NEW YORK - Rosie O'Donnell, the new co-host of the ABC women's talk show "The View," made some comments on Christianity this week that has prompted some Christians to respond in strong disagreement.
During a discussion on the 9/11 anniversary on Tuesday, O'Donnell expressed her clear opposition to the war in Iraq but also made parallels between "radical Christianity" and "radical Islam."
"Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have a separation of church and state. We're a democracy here," she said on the show.
Her co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Joy Behar reportedly seemed shocked after O'Donnell's remarks.
The Rev. Rob Schenck, founder of Faith and Action, a Christian ministry on Capitol Hill, responded in a statement, "Miss O'Donnell's comment was recklessly irresponsible and even dangerous. To equate 'radical Christianity' to mass murder is outrageous. A 'radical Christian' is one who takes his or her faith seriously - a faith that has as one of its primary tenets, 'Blessed are the peacemakers.'"
Similarly, Michele Combs, director of communications for the Christian Coalition of America, said, "This is America, and everyone can have their own opinion, however, we do disagree with her opinion. Christianity is all about faith. Christianity is all about humanity and equality. That was the core of the life of Jesus Christ"
After O'Donnell's surprising comments, Hasselbeck said, "We are not bombing ourselves here in the country. We are being attacked."
O'Donnell then responded, "But we are bombing innocent people in other countries."
The difference between the two religious groups, Behar indicated, is that "Christians are not threatening to kill us. This group (radical Islamists) is threatening to kill us."
It was only week two for O'Donnell on "The View" which just began its 10th season with Behar, Hasselbeck and Barbara Walters. O'Donnell had left her own talk show in May 2002 to rest and help raise her four children with her homosexual partner Kelli Carpenter O'Donnell, according to the Associated Press.
O'Donnell's contempt for Christianity should be no surprise, said Randy Sharp, director of special projects for the American Family Association, according to CNSNews. "Rosie has a well-documented hatred for the war on terrorism, a hatred for our president, and a hatred for the principles of Christianity."
Still, Schenck called for an "immediate apology" to every American and a retraction.
"ODonnells comments are dripping with contempt and hostility for the vast majority of Americans who consider themselves religious," he said, referring to the new survey by the Baylor University Sociology Department and the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion. The survey found that more Americans are active in religious groups than previously thought. Only 10.8 percent of Americans have no ties to a congregation, denomination or faith group, researchers discovered.
The entertainment industry has a greater influence over the public than any other medium, Schenck noted, and it thus "has an obligation to act responsibly." He went further to note how the industry was used as propaganda in Nazi Germany that bred hatred of Jews and other forms of religious intolerance.