Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Keith Olbermann and Dan Savage

"I’m sure they don’t want to hear this from me because I’m an avowed atheist but my dad was a Roman Catholic deacon and my mom was a minister and I went to the seminary and I was confirmed in the Catholic church. I’ve read the Bible backwards and forwards and there’s a lot in there, a lot that Jesus had to say about taking care of the sick, housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, visiting, not executing the prisoner and nothing about capital gains tax cuts, nothing about denying health care coverage to American families and American children and nothing about this sort of insane opposition to a democratically elected president.

They really have hi-jacked Christianity and are giving it a bad name. The reason we see spikes I think in more and more people who no longer associate themselves with any religious faith or belief is because now to say you’re Christian in America means you are saying I am in the same boat, the same bat crap crazy boat with Michelle Bachmann. And a lot of even nominal Christians don’t want to say that any more or cultural Christians don’t want to say that any more."

The above quote is from Countdown on MSNBC on September 1, 2009. The speaker is Dan Savage. I agreed with most of his statements that evening, but totally disagree with his statement that "to say you're a Christian in America means you are saying I am in the same boat, the same bat crap crazy boat with Michelle Bachman." I am a Christian. I have no problem saying that because I and the majority of Christians know that our faith is not the same as Michelle Bachman's.

I believe Mr. Savage and the media would like the statement to be true because it reinforces a stereotype of Christianity that the media perpetuates and that atheists prefer. The stereotype of the anti-intellectual, the Bible-is-literally-true Christian. A stereotype that is easy to ridicule.

Mr. Olbermann loves to ridicule the religious right and too many times all Christians. His views of Christians seems to always portray them as right wing loonies with equally strange religious beliefs. Of course, I admit there are plenty of examples to support his remarks, but these are not the majority of Christians. Mr. Olbermann seldom if ever offers a more sane view of Christians.

Mr. Olbermann is not entirely to blame for his one-sided view of Christians. Most of the media portrays Christians as far right zealots. Interview after interview is conducted with those Christians who will produce the most audience-grabbing sound bites, people on the fringes of the faith, not those in the solid core of the faith.

I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry and a scientist's view of the world. I believe in evolution and stem cell research. I am an left of center independent who supported Hilliary Clinton. I believe in Christ as the truest manifestation of God in our world, but not the exclusive manifestation. I am a Christian. I believe in God the "I am", the Creator, God as love, the Comforter , and God in action, Jesus Christ. Three in one: "I am love in action."

I would challenge Olbermann and other commentators to interview a mainstream Christian, not an atheist, to discuss what Christians think about issues of the day and the far right of our faith. No one can hi-jack Christianity. The media can portray only a sliver of what the truth is, but the great center continues. God does not need us, we need God.

Those of the left make a mistake when they ridicule Christianity as a whole. Rather the center of the faith should be allowed to speak, to reassure those who do not understand what it means to be a Christian. Christ made it very simple to understand: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. He did not say it would be easy to do.

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