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Blacks Question Criticism Of Beck

WASHINGTON - Members of the Project 21 black leadership network question the sincerity of establishment civil rights leaders opposing talk show host Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial August 28.

That date is the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

"If this place and time is so sacred, why didn't Al Sharpton or the NAACP already have a permit to use the Lincoln Memorial that day before Beck ever sought one?" asked Project 21 member Lisa Fritsch. "Beck's critics will surely fail if their goal is simply to criticize him for celebrating spirituality and love of country. They may be envious of Beck and scratching their heads that they didn't think of it first, and that's something they'll have to look into their own hearts to figure out."

According its web site, Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally is intended to "celebrate America by honoring our heroes, our heritage and our future" and "pays tribute to America's service personnel and other upstanding citizens who embody our nation's founding principles of integrity, truth and honor." Political signs are discouraged from the event. Beck, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Dr. Alveda King (niece of Dr. King and a member of Project 21) and decorated Navy veteran Marcus Luttrell are among the scheduled speakers.

While Beck stresses a positive and apolitical message, the civil rights lobby apparently refuses to exhibit the tolerance it demands of others when it comes to the "Restore Honor" rally. This concerns many Project 21 members, who see these special interests as actually harming race relations in the long term.

"Liberals are quick to ask for tolerance when it comes to putting a permanent mosque next to Ground Zero, but they were quick to oppose Beck using the Lincoln Memorial on the King anniversary or possibly ever. It's a double-standard," said Project 21 member Jimmie Hollis, who plans to attend the August 28 event.

Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli, who is also planning to be at the Beck event, added: "During these trying times of economic uncertainty and high unemployment, Americas need to rally behind core principles of truth and honor. We need to break away from the race-baiting antics and grand standing from Al Sharpton. Glenn Beck's 'Restoring Honor' rally is a great way to bring freedom-loving Americans together to instill hope and promote our core values that made America great."

Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992.

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