforts. You need to get more people into the project.

Tea parties, you play a valuable, valuable role. But your role really is Washington.

And I advice the tea parties to be very careful, because you're not rooted in values and principles. That doesn't mean you don't have values and principles, it means it's not your charter. What are your charter values and principles?

And 9/12 members, if you're not studying if value and principle, if you're not looking at that, and you're not rooting yourself in that and the Founding Fathers, well then you're doing something different.

Nine-twelve Project is not a tea party. It wasn't a political action committee. It was a preservation committee.

As I saw it as a way for people to get together, know they weren't alone, and then to learn and teach each other about the values and principles that were important to the founding of our country. This is really important right now because, just like any kind of movement, especially a rights movement, there will be others that join you.

Martin Luther King wasn't alone. There were a couple of other people that wanted to change the world. There was Malcolm X. They didn't — only one of them stood. There was another one, William Ayers.

Which one succeeded? The one that was in values and principles, Martin Luther King. It's important.

We're going to go through tough times in them coming months and years. Europe is on its way — we're seeing the very beginning of Europe falling apart. And things, when it falls, things are going to come that are going to come crashing down on our heads. And they're going to come down crashing quickly. And we're all going to be — somebody is going to say, come follow me, follow me. Follow me. That direction is going to be a global direction.

Values and principles and remembering who our founders were — you need to teach your children now. You need to see these things for yourself and then you must teach yourself and then you must teach your children. I've said for years now to wives and mothers, you must now start to see yourself as Sarah Connor. You must equip your children with the information they need to survive an ever-changing world.

Ronald Reagan said many years ago, if this country fails and falls, where will the rest of the world go for freedom? But he also said this: America is the last stand. On the globe, there is no other place. And if this generation loses man's freedom — according to Ronald Reagan — this generation will not see it again.

I just the other day read a letter between Thomas Jefferson and James — or John Adams. It was 1920 — 1823, 1824. And they were going back and forth and they were talking about, wow, this is going to fall apart at some point. And Thomas Jefferson said, yes, yes. But if they lose freedom — he's speaking of us — future generations, if they lose freedom, there will be rivers of blood.

I mean, he talks about rivers of blood three or four times before we finally gain freedom back. Boy, I hope that's not true. But I can tell you there will be rivers of blood if we don't have values and principles. Second attempt, third attempt, fourth attempt — it's going to take a while to turn it back around.

You must see yourself as guardian, somebody who will preserve what is true and pass it on. Be a guardian. We don't need militants or revolutionaries. We need guardians. We need leaders.

There are plenty of Minutemen. People willing to be Minutemen. Where are the people that want to be George Washington? Where are the Benjamin Franklins? Where is Sam Adams? Where is John Adams?

That's what the 9/12 Project is. It's not to create warriors but to create great minds that understand freedom to be able to be the next George Washington. That is your role.

Now, it may be that you're George Washington. It may be that you're George Whitefield. It may not be that. It may be that you have to inspire somebody to be that. You may be raising the next George Washington. Guide them, shape them.

Live the principles and the values. Almost nobody in this country is living them. Learn the truth. Live the life of our founders. Be a decent, righteous, forthright honest man or woman.

Just do this one thing: promise yourself you'll never deal underhanded to anybody. You'll be honest in all of your business dealings. That is hard. Conquer that one.

Demand it of yourself. Demand a higher standard for yourself and your children and do it now.

Your children need to see an example. Your children need to learn these things. Children must be prepared. Your children need to know what is true and what is not. What it is to work; what merit is.

There's one thing — there's one thing that I learned from George Whitefield. And that is individual rights and standing out alone, being a guy who — this guy took eggs and tomatoes to the head all the time. This guy was an outcast all the time. He was a preacher.

Look at him. I don't think I can take him seriously. I mean, look at him. I hope that's not really what he looked that. But —


BECK: He stood there. He wasn't in a church. No church would let him speak. He went outside in the snow and the rain — alone.

He was fascinated by Moses and so am I. When Moses went out in the wilderness, the Israelites — man, they were — they were — they were constantly complaining. "I'm hot, I'm cold. Are we there yet?" I mean, over and over and over again.

Moses got to the point where he's like, OK, OK, God, just kill me now. I can't be with these people anymore, OK?

They were having a tough time. God was not some distant concept. He was personal to Moses. He really said, just take me now. Just kill me now.

God said, I'm going to send some fiery snakes because I'm sick of those people, too.

And here's what happened. He said to Moses, "Moses, just take one of the snakes, make a representation of it and put it on a stick, and tell everybody to look at it. If they are bitten by the fiery serpent, then just tell them to look at the stick and they'll be fine."

What would you do? What would you do?

I'd be like you got to be kidding me, right? I'm going to look at the stick? I don't think so. I mean, if I would have had, you know, seas open up and the water from the rock and everything else, I might have listened to Moses, but a lot of them didn't, because it was too simple. It was too simple. It didn't make sense.

Well, what is that story really about? What is the message? The message Moses was bringing is look to God and live. Look to God and live.

There's going to be a lot of answers. A lot of them are going to be complex. Don't dismiss the simple one.

It's not about you. It's not about me. It's really about our children and their freedom — their freedom to look to God to live.

I want to bring in two experts now on George Whitefield. Thomas Kidd, associate professor and history of Baylor University and author of "The Great Awakening."

How are you?


BECK: Have a seat.

Also, he is joined here by Jerome Mahaffey.

How are you, sir?


BECK: He is associate professor of communications at Indiana University East and author of "Preaching Politics: The Religious Rhetoric of George Whitefield and the Founding of a New Nation."

Guys, first of all, neither of you thought I'm going to do a national show on George Whitefield soon, right? Am I the first person to say — yes.

He's totally erased from most people's history books. Now, most people have never heard of George Whitefield. How big of a role do you think he played?

KIDD: Well, one of the things you have to start with, with Whitefield, he was the best-known person in colonial America, period.

BECK: How is that possible? That's like — of all sudden, I was going to say actually I could see this happen. That's like in 200 years people saying, Michael Jackson, who? What? I mean, that — he was that big of a rock star, right?

KIDD: Yes, he was. He's the equivalent of someone saying that, you know, they never heard about Billy Graham or something like that.

BECK: Right.

KIDD: There's a lot to know about Whitefield. He was the primary instigators of the Great Awakening of the 18th century. He spoke to and was seen by far the most people in colonial America and before the revolution, he was simply the best known person in America.

BECK: OK. Now, he actually — he had this weird ability to be able to speak in front of crowds, outside, because nobody would — nobody would let him preach in church. So, he would speak out in crowds of sometimes 20,000 people. And everybody could hear him, and they said, without screaming, right?

MAHAFFEY: That's right. He was trained in the theater as a youth. He was a talented actor. Of course, they would develop your vocal projection and your ability to get your voice out there.

But he also had this — a gift, a gifted voice. Sarah Edwards, Jonathan's wife, called it "sweet." Ben Franklin called it like "a beautiful piece of music." That's all they could compare his voice to.

So, he had a voice that people loved to listen to just for the sound of it. And he could extend it out to large groups of people.

BECK: Franklin actually walked the perimeter one time, right?

KIDD: Whitefield took a lot of criticism for over-inflating the numbers in the newspaper. As you know, they said, oh, 20,000 people, c'mon!

BECK: Right.

KIDD: And so Franklin actually checked it out because Franklin and Whitefield were very good friends. Among the major founders, Franklin is Whitefield's closest friend.


KIDD: And there was a time when Franklin went to Philadelphia and marked out the boundaries and everything to say, is this true? Could 30,000 people, you know, or so really hear him at one time? And Franklin said, absolutely.

BECK: Strange because we're told that Franklin is a godless heathen and it's strange that he would become friends with a guy who was responsible for the Great Awakening. What did they — besides the fact that Franklin wasn't a godless heathen, what did they see in each other?

MAHAFFEY: They probably saw a bit of each other in one another. They were public figures. They were both celebrities in a sense and so they — and they were both very involved in the printing industry.

Of course, Franklin is a printer; Whitefield as the writer. And they were — they did a lot of projects together early on is how they came to know each other. And, in fact, they were close enough that Franklin wanted to move out to Ohio, the Ohio territory with Whitefield and start a new colony.

BECK: Right. I think that's amazing. I never read that before.

Now, let me ask you this because I — I can't imagine anybody saying this. They said that Whitefield was emotional and fake about it. They said that he was an entertainer. They said that he didn't believe any of this stuff, he was just doing it for money.

MAHAFFEY: No, no, no. Basically.


BECK: Why would they say that?

MAHAFFEY: They feared him. He — you know, Ben Franklin would have known a fake, I think.

BECK: Yes.

MAHAFFEY: And, you know, maintained a fairly close relationship with him throughout Whitefield's life, right? Whitefield died before Franklin.

And nobody ever really accused him of sounding fakes, even his critics. That wasn't one of the problems they had with it. They were afraid of him and afraid of what he said.

BECK: You know, I want to get into what he said here in a second, but let me — let me go to this because you said Franklin would have sensed a fraud. Tell the story — which one of you knows the story about when Franklin came to listen to him and said, "I'm not giving this guy a dime"?

KIDD: Well, Franklin, he came — as you said — to a meeting one time. And Whitefield, one of the reasons Whitefield was criticized is because he raised a lot of money for his orphanage in Georgia.

BECK: He was like the first televangelist without the "tele" part.

KIDD: Right. And I think of that —

BECK: Yes.

KIDD: That kind of religious celebrity is what he was about. And he raised enormous amounts of money for charity, especially for his orphanage. And Franklin and Whitefield had — they had a funny relationship. I mean, if you — if you ever get a chance and go back and look at Franklin's autobiography, he has a nice section in there about his relationship with Whitefield.

And it's funny because they were different on religion.

BECK: Right.

KIDD: Even though Franklin believed in God, he believed in Providence, but skeptical about traditional Christianity.

BECK: Right.

KIDD: So, they had — you know, they kind of understood one another. And so, Franklin went to one of his meetings and he said: I know he's going to ask for money and I'm not giving anything.

And Franklin — Whitefield started speaking and Franklin said: Oh, I guess I'll give the coppers in my pocket. Next thing you know he was giving the silvers. And by the time the sermon was over, he emptied the whole thing out, including the gold.

BECK: Right.


BECK: OK. Now, this guy is the reason. This is the guy that, really, the Black Robe Brigade started — the preachers started talking about individual freedoms and there probably wouldn't have been a revolution if it wasn't for this guy. There also wouldn't have been necessarily a deep personal relationship with God — and not only just this country, but also in England as well.

You need to meet this guy. Next.


BECK: Tonight, we're talking on "Founders' Fridays" about George Whitefield. And there are plenty of stories that you can find — I promise you — you never learned in school. You'll find more stories on the Insider Extreme at GlennBeck.com/extreme. You will find more stories tonight on George Whitefield.

Also, this weekend, Insider Extreme is going to be streaming my speech at the NRA's annual conference. I'm giving it on Saturday — all the details at GlennBeck.com. And I'm also giving the commencement address at Liberty University. Both of those will be carried live on Insider Extreme.

OK. Back with Thomas Kidd and Jerome Mahaffey. And we're talking about George Whitefield.

And I want to — I just want to set the scene a little bit. When he's young, he is over in England, and he's famous over in England first. He converts — he becomes a Methodist.

But then he has kind of a really strange relation — or strained relationship with most of the preachers. That comes from the preachers really being, you know, Church of England. It was like, you know, it was like having Barack Obama give your sermon all the time, I would imagine, where it's government — you know, it's the government spin through the eyes of God.

And they didn't really care about the poor, because they won't — the poor didn't vote, right? And he was the first guy that says — wait a minute, guys, they're out there — there are people out there cold and hungry. And that caused some real strain in England.

MAHAFFEY: One of the issues that caused strain was he would say about the ministers of the established churches that "I don't think you really know what Christianity is all about. You inherited your Christianity, rather than chosen it as a belief."

BECK: He was the first guy that really kind of made popular the idea of "born again," right?

MAHAFFEY: He called it the "new birth."

BECK: Right.

MAHAFFEY: That's the term that was circulating then.

BECK: Right. And they didn't like it because they were like — I mean, look at the way they were dressed. They're all stuffy and — and he gets emotional. He's like feel it!

KIDD: Right.

BECK: Yes.

KIDD: Well, and, of course, when he talks about the experience of being born again, this is something that Jesus talked about —

BECK: Right.

KIDD: — is that you'll never see the kingdom of heaven unless you are born again. And I think Whitefield understood to be a heart-level relationship with God. That it's not just going to church, assenting to doctrine, but having a personal experience with God, that affects your heart, not just your mind, because it's a relationship.

And people, of course, got very emotional about this. I mean — and you said about the poor — I mean, he would go to the coal miners, for instance, and go and say God loves you, God cares about you. Even though nobody else cares about you, but God loves you.

BECK: And nobody said that. Back in those days, that was not done, right? But he went to the coalmines.

I read a story where he went to the woods and nobody had — these are people that couldn't read, write. Nobody — they were outcasts of society. And it took an immense amount of courage for him.

He comes up on a hill and he just says, "God loves you." And people stopped and listened to him for a while and a crowd gathers. They had never been preached to before. They had — at least that way. He didn't use the rhetoric. He was speaking the common man's language.

MAHAFFEY: He was a common man. He came from a poor family. His father had died and his mother struggled to make a living running an inn that the family owned. So, they were kind of a merchant class of England.


MAHAFFEY: And yes — but they weren't wealthy. And he could speak their language. That was his language.

BECK: OK. So, now, he comes over to America and he's back and forth in America all the time. What is it that he is talking about that stirs — we know that he stirs people to trouble in England because he's challenging the Church of England. He's saying, you know, you got to feel it in here. You guys are dead inside.

And he's causing people to be unstable. He said they're whipping — he's whipping people up into a frenzy. And they're all emotional and, you know, all the stuff that Obama says about the tea parties now.

Tell me about when he comes here to America. What is his message that begins to light the fire for the American Revolution?

KIDD: One thing you have to understand about colonial America is that most of the colonies also had established state churches. Just like in England, many of the colonies, the Church of England was their state church.

BECK: Right.

KIDD: And so, he's addressing many of the same problems there. He says, "Your religion has become routine and lifeless to you." "I'm not even sure," Whitefield says, "that the priests get it, you know? Are you priests even in your heart Christians?"

And, of course, this is very offensive. I mean, it needs to be said, but it's also very offensive. And so, if you are a pastor and he says this about you, you are banned from the church, right?

BECK: Right.

KIDD: And so, he ends up in trouble almost everywhere that he goes. And he's often banned from the churches. But for Whitefield, this plays right into his hands because then he has full permission to go into the fields and have these mass meetings. And that's where he feels the most comfortable.

BECK: Now, he is — he is attacked. I mean, they've thrown rotten eggs at him, tomatoes. I read an account of somebody threatened him with a bolt (ph). You know, I mean, who is setting this stuff up? Were these just people who didn't like him or were this — was this kind of a set-up?

MAHAFFEY: Well, this kind of opposition was going on in England. It didn't happen in America. And what Whitefield felt the Anglican- established clergy were behind a lot of this. This was never proven in history. But —

BECK: So like maybe the pastors' unions.

MAHAFFEY: Hiring some thugs to go out and break up the meeting.

BECK: I'm just saying, there was an Andy Stern in the story some place.


BECK: All right.

KIDD: And I think, sometimes, when you strike a chord with people and you start gaining that kind of celebrity —

BECK: Yes.

KIDD: — sometimes it makes people mad.

BECK: Sure.

KIDD: You may have some experience.

BECK: No. I have no idea what he's talking about.


BECK: Back in just a second.



BECK: Last weekend, I was in New Jersey and speaking in front of a group and there were several pastors in the audience. About 1,000 people there. I started to talk about the guy we're talking about tonight, George Whitefield, and I started to talking, telling the story about who this guy was and what he taught the American people.

When I finished, an African-American pastor, Evangelical got up and he was going to say the closing prayer. He got up and he looked at me and he said, "I am never going to preach the same again. I know exactly what I'm supposed to be doing now. It all makes sense to m me."

I think George Whitefield is a man for today. He's complicated and controversial. We'll get to his views on slavery, which were bizarre, but a man of his time, I guess. He was a man who was years before the revolution, was teaching colonists they could have a relationship with God, they could stand up to authority, he's the man that laid the groundwork for the revolution.

He's the guy who taught America stand up for yourself as an individual. Whitefield. If there was no Whitefield, no revolution. Back with Thomas Kidd, Associate Professor of History at Baylor University and author of "The Great Awakening" and the roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America. Could you make the title any longer?

And Jerome Mahaffey, he is the Associate Professor of Communication of Indiana University East and author of "Preaching Politics: The Roots of Religious Rhetoric of George Whitefield and the Founding of a New Nation".

OK, let's just go back to the question I asked last time. Why no George Whitefield? Tell me about his idea of individual rights versus collective rights, the power of the individual.

THOMAS KIDD, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY: I think at the heart of the message he was trying to teach people in England and America was that an individual needs to take responsibility for his or her own faith. That God is offering them salvation through Christ and that they need to individually appropriate that.

And it made, I think — there was an implication within that, that all people are also equal before God. Because they stand before — in the same relationship to God, their need of salvation. They're all created by God. So they are equal before God. You mentioned about slavery earlier. I mean, he did have complicated views about slavery, but one thing is clear — -

BECK: It's not too complicated. He was for it. He brought it to Georgia.

KIDD: Right, right. Well, yes, and he was a slave owner, unfortunately. But he was clear that slaves had souls and needed to be saved.

BECK: Which was an odd idea back in his time or not?

KIDD: Well, there were some slave masters who were part of the church of England who said we don't even need to tell these slaves about Christianity, because we're not even sure that they are even able to be saved. Besides, if we tell them about Christianity, they may start getting ideas about freedom and liberty.

BECK: Yes they would.

KIDD: And, you know, Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt and this sort of thing. We don't want to tell them about that.

BECK: He was also — he strangely is for slavery, but when he got to Maryland, when he first — made his first trek to Georgia from New York, he's coming down through Maryland and he first sees plantations and he is horrified at slavery.

He is for slavery, but horrified because he thinks they're being treated — he said you be kind to slaves, they have souls. He didn't make that final leap. I found it so bizarre that he was for slavery, but couldn't get his arms around the way you were treating — like there is a good way to treat your slave.

KIDD: Right, well, in that sense, he's as problematic as the bible is about this because the bible has verses that say things like, you know, masters be kind to your slaves and he just took that at face value and hadn't quite gotten to the point where he would question even the institution.

BECK: But he did over in England, if I'm not mistaken. He did have influence on Newton, John Newton, right?

KIDD: Right.

BECK: John Newton. Play this clip, this from one of my favorite movies. "Amazing Grace." Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just asked me to take them on.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm the last person you should come to for advice. I can't even say the name of any of my ships without being on board them in my head. All I know is 20,000 slaves live with me in this little church and there is still blood on my hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you help me, John?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't help you. Do it. Do it.


BECK: That is the man who wrote "Amazing Grace," the song. When you know the story, here's a guy who believed in slavery, yet played a role in inspiring that man. Sometimes history is a little complex. Back in a second.


BECK: Thomas Kidd, Jerome Mahaffey, talking about George Whitefield, a founder that you probably never heard. He's really not a founder, he's more of the seed for the founders. He is the guy who I said at the beginning to the 9.12 group. Grow them. Grow them. That is what he did. Unbeknownst to him. Barbara has a question on George Whitefield.

BARBARA SAMUELLS, ACCOUNTANT: Yes. As you're saying we want to grow more people like George Whitefield. When I was reading about George Whitefield, I was amazed at what he came from, that he grew up in such poverty, that he never had a father figure in his life. He was not a great student. He got into youthful scrapes and yet, I want to know, so many of our American youth share those circumstances or many of them. What was it that motivated him at age 18 to decide to work his way through Oxford? What can our youth learn from him?

MAHAFFEY: That is a tough question. He writes about this in his journal and he saw an opportunity to go to college and become educated. He wanted to become a clergyman. That was the career he had chosen without the personal relationship.

BECK: Yes, it was more of a job, wasn't it?

MAHAFFEY: More of a job.

BECK: A calling.

KIDD: Prestige, too. Early on. He decided to do that before his conversion.

BECK: Right.

MAHAFFEY: And then he was converted in college hanging out with John and Charles westerly and others of what we call "The Holy Club" now, or they called it that back then, I believe. Then his life, now he had a mission. At some point, he made it his mission to make the whole world his parish.

BECK: You know, I have to tell you. I think Barbara, what I learned is, but Ben Franklin — does anybody know Ben Franklin's view on poverty and the poor? It's shocking. Nobody would say it today. He said you want to help the poor? Make them uncomfortable in their poverty, they will pull themselves out.

He was uncomfortable in his poverty. So he wanted to do something about it. Get out. But then he fell in with the right kind of friends and then was transformed. I think the lesson, those lessons, but then it's followed by stand up, know what you believe and then stand up for it. No matter what arrows come. Tom?

TOM OCCHIPINTI, HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER: Yes, I guess I'm starting to learn more about him as the show is progressing, but there is still a part of my understanding that is dark. He affected the culture and the spiritual nature of the American spirit. What part — except maybe indirectly, but is there a more direct part that he played in the political landscape itself?

He died if I'm not mistaken in 1770, six years before the revolution. Was there something to be had that had a direct impact on the political future of the country, or was it just through — I don't mean to diminish it when I say "just." Was it through the culture, the society and the spirit of the country?

MAHAFFEY: Well, you're correct. It was through the culture and society. He had probably a very profound impact on a lot of people. Not everyone, but many. perhaps even a majority of American society. Yet as his ministry, as his enterprise, it's been called, the years passed by, he became more and more politically active for the Whig Party.

BECK: Which is the one — that's like the libertarians.

MAHAFFEY: They were — yes.

BECK: They were the freedom.

MAHAFFEY: And they wanted a strong parliament, the people having a say in making of the laws. The Tories, of course, were the pro-king party.

BECK: I have to tell you — don't dismiss, we have to take a break. Don't dismiss the power, look at what has happened to our culture now. The power of the suggestion that you can't make it, you'll never make it. You need a hand-out. You need this and you need that. His was the opposite message.

His message was no, you got a direct channel here, that's all you need! And I think that idea of the power of the individual that has been lost in — it wasn't here in America was lost in America and needs to be regrown now, I think, is the key. Back in just a second.


BECK: Back with guests Thomas Kidd and Jerome Mahaffey. We're talking about George Whitefield, our founder for Friday today.

KIDD: I just wanted to follow up on this issue about Whitefield's political involvement. As the 1760s went on, he did become very overtly involved with crisis between Britain and the colonies.

In fact, he may have been one of the earliest people from Britain to start warning the colonists that there was trouble coming. There are reports that in 1764, he came to America and said there is trouble coming from Britain. And your golden days are at an end, is the quote of what he said. Began warning people ahead of time this was coming.

MAHAFFEY: He called it, "There is a deep laid plot against your civil and religious liberties."

BECK: Hang on, hang on. There is a — what is it again?

MAHAFFEY: A deep laid plot.

BECK: There is a deep laid plot.

MAHAFFEY: Against both your civil and religious liberties, your golden days are at an end. My heart bleeds for you, America.

KIDD: That's right. So when he goes back to England and his there with his good friend, Franklin. When Franklin testifies before parliament on the colony's behalf because of their protests against the Stamp Act, and Whitefield I think behind the scenes is advocating against the Stamp Act.

By the time he get to Whitefield's passing in 1770, on his last trip to America, he dies in Massachusetts. The funeral sermons by the colonial pastors are saying, he is largely to thank for the repeal of the Stamp Act and they say, he was a true patriot, not just in words but also in actions. So they interpreted him as having a very significant role in the resistance.

BECK: You can understand how significant his role was also by what Benedict Arnold's men did. Before they went into battle — I mean, this is shocking today. But just as Moses, right, was carried in the land of milk and honey. The tablets representing him, what did they do here?

MAHAFFEY: Well, in 1775 when the war had started, independence wasn't yet declared but in September, 1775, there was a campaign being led by Benedict Arnold that man who would later became a great traitor against Quebec and some of the troops stopped in Newberry Port, Massachusetts, which is where Whitefield is buried.

It was a Sunday so they didn't want to keep marching along. So they had a parade and they had a church service and then this is where it gets weird. The officers went down to the crypt where Whitefield was buried, they opened up the tomb and took his clerical collar and wristbands and they cut them up and distributed them among the officers to go out on the campaign.

BECK: So they could wear them in battle.

MAHAFFEY: So they could take it with them and I think as you said this speaks to just the power and resonance of Whitefield in that culture at that time. They see him as somehow the representative of what the revolution is about.

BECK: I think it also says something about how our culture has far too many spooky movies, because I'd be too chicken to go open up the crypt and get some stuff. I don't think so! Back, final thoughts here in a minute.


BECK: Sitting with a group of people here in New York, and we're talking about George Whitefield. Yes, this is a show that — this is so sexy! I can see why people watch. A guy who most people don't even know and Rhonda, yes, you had a question.

RHONDA TAYLOR-CALINDA, CFO, MILLENNIUM HOMES: Why aren't our children learning more about George Whitefield? He had such power and impact on our society.

KIDD: Well, I think in America we have a hard time dealing with the topic of religion in the public schools. Somehow if you talk about somebody like Whitefield does it mean you are endorsing him? I don't think so.

BECK: You know, America, it's time to start talking about religion and time to start talking about the truth about all of these guys and if Jesus is involved, Jesus is involved. Get over it. The truth will set us free.

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