March 9, 2001
volume 12, no. 68

I'm a 'Jesus Freak' and proud of it!

    There's a song that I often hum to myself. Can't help it, heard it when I was knee-high to a grasshopper and haven't got it out of my head. Thank God I can write it and not sing it because yours truly is known by my sons as "Mr. Off-key" when it comes to singing. During Mass I sing very softly unless, of course, it is one of those great traditional hymns I was weaned on. Those I know and love and even manage to stay in tune. The song that keeps popping up goes like this, "Ain't got a barrel of money, whether it's rainy or sunny, but we're travelin' along, singin' a song, side by side."

    Maybe it's sad or its funny that the "Mouth of the South" Ted Turner doesn't have someone side-by-side anymore now that Jane Fonda's taken a powder. Maybe that's why she left. Maybe that's why he's the way he is. Naw!

    Maybe it's sad or its funny that Turner has inserted the ol' size tens again with his most recent remarks at CNN on February 28th. It was on this day with beaucoup witnesses that he ridiculed the few Catholic employees who work for this left-wing media mogul. It was Ash Wednesday, a day Catholics are separated from the rest by the mark of our humility with the ashes on the forehead. He knew what it was, but in his egotistical "play-it-dumb-cause-I'm-the-boss-who-can-say-anything" attitude, he meant to be boorish and put people down because that's just the way he is.

    There were evidently three or four Catholics among 300 gathered at CNN for long-time anchor Bernard Shaw's retirement party. There was Turner, with that obvious deer-in-the-headlights stare directly toward those few with ashes above their eyebrows, as he stammered, "I was looking at this woman and I was trying to figure out what was on her forehead. At first I thought you were in the earthquake." Honest to God, that's what he said. Last we checked the only earthquake of any magnitude was in Seattle, not Atlanta. Okay, we can understand if he wants to make a clown of himself. But then, when a few folks looked at him in bewilderment and disbelief that this goon was mouthing off about an earthquake, he resorted to his bigoted, solidly anti-Catholic prejudice with the inane remark, "I realized you're just Jesus freaks."

    Maybe it's sad or it's funny, but he meant it to be mean. That's just the way Turner is. He's made several anti-Catholic remarks before, against the Pope and the Sacraments. The last few times he made an ass of himself in such a manner he made a half-hearted apology and Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, in the spirit of cooperation and forgiveness, accepted his hollow apologies. This time? Three strikes and you're out!

    Maybe it's sad or it's funny but there's been a rash of anti-Catholic slurs that go on and rarely get reported in exposing the offender as wrong. Quite possibly this would have escaped the Drudge Report or any other "Right-wing conspiracy" if he hadn't followed up his "Jesus freaks" comment with "Shouldn't you guys be working for Fox?"

    That was meant to be mean, too, for ever since the election FoxNews, which promotes itself as "fair and balanced, we report, you decide," has been scrubbing the once mighty CNN in the ratings. That makes Turner seethe not to be number one. But it's the manner of how FoxNews, the one good thing Rupert Murdoch can be proud of, has been taking on the giant and winning that eats at Turner's craw. You see truth in advertising holds true here because FoxNews is indeed "fair and balanced." They endeavor to present both sides and let the viewer decide. It has been a refreshing change from the unbalanced load of slanted, liberal droppings being evacuated through the airwaves on all the other networks.

    To make matters worse for ol' Ted, FoxNews has been rubbing it in his face with their daily promos with documentation that they are indeed beating CNN. And no wonder because, for the most part, they have people who you not only like, but who you can trust. When is the last time you heard that about Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings or Bernard Shaw? I'd say many are hoping they'll hold retirement parties soon for these pompous news anchors at CBS, NBC and ABC respectively.

    With the Clinton legacy in limbo and heading downward as in...well you know, these liberal anchors' time is passing. Taking up the baton for integrity are the likes of Brit Hume, John Gibson, Tony Snow, Neil Cavuto, Paula Zahn, Shephard Smith, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity of "Hannity and Colmes." Alan Colmes seems like the perfect foil. He's so much like Turner save for the bank account. Hannity and O'Reilly are both staunch Catholics and not afraid, especially Hannity, to speak out for the Church, to stand up for their Faith. Both have taken Renee Cox to task for her obscene, blasphemous rendition of the Last Supper at the Brooklyn Museum. Both have stood up against Catholic bashing much more than the bishops! Now that's a sad commentary on the Hierarchy in America. Sad, but true.

    So I ask, what is more of an insult to loyal Catholics, Turner's remarks or the silence of the bishops? I'd say the latter. Turner you can excuse, as Donohue pointed out because he's definitely against the Church, "He may be just as dumb as John Rocker, but, unlike the Atlanta pitcher, he occupies a position of significant influence in our culture. That is why we look to his superiors at AOL Time Warner to denounce Turner for his relentless attacks on Christians. Indeed, they might want to take a page from professional baseball and ship Turner off for some sensitivity training." Nice snipe and well-deserved; as was Brit Hume's on his special segment "The Grapevine" just before the Beltway Boys gathered to tell it like it is as they always do on his "Special Report" program.

    I guess maybe I've got thick skin, but Turner's remarks really don't bother me. Maybe it's because his credibility has completely vanished. Maybe it's because he's really lost. Yeah, he's got billions, but what good is that going to do him when push comes to shove and God gives him the pink slip? No, I have to consider what Our Lord said on the Cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23: 34). I forgive you, Mr. Turner. I may not forget, but I forgive.

    Maybe it's sad or it's funny that Turner is so anti-Catholic. Could be his upbringing, who knows. But then, at least you know he's against you. I keep thinking of the passage in Apocalypse/Revelation 3: 15-17 and I can't help but think that verse 17 applies to Turner, "because thou sayest, 'I am rich and have grown wealthy and have need of nothing' and dost not know that thou art the wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked one." When you read that, you have to feel sorry for Mr. Turner and all those others who lord their riches over others.

    It is the two verses before that which do not apply to Turner because he is definitely extreme. Rather, it's sad and not funny that those verses apply very much to a great number of bishops of the United States, "I know thy works; thou art neither cold nor hot. I would that thou wert cold or hot. But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit thee out of My mouth;"

    That's pretty graphic, pretty harsh. And that's from the Lord. Do you think the bishops truly understand that passage? Do you think they should greatly reconsider the lukewarmness they convey to the faithful? I think so. I'd hate to be spewed out like so much regurgitation.

    And, because I fear the Lord and love Him I refuse to be lukewarm, I refuse to cower from anti-Catholic prejudice or intimidation. I also refuse to be silent in calling the bishops to task for their inaction toward pro-abort politicians who continue to call themselves 'Catholic' and, in so doing, cause great scandal. By their silence they only compound the silence. The water they stir is not the refreshing, healing waters of the Holy Spirit but rather the lukewarm, tepid and stagnant muck of relativism and conformity.

    They may not like me saying that. They may not like me rippling their comfortable pond. So what? It's what Christ wants. They can call me anything they want. And if they'd like a suggestion, just take a page out of Ted Turner's book and call this fool for Christ a "Jesus Freak." It's a badge of honor for all Catholics to carry as long as they realize they are marked by the Cross of Christ. Bring on the catcalls, bring on the slurs. Sorry, Ted, in that light I'm not offended because, indeed, I'm a 'Jesus Freak' and proud of it!

Michael Cain, editor

For past editorials, see CATHOLIC PewPOINT Archives

March 9, 2001
volume 12, no. 68
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