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What Christians can learn from Bill O’Reilly’s departure.

April 20, 2017

Last night at our men’s Bible study we had a brief discussion about the departure of long-time media powerhouse Bill O’Reilly from FOX News.  Some who had been faithfully following his program for years were dismayed and sorry.  One or two were angry, saying that “the left” had sabotaged him.  Nobody expressed satisfaction that he had been shoved out.  Neither did anyone comment on the reason – allegations of a history of sexual abuse – that triggered the move.

I have no idea as to what O’Reilly did or did not do and, as most of the allegations against him are sealed as part of court settlements, I doubt I will ever know.  Nobody else, except for O’Reilly and his accusers, knows either but that has not stopped a flood or angry or smug commentators from weighing in.

The subject reminded me of a comment made a few months ago by a well-respected Christian woman who has been in the business world (in her case Wall Street) for decades.  In a discussion about another alleged abuser (Trump) she just grimaced, shrugged and said “When I started in business constantly hearing crude and lewd comments or being subjected to off-color jokes just sort of went with the territory.”  Her comment was a simple statement of fact, not an accusation, not a justification.  There was no more emotion in her statement than if she had said “back then we didn’t have the internet and smart phones.”

But what she had pointed out was that a shift in cultural morality has taken place.  When we Christians rail against “our immoral culture” we are missing an important point.  What O’Reilly found out, and we need to realize, is that in many ways the culture is every bit as moral, if not more so, than it was in the mythical golden age of national morality back when people my age were young.  Women today are, more and more, coming to understand that, no; crude and lewd comments do not need to go with the territory.

Frankly, as Christians, we should applaud this particular shift.  It moves culture closer to, not away from, the morality we have believed all along.  To be sure, in many ways our culture has drifted (one might say run) away from Christian morality.  When Christians say, as one did today, “This would never happen if these women had been ‘keepers at home’ as God intended.” it dismays me to no end.  So here are a few O’Reilly-based ideas for Christians:

  1. Women are in the workplace whether you like it or not. This trend will only increase.  Get over it.
  2. We should be the loudest and clearest voices to say, with no qualifications, that all workplace abuse is wrong. We should NEVER blame the victim.
  3. In a sea of moral changes that disturb us this is a golden opportunity; a place where cultural morality has shifted toward Christian ethics. Just imagine the look on the face of the secular feminist when she finds you standing shoulder-to-shoulder with her striving for the protection of women in the workplace.
  4. Situations like workplace abuse are great times to ask yourself what Jesus would actually do. You might well find that our Savior; who dined with sinners, spoke to “fallen women,” touched the sick, spoke with compassion to people who Jews despised and so much more will give you opportunities to do the same.

From → Christianity

  1. Great points. There is a narrative amongst many Christians that things are getting worse and fast. The problem with the “hell in a hand basket” narrative, is that it’s not exactly accurate in every area of society. For example, while some forms of morality are more readily accepted today, others are not: e.g. slavery, racism, sexual harassment. Furthermore, in most parts of the world poverty is on the decline and rates of violent crime are down. I think that some people fear that acknowledging these facts somehow takes away from their eschatological view, that things will get worse until Jesus comes back. The fact is that Jesus is coming back – period. As you said, Christians should be the ones championing these causes, not sitting back and watching the world wallow in and suffer from sin and error.

  2. I just assumed that we could learn that Christianity suffers from a cult of personality syndrome; we have our favorites who can do no wrong in our eyes and are good, innocent, upstanding people. Why, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, and Bill O’Reily are all completely innocent and have never behaved badly towards women once in their lives. This is all some vast conspiracy to take them down before they can change the world for the better.
    Or perhaps people are sinners, sinners sin sins. Famous people are just as much sinners as the rest of us, and because they’re often in public awareness, they’re even moreso of sinners. Why is it that we often jump to these Mr. Famous Names defense and in the process seem to call dozens of women liars in the process? Is it okay because they are just unimportant women, temptresses, and really nobodies who want fifteen minutes of fame?
    We have a lot of cultural baggage that tends to tilt the scales in the favor of men at the expense of women. Christianity’s teachings alone favor men as leaders and teachers, so it doesn’t like any report that diminishes or suggests that men aren’t the very best leaders there could ever be.

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