Paul Cooper

NewsReal Sunday: Behar Tells Churches to Shut Up and Play Bingo

Posted on November 15 2009 6:30 am
Paul Cooper is a husband and father above all else. With a wife and 2 daughters he could use a dog, but sadly he only owns a cat – a female cat no less. Paul is also a pastor, blogger, and business owner. Find him on Twitter.
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Every so often Joy Behar likes to attack churches.  The Catholic Church (which she grew up in) is especially a favorite target of hers. While interviewing comedian (and atheist) Penn Jillette and Huffington Post founding editor Roy Sekoff, Behar tried to make the case that Christians shouldn’t be allowed a voice in the public square – a sentiment becoming more common among leftist cable news hosts.

Joy Behar: “Representatives of the Catholic Church were seen meeting with Nancy Pelosi which led to the Stupak amendment…banning federal money for abortion.  Whatever happened to separation of church and state?…Why don’t the Bishops worry about other things like carrying for the poor, Bingo games – why are they involved with this?”

This may surprise you, but Joy’s facts are a little off.  Nancy Pelosi had nothing to do with adding the Stupak Amendment to the House version of the health care bill – and she certainly didn’t vote for it.  Moreover, Behar completely ignores the fact that the Catholic Church does care for the poor far more than many other organizations.

Kudos to both Jillette and Sekoff in defending the Church’s right to have a voice in the public square.  Both men disagree with Behar’s harsh view. Behar, not surprisingly, completely misunderstands separation of church and state.  She is clueless that it is to protect the religious freedom of people from one denomination heading up the government, and is meant to protect churches from the government telling it how to live out their faith. Behar, on the other hand, wants to remove separation of church and state by having the government tell Christians that they should shut up and play bingo.

Behar and Sekoff go on to question why Catholics would be involved with abortion and ignore helping the least of these.  To Sekoff helping the least of these means supporting a socialized health care bill (of course he ignores the fact that the Catholic Church actually does support government health care as long as it doesn’t pay for abortions). Both infer Catholics are hypocrites by not supporting a health care bill that allows abortion. Sekoff even paraphrases Jesus in the gospel of  Matthew to make his point. Here is the actual verse he is referring to:

I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  Matthew 25:40

What Behar and Sekoff don’t get is that most Catholics and evangelical Christians consider babies in the womb the least of the least of these. They are the voiceless.  They are the helpless. They are the innocent who need a helping hand and a voice more than any other. Yes we help the poor, we visit the sick and imprisoned, and we feed the hungry. But we also help give a voice to babies of unplanned pregnancies.  That is a high calling. It’s not about politics.  It’s not about power. It’s about life and justice.

To support life isn’t contrary to helping the least of these – it is the very definition of helping the least of these. We should not be silenced or threatened for standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

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