What Christians can learn from Bill O’Reilly’s departure.
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:
- Women are in the workplace whether you like it or not. This trend will only increase. Get over it.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.