Occasionally there comes to one’s attention a
statement or an opinion which merits a response.
All too often those opportunities are passed over
due to the pressures of seemingly more urgent
ways to use the time. The recent sudden death of
Jerry Falwell and the attendant media coverage
of his life and ministry is a case in point. Some –
hopefully most – of the media coverage was quite
fair and accurate, focusing on his legacy – the truly
"mega church" he started and built ... the great
university he founded and developed ... his never
swerving allegiance to the Christian faith and his
intense patriotism and love of country.
But there were detractors, easily categorized under
several labels: liberals, atheists, homosexuals – the
usual line-up of those who support the agenda of
the ACLU and oppose the mission of the Christian
church. Thus one of their typical responses was
selected by TIME Magazine as a Letter to the Editor
to be printed in their "Inbox," in the June 11 issue:
"Jerry Falwell is now in a better place, side by side
with the angels – and homosexuals, people with HIV
and feminists, who, he has surely learned, have as
much right to eternal happiness and salvation as he
Then apparently someone from the editorial staff of
TIME added an equally inane comment: "Mixing it
up. In this world Falwell made it his mission to
explain what he believed to be God’s preferences."
Both the writer of the letter, and the editorial staff
member who wrote the accompanying comment
displayed, in writing, a lack of understanding (more
familiarly known as ignorance) and a biased intolerance
born of bigotry, in their evaluation of Dr. Falwell.
It is probably not far from the truth to estimate that the
number of times those critics had heard Dr. Falwell
preach would probably be zero – yet he preached at the
church he developed Sunday after Sunday for some 50
years. It is extremely difficult to think that in any of
those thousands of sermons Dr. Falwell ever spoke of
being on a "mission to explain what he believed to be
God’s preferences." Those critics are so lacking in their
understanding (their ignorance) of God’s revealed will
and purpose that they impart to Him human attributes
such as "preferences" – as if He changed His likes and
dislikes for one reason or another.
What they don’t seem to grasp is that when you are
discussing a subject within the field of religion, you should
study -- or at least be familiar with -- the authoritative rules
governing that aspect of religion – in this case, the Bible,
which is the authoritative rule book for the Christian faith.
Thus Dr. Falwell did not utilize such a flighty approach as
to express what he happened to believe about God’s
"preferences." Rather he cited what the Bible – God’s
Word – says about sin, forgiveness, behavior, life-styles,
etc. Those rules are God’s rules – not merely something
someone happened to believe.
God’s "preferences" – to use an unsuitable word – are
broad – Jesus Christ stated them as follows: "For
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten
Son ..." (John 3:16) No scope of any "preference" can
be broader than as stated here, that God loved the world.
So the editorial addendum doesn’t make any sense, any
more than does the letter writer’s opinions about who
deserves "eternal happiness and salvation." In His
description of the breadth of the scope of God’s love
(God’s "preference"), Jesus added a caveat: " ... that
whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have
everlasting life." So it is clear from the authoritative book
of rules for the Christian faith that all those who are
enjoying eternal happiness and salvation alongside Jerry
Falwell are doing so because during their life on earth
they believed in Jesus Christ – or to use a Bible term,
they had been "born again."
The point at issue here is not to deny to anyone their
right of free speech or of a free press, but to suggest that
in exercising that right they should do so with at least a
modicum of knowledge and intelligence rather than basing
their published opinions on anti-religious or anti-Christian
bigotry focused on a faithful student of the Bible and
exponent of the Christian faith who made it his mission
in life to share with others the Word of God. The old
rule still applies: if you don’t like the message, don’t
blame the messenger.
There are other instances of this sort of treatment by
our present day media, as biased and uninformed about
the subject with which they are dealing. Some years ago
an experienced public relations practitioner observed that
any media operation would have as their sports editor
someone familiar with the wide world of sports . . . the
business editor would be someone familiar with business
and economics ... the political editor would be someone
familiar with the political scene, both national and local.
But all too often, the religion editor seems to be someone
who is either an atheist or a hardened skeptic who holds
strong prejudices against almost every form of religion.
This evaluation seems to be the prevailing rule in our time.
The chance of religious matters receiving a fair and balanced
treatment based on knowledge and understanding in any form
of media has become increasingly remote, or virtually nil.
To reinforce this fact, a recent national survey conducted
by the Cultural and Media Institute, disclosed that 68% of
American adults believe that the media has a detrimental effect
on the nation's moral values.
A thought for today, and every day: "Here in America we
are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and
rebels - men and women who dared to dissent from accepted
doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent
with disloyal subversion." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower
Afterthoughts . . .
First, let it be said that the bigoted bias of the media, print
and broadcast, against Conservative Evangelical Christians is
not limited to Jerry Falwell. As the foremost spokes-person
for the "Religious Right," as the Liberals like to label us, his
treatment by the media was used here as an example.
An evaluation of a current overworked media theme by
Doug Giles, Florida pastor and radio talk show host, who
wrote very pointedly: "Y’know, it wouldn’t be so bad to
see these whacky wenches on our air waves if the media
was fair and balanced in showing an equal chunk of
accomplished women who have risen to notoriety ... But
that ain’t gonna happen. At least not anytime soon. Maybe
after the next terrorist attack on US soil wakes us up. But
not for now. As a culture, we have officially traded the
applause we used to give to the truly noteworthy and have
bestowed it upon the nebulous tramp." (TownHall.com, June
10, 2007) Again, the Paris Hilton affair is merely an example of
the media's warped addiction. One recalls other such instances
of media obsession: Anna Nicole Smith, Cindy Sheehan, Scott
Peterson, O.J. Simpson, etc., ad nauseam.
Immigration reform; much talk - little action. Despite strong
national interest in repairing our virtually useless immigration system,
the last Congress did almost nothing, and the present Congress has
watched as a so-called "bipartisan" comprehensive immigration
reform bill self-destructed, perhaps irreparably so. Crafted by
Senator Ted Kennedy, with the active support of President Bush
and Senator John McCain, the bill appeared to be an "amnesty"
vehicle for the 12 - 20 million illegal immigrants within our borders.
It did little or nothing to solve the basic problem of controlling our
borders. Last November Congress passed and the president signed
into law a measure to erect a 700 mile barrier fence among the
Mexican border. As ineffective as that might be in the broadest
picture, it was at least a step toward solving the basic problem, but
a step no one in Washington seems willing to take. That fence was
never erected. Aside from representing a political defeat for President
Bush, the present failure of the bill -- temporary or permanent -- is a
harsh reminder of the political civil war raging in Washington. If the
Congress and the Administration cannot produce some sort of a
solution to the problem of immigration, how can we hope to see any
solution to the myriad other problems facing our nation? The prominent
Christian activist Gary Bauer, in his column, "End of Day" for June 8,
summarized the situation well. To those who say the border can't be
secured, he responds: "If it can't be, then we are no longer a nation."
California takes the lead again, but in a negative direction. In the year
2000, by something over a 61% margin, the voters of California approved
Proposition 22, which defined marriage as between one man and one
woman. Now the Democrat controlled State Assembly, by a vote along
party lines, has approved AB43 which makes same-sex marriage legal in
California. The bill now goes to the State Senate (where it is expected to
pass) and then to Governor Schwarzenegger who has promised to veto it.
As the radio newscasters say: "Stay tuned." Meanwhile, also in California,
the Department of Corrections caved in under threat of a lawsuit by the
ACLU, and has agreed to permit same-sex conjugal visits by domestic
partners of inmates in the state's prisons. Proponents of the action call it
"marriage equality;" while opponents call it "sponsoring immorality."
Iran's President Ahmadinejad has more than once called for the
annihilation of the nation Israel, and has most recently stated, "The
countdown for the Zionist regime's collapse has started. God willing
we shall soon witness the collapse of this regime." As Christians we
are constantly reminded of God's directive, "Pray for the peace of
Jerusalem," and the promise of blessing which follows, "...they shall
prosper that love thee." (Psalm 122:6)
A Reminder: Please use this address in sending us your comments :
Click on one of the links below
TO SUBSCRIBE (no subscription charge):