Tony Perkins is President of Family Research Council. This article appeared in CNS News on February 16, 2018.
ABC got at least one thing right about "The View" – its name. As far as the hosts are concerned, there is only one view: theirs. Sure, they'll invite a token "conservative" on to add fireworks, but even that doesn't get in the way of the hosts' daily routine of smug Middle America-bashing. If the idea is to offend viewers, it's working.
Earlier this week, host Joy Behar did her share of the insulting when she responded to an episode of CBS's "Celebrity Big Brother," which happens to feature fired Trump staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman. On Monday night's episode, Omarosa played the bitter ex-employee when she told her co-stars, "Everybody who's wishing for impeachment might want to reconsider. We would be begging for days of Trump back if [Vice President Mike] Pence became president ... He's scary." Newman, said, "I'm a Christian. I love Jesus, but he thinks Jesus tells him to say things."
Behar, who never met a conservative whose sanity she didn't question, could barely contain herself. "It's one thing to talk to Jesus. It's another thing when Jesus talks to you. That's called mental illness – if I'm not correct – hearing voices." Then, in a dig to Pence's policy of not dining alone with other women, joked, "Can he talk to Mary Magdalene without his wife in the room?" The whole episode was an embarrassment – not for Mike Pence, whose faith is shared by the majority of Americans, but for ABC, who may have done the administration a favor by reminding viewers of the deep disdain it has for conservative Christians. This is par for the intolerant course in a movement that continues to see Americans who want to live by their faith as backwater people. It's the same contempt that birthed Obama's "God and gun-clingers," and Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" – both of which only drove up evangelical turnout.
If people want to understand why the Trump administration enjoys such strong support from Christians, this attack sums it up. Evangelicals share the faith that Behar mocks. They're also tired of being kicked around by elitists whose version of "tolerance" is only for people who think like them. They're finally glad that there's somebody on the playground like Donald Trump who's willing to punch the bully. "Rejecting the Almighty, and particularly, believers, is easy and painless for the Left," Mike McDaniel writes. "They know Christians will not kill them for their attacks, and at worst, might pray for them – a concept they also reflexively reject." In the end, "their ideology does not admit the existence of anyone or anything greater than that ideology."
Hardly the verbal flame-thrower that his boss is, Mike Pence refused to let the cheap shot pass. "I actually heard that ABC has a program that compared my Christianity to mental illness. And I'd like to laugh about it," he told C-SPAN, "but I really can't. Tens of millions of Americans today will have ash on their foreheads to mark the beginning of Lent. The overwhelming majority of Americans cherish their faith. And we have all different types of faith in this country. But I have to tell you, to have ABC maintain a broadcast forum that compared Christianity to mental illness is just wrong." Honestly, he went on:
"I just think it demonstrates how out of touch some people in the mainstream media are with the faith and values of the American people that you could have a major network like ABC permit a forum for invective against religion like that. I just call them out on it, not because of what was said about me, but it's just simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that kind of religious intolerance. We're better than that. Our country is better than that."
The real issue for people like Behar is not what Jesus is saying to Christians in their prayer closets, their issue is what He has definitively said in His word. The fact that He is the Creator. That human life is sacred because it is made in the image of God. The fact that Jesus affirmed that there aren't 72 genders, and that marriage is between a man and a woman. These people and their followers mock the private faith of Christians in an effort to intimidate them from living by their faith in public. See, this debate has never really been about what Christians do privately, but what they dare to do publicly. That's what terrifies them. Their biggest fear is that men and women of faith will take what God says about marriage, life, and sexuality and bring it out into the open where it can affect policy and other people.
Here is the best way to counter Joy Behar and company – publicly live out your private faith in Christ. To be a follower of Jesus means to be just that, a follower of Jesus. It's time to stop trying to appease the haters of God. These cultural extremists are only interested in the complete and utter surrender of Christians. "You will be hated by everyone because of me," Jesus warned, "but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Matthew 10:22) If the world doesn't have an issue with us, I've got news for you – we're doing something wrong.
The time for playing patty-cake is over. This is a time for choosing – for separating the wheat from the chaff. Either God defined marriage, or He didn't. Either He created and values life in His image, or He didn't. There is no 38th parallel. Either we stand on the side of truth or the side of a lie – in these times, there is no in-between.