Glenn Beck, conservative radio host and television personality, is the featured guest at pastor Ed Young Jr.'s Texas megachurch over the July 4th weekend because Beck, long affiliated with the Mormon Church, "is a man who is undoubtedly an American patriot, loves this country, and has shown his love for God in many ways," according to a spokesman.
Beck, 51, will be in attendance at Fellowship Church's Freedom Experience on July 4-5 for "a special interview" with Young, who heads up the multi-campus church that also has a congregation in London.
Fellowship Church hosted an America's Mighty Warriors retreat in May for Gold Star and Purple Heart families — surviving kin of military members who died or were wounded in war — at its sprawling Allaso Ranch in Hawkins, Texas. Beck spoke at the event "for about an hour on heroes and how Americans always rise to the occasion," according to his reflection about the retreat on Facebook.
"It was such a powerful reminder of what our nation is and a beautiful picture of what brought us to where we are that we wanted our entire church to hear it," Fellowship Church spokesman Andy Boyd said of Beck's remarks at the retreat. "He graciously accepted our offer, and we're excited to share this message with thousands who will be here this weekend!"
Boyd said Beck's "knowledge of our history and his understanding of our nation is unmatched."
The Fellowship Church spokesman told CP via email on Tuesday that the Southern Baptist-affiliated church has been hosting the Freedom Experience for many years, and called the festive event "one of the highlights of the Fellowship Church calendar!"
He described the Freedom Experience as "a community-wide event … that highlights and celebrates the freedom we have as a nation and ultimately honors God, who provides freedom for us all through Jesus Christ."
When asked for his response to those who might be interested in attending this year's Freedom Experience but are hesitant to do so because of Beck's affiliation with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Boyd focused on the former Fox News host's "qualifications" for the event instead of his religious affiliations.
"Next weekend is a weekend that we celebrate our freedom as a nation and how we came to be who we are. It's a time to look at our history and look ahead to where we are going in the future," Boyd told CP.
"At Fellowship, we wanted to bring in one of the most qualified people to speak on that subject. Glenn Beck is a man who is undoubtedly an American patriot, loves this country, and has shown his love for God in many ways. His knowledge of our history and his understanding of our nation is unmatched, and we're excited to have him here. We encourage everyone to join us because this is going to be a great weekend to celebrate who we are, where we are, and where we are headed!" Boyd added.
Beck, who enjoys much success among his conservative base while critics claim he is "notorious for his conspiracy theories and incendiary rhetoric," has been associated for years with the Mormon Church.
Orthodox Christians sometimes refer to Mormonism as a Christian cult because its primary text held in reverence with the Bible, the Book of Mormon, teaches that Jesus Christ appeared in North America after his crucifixion and resurrection. Members of the church may also believe that God lives on a planet called "Kolob."
In recent times, the former Fox News host has been seen in the company of various evangelical Christians.
In May, Beck was given "a new mantle for the future" by charismatic preacher Chuck Pierce. Pierce later issued a defensive statement addressing why he gave Beck, who he said "is a Mormon," a cut of cloth believed to be symbolic of one's calling by God.
There was also speculation that Beck might be experiencing a crisis of faith after he revealed in January in a Facebook post: "For the first time in many years I have again begun to question EVERYTHING I think I know."
He also wrote, "I find myself angry with leaders. Business, political, religious."
"I have really come to a place where I have lost my faith in the men of cloth. That is really playing a big role in this. But I am sure they know better and certainly more than I do," Beck went on to share with his nearly 3.2 million followers. "I have lost so much faith in man. Par for the course. Put your faith in God, not men."
A little over a week later, Beck insisted that "there is something really wrong in Utah," the base of the LDS church, reportedly ahead of a private meeting between Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush and former contender Mitt Romney. Beck, suggesting that Bush and Romney were "somehow conspiring to undermine the Tea Party in the GOP presidential primary," warned against Mormons "mix(ing) the Gospel with government."
"Sometimes their theology can go and mix with politics and go wildly wrong!" Beck said. "When Mormons go bad, they go really bad. They go socialist," he added.
Just this week in a Facebook post Beck pushed back against supporters critical of his meeting with the Dalai Lama, whom he referred to as "his Holiness."
We are all in this together. I am not mixing theology, as he knows who is his and I know who I am and worship.
Can we not show each other respect? If everyone I know loves Jesus. I don't know nearly enough people.
I got up this AM and did my scripture study, then I studied the Torah with a wonderful rabbi in Toronto who shared really profound sacred concepts with me and now I am on my way to meet with the Dalai Lama who I am sure will speak to my heart as well.
Why must we condemn other faiths? Why must we judge other people. Discernment is different than judgement. To condemn one to hell is about as judgmental as we could ever get don't you think?
I am going to leave that up to The Lord. I will continue to look for His light and his grace and peace in Everyman that I meet.
In a statement last year meant to address concerns about Beck presenting Mormon theology in his convocation remarks to Liberty University students, the school's then-Senior Vice-President for Communications Johnnie Moore said that "many conservative evangelical leaders who are closer to Beck than me have told me that they believe Beck has had a born-again experience recently."
The Christian Post reached out to a representative for Beck for clarification on his relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. CP was not able to get a response by press time.