Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cameron, Piers Morgan, and Wise Apologetics, pt. 2.

The Bonfire Fueled By Vanity

A third distressing phenomenon is the extreme unwillingness of the average questioner to listen to the answer -- a phenomenon exhibited in exaggerated form by professional interviewers on the staffs of popular journals. It is a plain fact that ninety-nine "interviews" out of a hundred contain more or less subtle distortions of the answers given to questions, the questions being, moreover, in many cases, wrongly conceived for the purpose of eliciting the truth. The distortions are not confined to distortions of opinion but are frequently also distortions of fact, and not merely stupid misunderstandings at that, but deliberate falsifications. The journalist is, indeed, not interested in the facts.- Dorothy Sayers, The Mind of The Maker.

Almost as soon as the interview ended, Kirk Cameron was denounced as a moral criminal. A crime had been committed on public television, and the watching world gasped. The world was partly right: They had witnessed a crime -- just not by Cameron. The true crime -- for him, not a new crime -- was Morgan's flagrant disregard of journalistic ethics. 

Cameron was right in a subsequent interview on Fox and Friends to call Morgan disingenuous, and question his motives. Morgan is, after all, the one who started the conversation, and he is the one who coaxed Cameron further despite his clear desire to talk about other things. Morgan is the one who wanted to talk specifically about sexuality and abortion -- not Cameron, who just wanted to talk about his new documentary Monumental

Morgan was mild during the interview, but loud in subsequent comments. He's disavowed all blame, and accused Cameron of "whining." Further, he's dismissed Cameron as a hate filled and scientifically illiterate 
bigot. While still feigning surprise that Cameron said exactly what he knew, aye hoped, he would say, he's cast Cameron as an idiotic little alien who’d just landed in the 21st century America, fresh from some barbarous podunk planet. He even took the low high road of question the sincerity of Cameron's Christianity, "I just don't think you can sit there with a straight face and say I'm a Christian... (2:07)" 

During an interchange with Lewis Black, Morgan even stooped to misconstruing Cameron's comments as, "... by the way, I hate these people (2:14)." Hate -- now there's a word to stoke a controversy into a white hot blaze. A word, incidentally, which Cameron never used. You can watch the interview a hundred times, and you'll never hear the word "hate." You will, however, hear the word love -- not from Morgan, but Cameron. 

So, Morgan provided the kindling for the fire, then piled on dry wood, poured on gasoline -- and to make sure it burned white hot -- unleashed a flame thrower. Then, he backed away from the flames with feigned shock, and bogus self-righteousness, and condemned the inferno. In Morgan's last melodramatic tweet on the Cameron interview, he claimed disrespect only for Cameron's bigotry, and "inflammatory language" -- inflammatory language? So says the man holding a flame thrower.

I can't think of a word to sufficiently describe the vileness of Morgan's actions. He's like a charlatan who goes from town to town making money by promoting spectacles of gruesome violence. Then, when the show is over, he whips crowds into a frenzy in protest of such violence. Wait, there is a word to describe such a person; that word is hypocrite. 

The passion of every sincere journalist is, or ought to be, seeking truth in the cause justice. Morgan is concerned with seeking controversy in the cause of ratings. He is no different than the  tenth rate gossip mags that run sensational (and false) story lines to catch the eye of old ladies at the check out stand. Martin Luther demanded, "Peace if possible, truth at all costs." Morgan seeks, "Controversy if possible, ratings at all costs.

Now, let’s be clear, no matter what Morgan says about Cameron being an insincere Christian -- good grief, has Piers Morgan risen so high in his moral superiority that he can pronounce by divine fiat who is/is not a genuine disciple of Jesus? -- no matter, Cameron does represent Christianity. He is a sterling example of a Christian family man; he is also true to the teaching of Christ in commending counter-culture ethics, and the preciousness of human life. Lastly, and most importantly, Cameron was true to the whole spirit of Christianity in his humble demeanor during the interview. In fact, despite Morgan's insistent prodding to use the word "sin," the only time Cameron talked about sin was when he said, "... all of us are sinful. I can stand at the top of the list and say I need a savior." Morgan questioned whether Cameron was a sincere Christian; I question whether Morgan knows what a sincere Christian is. Worse, I question if Morgan sincerely cares about what a sincere Christian is.

Regardless, all in all, Cameron handled the situation well -- I'm sure, better than most. Yet, might he have handled it better? How might he have handled it better? What can we learn from the interview and the controversy that followed? Cameron faced a hostile and subtle interviewer in the context of a bitter and antagonistic culture. This is the usual lot of Christians throughout history, and increasingly, the lot of Christians in America. There’s a lesson for Christians in the interview and the controversy that followed. The lesson is: we not only need to stand for biblical Christianity, we need to do so wisely. 

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