Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Good Morning TV, John Hagee and Don Imus

I happened to turn on the TV this morning and, flipping through the channels, came across one of the ALL CHRISTIANITY ALL THE TIME channels that DIRECTV has in abundance as part of their channel lineup. It was one of John Hagee's programs from his San Antonio church and the preacher on stage looked and sounded as if he must be Hagee's son (he certainly had the same rotund figure; ever notice how the one sin fundamentalist preachers overlook is gluttony)? Anyway, I always stop to watch what he (or in this case, the junior) has to say, for he is a Christian Zionist, an unabashed supporter of Israel and a pro-Israel US foreign policy (other conservative Christian voices dissent from this view,- though they seem to be in the minority- including Hank Hanegraaff of the Bible Answer Man and Christian Research Institute in his book The Apocalypse Code).

But I watch sometimes because the views of the Hagee types have implications for public policy, what with end times, dispensational eschatology dominating contemporary American evangelicalism (thus the popularity of things like the awful hack novels of the Left Behind series). I caught Hagee (the senior) on Glenn Beck's radio show one morning (he also spent an hour on Beck's TV show) advocating war with Iran because Iran's president is the "New Hitler." Hagee went on to warn of millions of Muslim suicide bombers wandering the United States blowing themselves up in a reign of terror. The normally skeptical Beck (of all things absurd, when they come from the "left," at least) spoke not a word of challenge to Hagee's absurd, ridiculous scenario.

Well, I was a bit disappointed when it turned out to be a sermon on prayer. I watched, disinterested, for a few more minutes and then... he slipped it in! Saying that those who pray for Israel will be blessed and how Israel is vital for our national security. That one obsession permeates their entire worldview and they will do whatever is needed to bring about the end times apocalypse and their imaginary rapture to heaven.

I then flipped over to RFD-TV and saw Don Imus in his new incarnation. The show seemed to be mostly music today, so I didn't stay long. It is good to see Imus back, though. The ridiculous spectacle of seeing the reprehensible Rev. Al pontificating on Imus' sin of politically incorrect speech, during the height of the controversy, was sickening (I of course agree that any kind of racism is wrong).

What the whole Imus affair shows us is that we don't need government or the FCC controlling and dictating what is broadcast. The free market takes care of things just fine. If people don't like something they don't have to watch. If they want to protest something they feel goes over the line, so be it. A CBS or an MSNBC may respond by canceling a program and firing its host. A host may apologize for words spoken and hire certain people to atone for his sins. Companies respond to market forces, and advertisers are usually reluctant to sponsor the too controversial. That's why the idea that we need government regulation of any kind for media is off-base. Imagine a TV station owner who decided to run Debbie Does Dallas at 3 in the afternoon on an over-the-air station. How long would they stay in business ? The marketplace dictates such decisions quite adequately, with no need of governmental prohibitions

More on Christian Zionism Pro and Con

More on John Hagee Pro and Con

More on Hank Hanegraaff

More on Don Imus

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