October 9, 2006

Celebrity Christians

I actually like many celebrities. At least in the superficial way that I can. I like Neil Young and Paul Newman. I like Bono. I like the actor Chris Cooper and Sam Watterston.

But I don't look to them for much beyond what they do. They are celebrities. They might be talented and funny, but that is it.

I have noted here that celebrity is part of the allure and corruption that harms our media. No doubt Cronkite was also famous, but the media today is filled with people who are famous because they look and sound like journalists, even if they have no journalistic training. They are famous people who make a lot of money off speaking engagements. Probably too much to expect them to actually act as true investigative journalists.

Well, Tony (in my recent comment on voting Democrat) noted that he was particularly annoyed with the "celebrity Christians" like Falwell who are the first asked by the Press about anything. When he compares Hilary Clinton to Lucifer, most of Christendom winced, but those are the problems of this culture. And while conservative Christians would like to present themselves as different, they are, in fact, even more so. They are as incapable of challenging James Dobson's authority as is a 13 year old girl challenging her friend's adoration of Britney Spears (or whoever succeeded her).

Witness Stephen Baldwin of the famed Baldwin brothers. Now that he is a Christian, he has used his fame to present his theology. Unfortunately:
"Now Baldwin has released a memoir, 'The Unusual Suspect,' a reference to the one critically acclaimed film for which he's known. The book, the 'Gospel according to Stevie B.,' is part testimonial and part evangelical manifesto, a cocktail of anti-intellectualism and a biblical interpretation that would have Jesus spinning in his grave, had he stayed there. Baldwin preaches that free will is a lie of Satan -- we must shut off our brains, he says, and be led by what God tells our hearts. Furthermore, he writes, efforts to end global poverty and violence are just the sort of 'stupid arrogance' that incur God's wrath, which we'll be feeling any day now in the coming apocalypse. I suppose when the star of 'Bio-Dome' is advising the president and converting kids by the thousands to his gnarly brand of faith, the end is, indeed, nigh.

'The Unusual Suspect' features an open letter to Bono, lambasting him for lobbying for debt relief for developing countries instead of preaching the gospel on MTV. Bono must be in league with Satan, whom Baldwin spends a lot of time thinking about. 'I am smart enough to know that Satan is alive and well today,' he writes. 'Satan has all kinds of power, and he is able to control the minds of anyone whose mind isn't controlled by God.' Baldwin's theology -- and criticism of secularists and Christian poseurs like Bono -- is written with remarkable confidence for someone who can only recite six of the Ten Commandments and four of the Twelve Apostles."

1 comment:

Tony said...

I get irked when celebrity Christians are asked about certain issues and then they use that opportunity to their advantage.I guess I really have a gripe when celebrities in general are asked about anything.

What gives them the authority? Celebrities should not be our spokespeople. Its like Susan Sarandon and and race issues...Ward Burton and environmental issues...and it just comes across, well, like you said, superficial.

Celebrity status gives them the audience, which is why they can be so effective at reaching people with their pet issue, but it just carries no weight. Now if Jane Goodall speaks on environmental issues, I'm liable to listen and heed.

And Baldwin reminds of when Gary Busey supposedly came to Christ and he ripped the microphone out of Pat Robertson's hand to keep "preaching." Pat let him keep going btw; his celebrity status afforded him that.

Something that should give conservative Christians pause: I'm no Joel Osteen fan, but eventually HE is going to be the go-to guy for answers from conservatives. That is frightening indeed.