Morley Safer Presents… Those Wacky Christians!
At first glance I was surprised that a major media outlet like CBS would want to spend this much time addressing the rise of Evangelical Christianity over the past few decades. However, only two paragraph into this article I saw the real direction of the piece. Yes, one has only to read two words to know where it is going: Left Behind.
Reverend Tim LaHaye, author the wildly popular series of Rapture books, (which spawned the wildly forgettable movie franchise of the same name.) is one of the authorities Morley Safer Turns to in the article.
”I don't think the media has really caught on to what's been going on in the last 30 years or so in America. An enormous number of people have come to faith in Christ and consider themselves evangelical Christians. And these are people that are buying, reading and distributing our books,” says Rev. Tim LaHaye.
What exactly has the media not caught on to, Mr. Lahaye? The quote seems to be saying, “You just don’t understand, a lot of people are paying money to read what I write.”
I guess I shouldn’t blame LaHaye, but, man, it is so easy to take the Rapture industry and make Christianity look just plain wacky. The message of the Evangelical Christian movement should not be that 40 Million people are paying money read about the Rapture. The message should be, look at how things have changed. People are helping each other. The rich are giving away their possessions. We are not warring. Illegitimate teen pregnancies are down. People are making sure that the poor or the shunned in our society are taken care of. But alas, they can’t point to that. It is frustrating that a movement which has changed so many people's lives for the good consistently marginalizes itself by trying to align itself with popular thinking.
The extreme Evangelical Right points to numbers, sales, church endowments, and voting statistics. Sadly, in doing so they look no better than an almost over-the-hill Hollywood producer who keeps saying, “the film was big in Japan.” Trying to justify Christianity by worldly standards is dangerous business, and ends up looking like a con.
Reverend Peter J. Gomes, (whom I have heard preach at Harvard many times,) is of course the most reasonable voice in this entire article. He gets the last word when he says, “Not everybody who thinks they know what's going to happen knows,” says Gomes. “So, I'm willing to take my chances, not with the evangelicals, but with the Lord. I'm going to place my hands in his.”