First, we should demand character, not merely competence, from our political leaders and cultural spokesmen. Those who oppose conservative and Christian ideas will seize any opportunity to discredit the message by attacking the messenger. We should be careful about whom we look to as spokespeople.
Secondly, let’s remember that “conservative” does not always equal “Christian.” We live in an era in which the culture is trending away from Christian ideas and toward secularism. So conserving what came before often—not always, but often—means conserving Christian ideas. But when and where that is not the case, we should be careful to promote Christian ideals and not merely conservative ideology.
Thirdly, we should remember that the ends do not justify the means. The Christian worldview is true, but it is not merely true. It is also good and beautiful. If we resort to the ugly, the evil, and the banal in our public discourse and private lives, we undermine the truth of the story we want the world to hear.
Finally, let’s not depend so much on our media stars to do the heavy lifting of cultural change. Here at the Colson Center we talk often about “de-professionalizing” the work of the Gospel, including the work of cultural change. By that we mean that raising our kids means more than just sending them to the right youth group. And cultural engagement means more than following a media celebrity on Facebook or retweeting a clever meme.
I often speak to young people who are burning with enthusiasm to “make a difference” in the world. My counsel to them is usually “If you want to change the world, first make your bed.” We should remember that the best evidence for the transformative power of the Gospel is the testimony of our own transformed lives. Christians should live differently if we want our ideas to have credibility in the public square.
To conclude: I cannot say with certainty whether Bill O’Reilly is guilty or innocent of the sexual harassment charges, but the evidence we do have, and his spectacular fall from public favor, should lead to a teachable moment for the conservative movement and Christians in particular. We should take a good, long, hard look in the cultural mirror and remember Shakespeare’s words: “The fault . . . is not in our [media] stars, but in ourselves.”
( A TEACHABLE MOMENT FOR THE CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT )
( Billy’s thoughts – The only thing I would add to the above piece is join me in a prayer I praying for Bill, his firing would draw him to Christ. That happened to a well known column writer years ago after he was fired by NBC TV. Today he is on fire for Christ, and making a difference in the media for Jesus. The same could happen in Bill’s life. )