The Emmy Awards began last night with a monologue from co-hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che. The Saturday Night Live cast members recited a typical litany of political jabs and sarcastic digs.
Then Che told the audience that his mother would not be watching the show. The reason: "She says she doesn't like watching white award shows because you guys don't thank Jesus enough."
Che continued: "That's true. The only white people that thank Jesus are Republicans and ex-crackheads."
It's hard to imagine such a joke aimed at Muslims, Jews, or Buddhists. But ridiculing Christians is fair game in Hollywood these days.
The latest on Judge Kavanaugh's nomination
As you know, college professor Christine Blasey Ford is alleging that Judge Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party when they were high school students. Judge Kavanaugh calls her accusation "completely false."
Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh both stated yesterday that they are willing to testify before Congress about this issue. The Senate Judiciary Committee has now scheduled a hearing for next Monday to hear from both.
Republicans are severely criticizing Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, for the timing of the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. Last July, Dr. Ford sent a letter alleging sexual abuse against Judge Kavanaugh to her local congresswoman, Rep. Anna Eshoo, requesting confidentiality.
She forwarded the information to Sen. Feinstein on July 30, who provided the letter to the FBI only last week. The senator states that she wanted to protect Dr. Ford's identity and forwarded the letter only after a news report surfaced about it. She said nothing about the letter during the weeks-long process of interviews with the judge and the Senate's confirmation process.
What could happen next
If Dr. Ford's allegation prevents Judge Kavanaugh from being confirmed to the Supreme Court, it will be difficult for the Senate to confirm another candidate before the midterm elections. If Democrats then win the Senate, they could block President Trump from naming a conservative to the Court.
Republicans might then try to confirm a conservative nominee during the lame-duck period between the election and the beginning of the next session of Congress in January. If they fail to do so, Democrats could refuse to consider President Trump's nominee, claiming that they should wait until the 2020 election. This was the position taken by Senate Republicans when they refused to consider President Obama's nominee to the Court prior to the 2016 election.
In short, Republican leaders are accusing the Democrats of putting political agendas before the good of the country.
To be fair, we should note that Republican leaders have their own political motivations for wanting to see Judge Kavanaugh confirmed. And we should not assume that they would not have employed the same strategy if the roles were reversed.
Actions have agendas
In describing the ridicule of Christians at the Emmys and political machinations related to Judge Kavanaugh's nomination, here's my point: actions have agendas.
Those who produced last night's Emmys know that mocking Christians appeals to their base. It is conventional wisdom for many in Hollywood that followers of Jesus are "intolerant" and "homophobic." Caricaturing and criticizing us is part of a larger narrative, one in which all truth claims are subjective, all consensual sexual activity is to be tolerated, and those who disagree are to be ridiculed.
Similarly, in the current political environment, both parties are convinced that theirs is the only correct vision for America. They are therefore convinced that the other party must be defeated at all costs. Manipulating the Supreme Court confirmation process is a means to their larger ends.
However, my purpose today is to analyze rather than to criticize.
We should not be surprised that those who ridicule Christianity do not understand God's word or our faith. Nor should we be surprised when politically motivated leaders act according to their party interests.
It is Christians who need to rise above the name-calling and antagonism of our day. In a time when world happiness is at its lowest level in ten years and half of all Americans complain of stress, the joy of the Lord is our most powerful witness. God is calling us to manifest the forgiving grace and personal compassion of Jesus, to love others as he loves us (John 13:34).
The paradox of love
The Emmys began by mocking Christians, but there was a bright spot later in the telecast. Glen Weiss won an Emmy for outstanding directing for a variety special. He then proposed marriage to his girlfriend in the audience, a first in Primetime Emmy Awards history. He placed on her finger the ring his father had given his mother sixty-seven years earlier.
The crowd stood to its feet in applause. Many were wiping away tears.
God made us to love him and each other. When we love those who don't love us, they and the world take note. Mother Teresa observed: "I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love."
Will you experience that paradox today?