Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Focus pulls Beck interview

Atheism is a reasonable response to the universe. I mean, if my view of religion was dependent on typical religious people, I would have jumped ship long ago. The behavior of many people in my faith community has to make me laugh sometimes.... my only other response would be to cry.

Focus on the Family pulled from its citizenlink site an interview they had with national talk-show host Glenn Beck regarding his latest book "The Christmas Sweater". It is a fictional story based on Glenn's own experience growing up as an ungrateful teen. You can read the interview at Mormon Times here.

So why did the interview get pulled? Basically, because some Christian groups felt that Beck (who is Mormon) sounded TOO Christian in the article and complained to Focus. Apparently, the Christian public needs to be protected from Mormons who sound too Christian.

Now don't get me wrong. I am no fan of Glenn Beck. In fact, I think Focus and Beck deserve each other.

However, Focus on the Family's move to pull the article is typical of what I see in many (though not all) Christian circles. It is an inability to listen to anything or anyone that is not in 100% agreement. If there is any deviation from one's standard norm, the words of the other become tainted and therefore should probably not even be heard.

I have seen this from various Christians who interact with Mormons here in Salt Lake. We took some visiting friends of ours down to Temple Square. They grew increasingly uncomfortable the longer we stayed, stating that their children were becoming confused by the mixing of traditional Christianity and Mormonism there.

I have never had this problem with my children. I have always explained in detail, in a positive way, different religious views. My daughter would then respond, "How is that different from what we believe?"

I would then state "Well sweetheart, this is what I believe... as you grow you will have to work out what you believe."

As I grew up, I remember being shocked that people of other religions, and atheists, were not the demons I had been told to expect. I was confused by the lack of continuity between what I had been taught and what I was experiencing. I have determined that my children will not have to unlearn things to the level that I did.

To bring this back around, what Focus is doing is typical of what I grew up with... shhhhhh... don't listen.... close your ears..... let us worry about the big ideas.... stay in your box.....


Sherry said...

I would then state "Well sweetheart, this is what I believe... as you grow you will have to work out what you believe."

Good for you letting your children know they will have opinions and beliefs that might differ from their parents. Informing them of this while still nurturing them as they grow, great parenting!

Bob said...

Agree with your comments about Focus and pulling the interview with Beck. How incrediby small and narrow minded (my wife read the book and loved it).

And agree that your daughter will work out what she believes but as a Christian do you not feel inclined to lead her in that way?

Of course the Mormons themselves are not exactly tolerant of those of us who don't agree with them, or at least that has been my experience.

Sherry said...

Later last night after reading your post and commenting, guess what?

Two Mormon Elders came to our door. We usually only get Jehovah's Witnesses at the door. Never before the Mormons. Stephen hid in the next room.

So I asked them about Beck & Focus. Neither of them knew too much about Beck, only that they had heard of him and of FOTF.

I told them I didn't care for their artistic portrayals of Christ, so white and all. I told them that I agreed with much of their teachings but not all of their teachings. They left me some pamphlets.

It was so odd that they showed up on the same day I read your post.

By the way, I love the way they dress. So pleasant and clean cut, a welcome sight here in Bezerkley.

The Metzes said...

Yeah, I like your perspective on this story (which I hadn't heard and am glad you posted). Glenn Beck a Mormon . . . hmm . . . didn't know that (that's the political cave I live in), but I do wonder what the Mormon Church thinks of him. Are you familiar with the Mormon Church's stance on politics (ie. are they bedfellows with the Religious Right)? Just curious.

Andrew said...

Bob - Since my daughter has a father who thinks and types outloud, she gets a regular infusion of my perspective on God. :) I just want to make sure that she is aware that people with other opinions are just that... people with other opinions. I also want her to view them as sources for insight, not something to avoid.

Sherry - That is funny. Being from out East, I knew nothing of Mormonism until I came out here. I agree with you that, though there are pieces I could never subscribe to, overall I find Mormonism to be a good thing.

Metz- Yeah, overall the Mormon Church is pretty right wing. Our Utah state legislature is comical it is so off in Right Field. Though I think that is a case where individual members are more staunch than the church itself. In fact, I think there is a tension within the Mormon populace because though they tend to be very right wing on issues like abortion and gay rights, on the other hand, their history is much more community oriented than the staunch individualism of the Right. I think that tension results from their political stances sometimes hurt their ability to be community building and charitable, which is also a key point for them. That, and I think they feel USED by the Christian Right at times. Evangelicals are their buds when fighting things like Prop 8 in Cali, but then backhand them back to cult status once the event is over.

Mike said...

We need more agnostic Christians.

Anonymous said...

One minute of Glen Beck righ-wing overly obvious chatter is too much for me...an immigrant with brown skin.

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