Monday, July 29, 2013
Of Course Fox News Is Bad For Christianity
Obviously Fox News is terrible for this country. Obviously it's a disgrace even to the elaborate grift that is television journalism. Yes, it encourages every xenophobic, bigoted, and anti-intellectual impulse among the less bethumbed of our citizenry. It showcases the talents of Ann Coulter, whose charm is like that of a praying mantis stuck to a windshield. It features Sean Hannity, who always looks as if he's just about to cause a fraternity hazing death. It's completely uncontroversial to say it is one of the nastier cultural transgressions of a man who has much to answer for - an execrable and sociopathic plutocrat with the skin of a lizard and a voice like the suffering of children.
And the network is, let us never ever forget, largely responsible for Glenn Beck.
But it's also important to point out - whether you wish that religion well or ill - Fox News is a great enemy of Christianity. You've no doubt already heard about the above clip - the ugly Muslim-baiting Lauren Green attempts while interviewing Reza Aslan about his biography of Jesus Christ. Green embarrasses herself, as all who work for that company inevitably must, in her efforts to disparage Islam. But she manages to profoundly slander Christianity as well. She suggests very stridently that people who are not of the faith have no business critiquing Jesus. That academics who happen to be non-Christian don't have the right to focus their attention on his life. Nothing could be worse for this church than for people like her to gain influence. Nothing.
The day that Muslims, Jews, atheists, and agnostics stop talking about Jesus is the day that Christianity itself shrivels. Whether you believe he is God or not, it is a mark of his power that historians and philosophers of all backgrounds are still arguing over him and the astonishing things he said. Many of them criticize him and doubt the religious traditions surrounding him? That means he remains relevant.
By contrast, Lauren Green and her employer want to turn Jesus into L. Ron Hubbard. The sort of cheap cult leader whose memory can rally the faithful for political or commercial gain. But someone who just doesn't matter to the wider world. They do much to pander to the particularly ovine of the Nazarene's church.
But they are no friends of it.