I often talk about the manner in which TV has been used to influence the thinking of the public. As true as this is, people of faith still seem to take this lightly and don’t seem to realize just how effective a tool media is for manipulating the thought process is. As a result, many Christians are being conditioned to abandon their trust in God and the Bible by the material that they view daily for entertainment and information. Atheists, homosexual activist and other anti-God thinkers have publically boasted about how effectively they have been able to use the media to sway public opinion and yet this powerful tactic is still not taken seriously by most Christians.
Many of the assaults against God, Christianity and the Bible on TV have been presented as innocent drama dialogue, and viewing Christian fan are so caught up in the plot of the episode that they rarely stop to consider the message that the material is sending to them. One good example is the once very popular drama called
The West Wing.
In one of the prime time drama’s episodes entitled "The Midterms"
Written by atheist producer Aaron Sorkin, the President of the United States of America goes on the attack against the Bible by humiliating a Christian in his midst.
In his comments he defends homosexuality and attacks Christianity and the Bible in a manner that leaves the conservative Christian speechless.
We should remember that atheist and other anti-Christian, anti-Bible antagonists pride themselves on being more intelligent and more rational than we “foolish” Christians, and they are always looking for an opportunity to prove it in a public way so as to humiliate Christians into silence. For this reason, we as Christian must be prepared to defend the truth with intelligence and integrity.
And just in case some of you don’t think that such TV dramas influence the public, just take a look at how out homosexual CNN news reporter Don Lemon used that same clip to attempt to silence a Christian politician on live TV.
In the following material I attempt to provide a good example of how we should respond to such attacks.
First, here is a brief synopsis of that West Wing episode that featured the attack on the Bible.
In this episode, during the presidents a press conference, in the audience was A Christian talk show host who had called homosexuality an 'abomination' on one of her shows, by saying that the Bible stated it. ('You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such thing is an abomination.' Lev. 18:22). This annoys President Bartlet who when noticing her in the audience took the opportunity to ask a few questions about just what one should accept from the Bible. His questions are presented in a manner that gives the impression that Christians are foolish to believe such things. His words are so effective that the Christian is left speechless and embarrassed. President Bartlet then rebukes her for disrespecting him by remaining seated when everyone else was intelligent and descent enough to stand when he arrived. At which point she slowly stands up.
The whole segment was a slap at the Christian who dared to publically state their belief and try to “force” modern people to abide by their out dated Bible.
The executive producer, Atheist Aaron Sorkin, admitted that he got the idea for the segment from a popular anonymous email that had circulated some time ago. In an effort to track down the original author he said he put out a call but was unsuccessful in finding the source of the email. But the email and his episode segment were both based on a real life Christian TV show host named Dr. Laura, who has a Ph.D in Physiology from Columbia University and was certified as a counselor by USC. She was constantly attacked by atheist –liberals and was eventually ruined as a TV personality as a result.
The following is the original popular email Aaron Sorkin wrote his script from. As you will see, it is a derogatory email pretending to be making an innocent inquire but it in fact attacking Dr. Laura’s Christian view about the Bible.
I have added my personal reply in red, since few bothered to do so when it went public.
It is my prayer that my replies will serve as an example of how we Christian can and should be ready to give an answer to those seeking to discredit God’s word.
“Dear Dr. Laura,
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's law. I have learned a great deal from you, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend homosexuality, for example, I will simply remind him or her that the Bible clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other laws in Leviticus and Exodus and how to best follow them.
When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. How should I deal with this?”
My suggested reply:
You should apologize to them for the odor (though I find cooked beef to be quite a pleasant odor), and inform them that you are attempting to obey a command that is out dated and no longer binding on us. Assure them that you will not do it again and will spend more time learning the Bible correctly so that you will know which scriptures to follow. Inform them that you were not aware that “the sacrificial system was abolished for Christians with the all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ” (1Cor. 5:7; Eph. 5:2; Heb. 9:26; 10:12; 1 John 2:1-2). Now that you know this, you will no longer waste time with such out dated practices. Even if the laws requiring animal sacrifices was still active, you would have been in violation, since the correct location of the sacrifice was essential to be in accurate obedience to the law. Your back yard would not have been an accepted location.
“I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as stated in Exodus 21:7 In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?”
My suggested reply:
You have clearly ignored the context of Exodus 21:7 just as you seem to ignore the Bible context elsewhere. You should not be attempting to sell your daughter in this day and age. Exodus 21:7 does not require you to sell your daughter in this day and age.
“I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness Lev. 15:19-24. The problem is, how can I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.”
My suggested reply:
Again, if you had paid attention to the context you would know that the Leviticus menstrual laws was not given to 21 century men and women, it was for Israelites under a THEOCRATIC FORM OF GOVERNMENT.
Your concerns are therefore unwarranted and quite late. Feel free to touch as many menstruating women as you like with no condemnation.
“Lev. 25:44 states that I may buy slaves from the nations that are around us. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify?”
My suggested reply:
Again, both you and your friend need to read you Bibles more carefully. The Leviticus laws of selling and buying slaves are no longer applicable today. That aspect of the Law was only binding to Israel and anyone who joined their community during the times of their Theocratic form of government. The Church today in the 21 Century operates by the New Covenant established by Jesus and documented in the New Testament of the Bible.
“I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath, Exod. 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?”
My suggested reply:
Once again you have ignored the context in which Exodus 35 is, the Sabbath Law was given to Israel and all proselytes who joined them under their Theocratic form of government back in ancient times. Under the New Covenant, the Sabbath Law is not binding on the Church or modern day people, and so your concerns are misplaced. If you would have only read the New Testament in places like Hebrews chapter 3 and 4 or Colossians 2, you would have known this. I would suggest that you read the book of Romans, Colossians and Galatians to get a grasp on the Sabbath issue.
“A friend of mine says that even though eating shellfish is an abomination Lev. 10:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?”
My suggested reply:
You have not stated why you disagree, since there is no difference in the use of the word “abomination” as applied to the eating of shellfish and homosexuality in Leviticus, there is no reason to compare their level of offence. The more important question however it why you are focused on an Old Testament dietary law that is no longer binding. (Acts 10 and 11) That law was not carried over to the New Covenant as the prohibition against homosexuality was. Therefore you should be concerned with homosexuality and not the eating of shellfish.
“Leviticus states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?”
My suggested reply:
Had you put those reading glasses to better use you would have known that Leviticus was written to the nation of Israel and not to you, during a time when God was their King. And so it does not apply to you today. You should rather concern yourself with the applicable regulations of the New Covenant as described in the New Testament.
“I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's Word is eternal and unchanging.”
My suggested reply:
Yes, God’s Word is unchanging, but that does not mean that none of the original application cannot be voided due to the application no longer being applicable, the context in which the statements are made are important to understand.
As I have answered your questions, I would expect that you will go back and take the time to be a more responsible student of the Bible, and not allow others who have no respect for the Bible or desire to correctly understand it to influence your thinking. That is, if you were sincere in your questions, if not this will still be a help to other Christians who need to know how to respond to such questions. Have a nice day.
You see, it is not difficult to deal with such attacks when you have taken the time to get an understanding of your Bible.
Now let’s deal with the West Wing episode.
The following is the actual transcript of the episode segment. Because this is what so many have viewed on their TV and no doubt were influenced by it, my comments above will suffice as a reply to his misinterpretation of the Bible verses he refers to. Additionally, I will provide the general Dr. Jacob could have made instead of being speechless.
This episode should have resulted is an outcry from Christians to their local network and a demand for an apology and a retraction,
at the least the opportunity to set the record straight on the drama. But of course, that did not happen.
The West Wing script from The Midterms-
"There's an election day scene that amuses hugely even as it demonstrates Sorkin's fearless faculty for combining controversial ideas, dramatic situations and circular-saw-like wit. The scene, a real showstopper, finds the president stopping in on a White House gathering of radio talk personalities. As Bartlet struggles though a speech extolling the gabbers' contributions to the airwaves, Bartlet is distracted by the sight of a Dr. Laura-like radio psychologist seated nearby."
BARTLET: It's a good idea to be reminded of the awesome impact, the awesome impact. I'm sorry. You're Dr. Jenna Jacobs, right?
JACOBS (obviously pleased to be recognized): Yes, sir!
BARTLET: It's good to have you here.
JACOBS: Thank you!
BARTLET: . the awesome impact of the airwaves, and how that translates into the furthering of our national discussions, but obviously also how it can . how it can . Forgive me, Dr. Jacobs. Are you an M.D.?
JACOBS: A Ph.D.
BARTLET: A Ph.D.
JACOBS: Yes, sir.
BARTLET: In psychology?
JACOBS: No, sir.
BARTLET: Social work?
JACOBS: I have a Ph.D. in English Literature.
BARTLET: I'm asking 'cause on your show people call in for advice - and you go by the name Dr. Jacobs on your show - and I didn't know if maybe your listeners were confused by that and assumed you had advanced training in psychology, theology or health care.
JACOBS: I don't believe they are confused, no, sir.
BARTLET: I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an "abomination!"
JACOBS: I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.
BARTLET: Yes it does. Leviticus!
BARTLET: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I wanted to sell my youngest daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown Sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?
(Bartlet only waits a second for a response, then plunges on.)
BARTLET: While thinking about that, can I ask another? My chief of staff, Leo McGary, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself? Or is it okay to call the police?
(Bartlet barely pauses to take a breath.)
BARTLET: Here's one that's really important, because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you?
*This is where Dr. Jacob should have replied (see reply below)
(The camera pushes in on the president.)
One last thing. While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building when the president stands, nobody sits.
(Jacobs sees that, in fact, the president is standing and she is the only one in the room sitting. After a moment, she rises, holding her tiny plate of appetizers. After the president exits, Sam Seaborn sternly approaches a thoroughly belittled Jacobs.)
SAM: I'm just . going to take that crab puff.
(Sam snatches Dr. Jacob's crab puff, then hurries after the president.)
Dr. Jacobs should have made her reply. It should have gone something like this:
Mr. President, I am amazed that a person of your apparent intellect and ability should be so ignorant about something as simple as maintaining the context of what you are reading.
If you were to read the reports you receive from your staff in the manner that you apparently read the Bible, you certainly would not give those reports the interpretation your staff intended.
And I am sure that no one in this room would be willing to place any kind of confidence in your ability to lead them if you could not demonstrate to them that you had the ability to understand what they were saying to you in the context they intended.
Given that display of your inability to properly interpret the Bible, I am concerned that you have developed an unfavorable attitude against me, the Bible and God, because of your ignorance of basic hermeneutics.
Of course I am being charitable in my observations, so as not to dare to assume that you are well aware of the
Hermeneutical laws that govern the interpretation of the Bible, and have intentionally misapplied the texts that you just recited to me, in order to misrepresent God, the Bible and my Christian faith.
But either way Mr. President, since you have misinterpreted and misapplied the verses you have just mentioned, so I think you owe me and apology, and this would be as good a time as any to do so.
And as for your last comment, I am not aware of any law that was passed by us citizens of this country that mandates that we stand because the President is standing. As a citizen, I chose to remain seated until I am in the presence of a president who is worthy of my respect.
Ps: Thank you to Mat Gross whose address of this issue inspired my reply as well.