Sunday was Easter and on Meet the Press, Tim Russert had a very interesting roundtable that included a priest, evangelical pastor, imam, rabbi, nun, and a few others. The theme of the day was, drum roll please...religion in our present day and how it affects people and their actions.
Tim Russert was pretty pathetic. He has a list of questions that he asked all of the people one by one and didn't challenge anything anybody said. For istance he asked a question to the imam about the suicide bombers and the imam deflected by spouting something about other religions that in the past have killed in the name of their god.
The follow up question that Russert should have asked at that time was something like: Hey, imam, today all of the suicide bombers are islamists. They intentionally run into delicatessens and malls and blow up men, women and children because they are not muslim. I don't exactly see the Methodist Martyrs Brigade running around and blowing people up for no reason other than they are not METHODIST. How do you respond to this?
But I digress.
The fact that Russert didn't pin anyone down on anything is just an annoyance, not surprising for a network host. Don't want to offend anyone now, do we?
It didn't really take anything away from the discussion of religion and how it is affecting the world today. The rabbi didn't do the Jews any justice in the discussion. I don't even know why he was on the panel. He was yammering on about income redistribution, corporate greed and some other nonsense.
Ronald Reagan: How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx
and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands
Marx and Lenin.
I sincerely would have loved to hear from a rabbi that wasn't so bitter and, well, socialist.
This guy was pretty interesting. Be sure to click on his site. Modern clothes, plain english, current fashions. He has a church in Houston and preaches to over 40,000 people every Sunday. His big selling point was that they do a lot of pumping up and preaching what is good instead of focusing on how bad we as humans are. A very modern concept. He said that he wanted folks to feel good about themselves and the church when they left the services. I think that is very refreshing. I went to a Baptist church when young and these things were never emphasized. Rather scare tactics and a lot of fire and brimstone were utilized to make people repent and feel belittled in front of the power that was god. As I have mentioned before, I am reading "Albion's Seed". The services that the Puritans had were eerily similar to what I experienced when I was growing up in the Baptist church. Osteen very well may be a quack and a cult leader, but he came across as a very interesting alternative to the old school fire and brimstone approach. Maybe that is why his ministry is so apparently successful.
The nun didn't have too much interesting to say.
The priest was clearly the best read of the whole panel. He cited historical references and in detail explained why the USA is where it is, and shut down Russert once or twice on leading questions. He had his slant, of course, but he was very eloquent and an interesting person to listen to.
It is too bad it all ended up being a Russert question and answer session rather than a free-wheeling debate because all of the panel members, I feel, would have respected each other and allowed for a good debate (except maybe the rabbi, who seemed crazed at times).
This type of discussion would, I feel, make the founders proud. Persons of many different religions sitting around a table, discussing the current states of their religions as relates to the population of the United States. It makes me proud, as well.
I don't think you would have too many discussions like this anywhere else in the world.