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Well, my recent posts on media bias continue to generate some heat (comments, actually — but I liked the sound of “heat”). Valued reader and childhood friend to The MonT-SteR, David, chimes in with the following:

Perspectives can vary so widely. I perceive that about half the nation is more than a little sympathetic to evangelical Christian ideology; it is prominent in Congress and on several network and cable television programs. It is all over college campuses and it is in missions around the world. Our President was elected and reelected in part because of his evangelical bent, and its appeal to the masses. He even has gotten government agencies to give borrowed Federal dollars to many evangelical groups in support of their religious and community initiatives. To describe the life of evangelical Christians in this country as even close to “persecution” is very foreign to me, if not a little hyperbolic.

David’s comments here highlight part of my love-hate relationship with writing, particularly about my understanding of what an authentically Christian worldview is. Everything has caveats and/or depends on a broader context to be fully understood or explained with complete clarity. Of course, as a blogger with a full-time job and a toddler, I don’t always have the time or ability to engage in the full rigors of theological inquiry each and every night. Believe it or not, this bothers me a great deal, because I feel that I run the risk of 1) not doing justice to the faith I so dearly hold, and/or 2) being misunderstood.

I make this disclaimer because David is obviously puzzled by my use of the word “persecution” in relation to Christian life in America. I need to make myself more thoroughly understood, because I readily cede his point. Those of us who profess Christ here in the U.S.A. really know NOTHING of true persecution. As David suggests, a large segment of the populace claims to be a part of Christendom, and (love `em or hate `em) their faith-based values do have an influence on the political scene of our country. Moreover, we are free to worship Jesus in this country anytime we choose without running the risk of being incarcerated or beheaded.

Nevertheless, it is inarguable that there are also plenty of Americans that really are unsympathetic or even hostile to Christianity and its adherents. I’ve interacted with some of them in my time, and the worst I’ve suffered is some shouting and name-calling (especially on those college campuses David mentioned). Rejection, certainly, but persecution? Perhaps not. There are, however, those who have suffered far worse for naming Jesus as Lord in this country; I don’t think it’s very defensible to assert that it never happens. And I think it’s pretty safe to say that it happens with increasing frequency in modern times and in certain sectors of our culture. Of course, it hardly reaches the level of the Holocaust or Stalin’s purgings, which are clear examples of persecution. So I can understand David’s befuddlement.

In any case, my purpose in bringing up the Bible verses that deal with persecution and rejection was primarily to grapple with what Chris Ridgeway appeared to be saying:

There will always be those who are unfriendly to Christianity in varying degrees. It’s predictable. Quit whining and find a more godly way to respond to it.

I was attempting to acknowledge that his underlying premise (if I understood it correctly) was grounded in Scripture. He was using that premise to question the wisdom or fruitfulness of fussing over media bias, especially of the sort I was pointing out. Although I agreed with his underlying logic, I don’t know that his conclusion necessarily follows. I could be wrong, though. 🙂

David continues:

I think Senator Clinton’s comments were inappropriate and pandering, and ill-chosen.


It is a mistake to declare someone else within or
outside of God’s favor. Such as when Pat Robertson asserted that Ariel Sharon had earned his fatal health problems by angering God, as if the Reverend has magic insight into what an inscrutable and eternal force intends.

Here I feel like I’m pinned between the proverbial sword and the wall. On one hand, Dr. Robertson has done a great deal of good in this world. For example, he founded and continues to oversee Operation Blessing, which is one of the most active and innovative international Christian relief agencies in existence. He also launched Regent University, where I received a fine seminary education that I treasure deeply. I and many others have been blessed as a direct result of the work of Dr. Robertson’s hands. Having said that, I have to agree with you, David, about his comments vis-a-vis Ariel Sharon’s illness. Beyond offensive, they were hurtful. It’s a strange thing that someone as ardently pro-Israel as Dr. Robertson would utter something so injurious to Sharon’s family and the Israeli people.

I believe the media simply passed over the Senator’s comments in
large part because they are vague and confusing, which is the mark of a
successful politician.

Mm, here we part company. I don’t think Hillary’s comments were at all vague or confusing. It’s clear to me that she equated a conservative position on illegal immigration with criminalizing Christ Himself. That’s very pointed and direct language. It’s also outrageous.

Pat Robertson’s offensive comments were specific and extremely rude, and directed against an individual with a terminal condition; Hillary Clinton’s comments were directed against a policy and the general people who might support it. I think both comments
were wrong, and I think the media were justified in covering them differently.

Well, sure. I wasn’t expecting the media to treat them identically in every respect. Of the two, I think Dr. Robertson’s comments were more inexcusable. My point is that both comments were undeniably outrageous (not that they were equally outrageous). I still find it curious that Hillary’s own Bible-thumping pillory hardly caused a blip on the mainstream media’s radar screen. It’s not that the media covered Hillary’s comments differently; they hardly covered it at all! As I see it, there are only four possibilities that explain this phenomenon:

  1. The media didn’t know about what Hillary said, which is ridiculous.
  2. The media didn’t care about what Hillary said, which I also find hard to believe. This is, after all, Sen. Clinton we’re talking about.
  3. The media didn’t think it was newsworthy. Possible, but unlikely on balance for the reasons cited above.
  4. The media didn’t have a problem with what Hillary said, i.e., they tacitly agreed with it in some capacity.

I’m putting my money on #4.

Love ya, Dave. Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing your thoughts. Come back often — I value your readership and your input. And please, be sure to do your laundry in the washing maching maching (it’s an inside joke, folks).

Next up: The MonT-SteR REPORT’s 100th BLOG POST!!!


aka The MonT-SteR

P.S. David and I were best friends as kids, and we had lots of fun together. In a word, we were very silly. We made each other laugh so hard with such frequency that our teachers wouldn’t let us sit together during class, and our parents feared for our lives at the dinner table (the excessive laughter also caused lots of choking on food).

When David’s family moved to Baltimore just before we entered the 6th grade, I was crushed. Happily, we continued our friendship well into high school and usually spent a week or so together each summer. One particular summer when I was visiting David in Baltimore, he bought a whoopee cushion. I, on the other hand, was suddenly obsessed with learning how to be a ventriloquist, and spent hours practicing with a Lester dummy that belonged to David’s sister. For two 13-year-olds, bad ventriloquism and a whoopee cushion were just the combination needed to create hours of prepubescent fun.

Luckily for the world, said prepubescent fun was captured on audio tape for posterity. And so I am able to present to you these precious audio clips, which are probably unlike anything you have ever heard:

Clip 1
Clip 2
Clip 3
Clip 4

Sorry, David. I couldn’t resist any longer.