Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Thank you, David Brooks!

The New York Times: Who Is John Stott?: "Tim Russert is a great journalist, but he made a mistake last weekend. He included Jerry Falwell and Al Sharpton in a discussion on religion and public life.

Inviting these two bozos onto 'Meet the Press' to discuss that issue is like inviting Britney Spears and Larry Flynt to discuss D. H. Lawrence. Naturally, they got into a demeaning food fight that would have lowered the intellectual discourse of your average nursery school.

This is why so many people are so misinformed about evangelical Christians. There is a world of difference between real-life people of faith and the made-for-TV, Elmer Gantry-style blowhards who are selected to represent them. Falwell and Pat Robertson are held up as spokesmen for evangelicals, which is ridiculous. Meanwhile people like John Stott, who are actually important, get ignored."

What a pleasant surprise! A thoughtful and fair representation of evangelicals, from the epicenter of the mainstream media, no less. I have been getting tired of all the recent articles by rabid secularists, comparing evangelicals to the Taliban and bewailing the impending White House-imposed return to the Dark Ages (as opposed to the recent domination of secularist peace, love and understanding). Stott is indeed a better representative of evangelical Christians than (wince) Falwell or Robertson. On the other hand, the latter must be getting support from somewhere because they've been on the air all these years. While I do think that Falwell gets a bit of a bad rap by the secular press, he exudes a level of confidence out of proportion to his seeming ability to understand opposing points of view, and his predictable political positions do not represent the diversity of educational achievement or political, economic and philosophical perspectives within evangelicalism.

Also, there is a difference between evangelicals and fundamentalists. While some of the MSM's recent slurs against the "religious right" would actually be applicable to a few fundies I've met, they would be the outer fringe. It's been said that you know you're an evangelical when the liberals think you're a fundamentalist and the fundamentalists think you're a liberal.

Brooks might be right. Speaking for myself, I would much rather be represented on TV news and talk shows by John Stott than Falwell or Robertson. Oddly enough, just today I was perusing an anthology of quotes by A.W. Tozer and came across this:

We are never sure where a true Christian may be found. One thing we do know: the more like Christ he is the less likely it will be that a newspaper reporter will be seeking him out.

Apparently David Brooks is not your typical journalist, any more than Falwell, Robertson et. al. are your typical evangelicals. The former is a good thing and the latter is not.