oreilly_bill.jpgLast night, I caught a little bit of Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor. In one segment, Bill O’Reilly showed the video footage of two homosexual men dressed up as nuns with clown wigs entering a Catholic church to receive Communion from the visiting archbishop. This event was clearly designed to be a desecration of the sacrament, as well as a slap in the face of all Christians.

O’Reilly opined for a while with former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed about the failure of Christians to stand up and demand their rights. He mentioned how Muslims would have reacted had this been a mosque, and he urged Christians to fight back against those who would denigrate their religion.

O’Reilly is right to point out the unfairness of the media coverage regarding this issue. The only acceptable form of bigotry left in the United States is that which is directed to Christians. However, I take issue with O’Reilly’s insistence that Christians strike out against the desecrators. I wrote a letter to Bill, which I am publishing here. (I will check tonight to see if it is included in the mail comments at the end of the program.)

Bill,

As a Baptist minister, I deplore the mockery made of the sacrament at the Catholic mass in San Francisco. However, your concern and anxiety over the fact that few Christians were fighting back is perplexing.

Do you actually expect us Christians to react similarly to Muslims when our religion is desecrated? History shows that early Christianity spread throughout the world under persecution from the Roman Empire and the Caesars. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church…” claimed Tertullian in the third century. History shows that early Islam spread quite differently, by wielding the sword and forcing conversions.

Perhaps the reticence of Christians to respond angrily and violently to the mockery in San Francisco is not so much apathy, as it is the right response demanded by the Christian faith.

The Christ we worship was mocked, spit upon, and beaten, but he did not fight back. Instead, he uttered the words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

The truly Christian response to the mayhem in San Francisco is not angry words and fighting for our rights. It is taking up our crosses, offering forgiveness, and shedding tears for those who persecute the very One who died for our sins.

written by Trevin Wax  © 2007 Kingdom People blog

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0 thoughts on “My Letter to Bill O'Reilly Regarding the Desecration of the Sacrament”

  1. Sylvia says:

    Wow. This is an awesome thought. Thanks for writing this, Trevin. I want to watch it tonight to see if this note is included also.

  2. Chris says:

    I watched O’Reilly last night too. I was very sad! I agree with you Trevin when you say that “history shows that early Christianity spread throughout the world under persecution from the Roman Empire and the Caesars”, but we live in a different time, culture etc… and I guess we can probably do something about it; and I’m not talking about fightings or something like that, but at least an appologize!

  3. Joseph Gould says:

    I’m in no way bashing your letter, only using it as an opportunity to ask you a related question which this situation brought to my mind:

    What is the proper reaction as a Protestant to an event such as this? Since we see the RCC’s mass to be an act of idolatry and not a true celebration of the Lord’s Supper, is it even proper to say that this event is a desecration of a sacrament when we wouldn’t even say the RCC can properly celebrate the Supper?

    I’ll be interested in your thoughts. Also, please let us cable-less fellows know if O’Reilly mentions your email!

  4. trevinwax says:

    Hi Joseph,

    Somehow we always manage to return to the Lord’s Supper. How fun!

    As Christians, I believe we should be concerned whenever any religion is denigrated and any adherents are the victims of hatred and bigotry. This is not to relativize the distinctions between religions. I believe Islam to be inherently violent, dangerous, and anti-God (since it is not trinitarian). Yet my Christian faith and my belief in freedom insists that Muslims should have the right to worship. Therefore, I am against the desecration of the Koran (even though I do not believe it is a holy book at all).

    In the same way, put the differences aside… this attack that took place at the mass could have taken place in a Baptist church at an altar call, or at a Presbyterian potluck, or at an Episcopalian Eucharist. The point is not whether or not the RCC is properly celebrating the Lord’s Supper. The point is… it is an attack on Christianity as a whole, not just the RCC.

  5. Joseph Gould says:

    I don’t think I disagree with what you are saying as I understand you. I suppose my concern (which probably didn’t come out clearly in my first comment) is that I don’t want to give the appearance to the public masses that the RCC holds to the same Gospel that evangelical Protestants hold to, and especially in the Mass. But like I said, I don’t think I am disagreeing with you.

  6. trevinwax says:

    Joseph,

    The differences between the RCC and Protestants are not the issue here. This is a civil rights issue, and my comments address the distinctively Christian way to respond (regardless of whether you are Catholic or Protestant).

  7. ephemeroticon says:

    I venture to say that many in the the homosexual community may feel persecuted by the Christian majority and the ideals of Christians prevalent in our governmental and social institutions. While it is unfair for both sides to mock and denegrate the other, I caution Christians from likening their injured pride to the perceived responsibility of the famous martyr Jesus by equating the acts of the two homosexuals in San Francisco to the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire.

  8. trevinwax says:

    I wouldn’t equate the acts of these homosexuals to the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire. But it was definitely meant to be an insult. And while I don’t feel “injured pride” at the event, I am called to turn the other cheek and to rejoice in the insult, for so the godly have always been treated.

    You are right that many in the homosexual community may feel persecuted by Christians, and that is a shame. Crimes against our neighbors, no matter their behavior, should not be tolerated… and when Christians act in this way, they are acting in a way that is false to the true Christian faith.

  9. Blackhaw says:

    Interesting letter but I think the silence instead of outcry from Christians over this issue has more to do with apathy than a willingness to accept persecution. I think most Christians do not care enough to get involved in things like this unless it directly affects them or their church.

  10. Jake says:

    Maybe it’s because of Christianities brutality and oppression of gay people over the thousands of years since it was founded that caused these TWO people to do that. Christianity has been the engine of anti-gay hate around the world.

  11. Frank says:

    As a member of the RCC, I take offense at the desecration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by anyone, as well as taking offense of any desecration of any Christian religious service.

    But I was intrigued by one comment which referenced a belief by some Protestant brothers that the Mass is idolatrous?! I thought that idolatry was the worship of idols. I hope that our Protestant brothers and sisters do not regard the worship of God. Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as idols. I,m hoping that the reference is the ignorant belief that members of the RCC worship saints, angels, and other holy people. If that is the belief, than it is 100% wrong. Members of the RCC honor these holy people and pray to them for intercession with God, since Catholics believe that they hold a special place with God. I am hoping that is the intercession that has some people confused. think of it as a child going to a parent to talk with the other parent for them. It is not necessary to do so, but children do it anyway. By praying to a saint is not thinking of them as gods, but rather as the parent the child does to. Members of the RCC are not required to ask for intercession, but some do so, if that is their wish. We know that God listens to all his children with love and compassion and takes care of his children. The saints are just one way to approach God, as is praying directlhy to him.

    The Mass is a reenactment of the Last Supper. It is a ceremony of the time when Jesus told his followers to take his love to the world. The RCC celebrates this a one of the steps which led to the salvation of mankind.

    I’d like to reccomend to my Protestant brothers and sisters to attend a Mass. See how deeply spiritual it is and how it is a time of prayer, celebration, hearing the Gospel and praying over the words and lessons of Jesus. The Mass is quite different from what you may experience at your worship services, but, as you will see, it is not idolatrous, but a beautiful ceremony.

    God Bless you all

  12. Brian says:

    Wow, thank you Trevin. This is my first time to the blog, but I am struck by your very insightful and grace-filled words.

    Also, thank you Frank for your explanation. I was also struck by the comment you mentioned, but, not being a Catholic, could not have adequately responded. I really appreciate your explanation, because it helps me understand the Catholic traditions better.

  13. SnakesDon'tTalk says:

    History shows that early Christianity spread throughout the world under persecution from the Roman Empire and the Caesars. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church…” claimed Tertullian in the third century. History shows that early Islam spread quite differently, by wielding the sword and forcing conversions.

    Oh brother. Someone is ignoring quite a bit of history. Christianity. Spread via crusades, inquisitions, witch burnings, torture and killing of Jews for supposed host desecrations, genital mutilation of infant boys, just to highlight a few abuses of power. Please. Christianity has quite a bit of blood on its hands. Read the bible. Even within it’s pages is a hell of alot of genocide in the name of getting the Jews to the holy land. God himself in the old testament was the worst abuser for his namesake. Didn’t He afterall, flood the entire planet? Wasn’t it Jesus himself who said, I come not in peace but bearing a sword? For the author to pretend that Christians are being persecuted is laughable.

    When federal funds are directed to faith based groups with accountability required, when churches are taxed like everyone else for their real estate and contributing to the tax base of their communities, then maybe, maybe faith groups can whine about persecution. Oh wait. You should be held to the same accountability standards as other non-profits not whining for special treatment. Whining for special treatment. This is the faith-based legacy and true history.

  14. STARR PENDERGRAFT says:

    I will take a very strong stand for my Lord & Savior, who threw the tables over in the church. We cannot stand by, and let our ministries be invaded by those who have no honor, respect, dignity, or love for our Lord. It gets too far out of hand, if we do not intercede immediately, and openly. Thanx

  15. Anne says:

    maybe

    Protest by Catholics generally seems to increase the profit share and notoriety/fame of the perpetrators – While doing very little to qualitatively help the Faithful.

    Whatsoever things are good . . .
    Focus on evil. Evil grows. Focus on Good. Maybe Good will grow. Spend your limited time and resources being a positive influence.

    So How do we defeat evil? Confrontation, Prayer, Action? Keeping to our own world? Shining a light Or cursing the darkness? All of these. The Good News is that ultimately the fight is God’s not our own.

    The Bible directs us to First focus on the Faithful who are lost. Then on those who clearly refuse or reject Christianity. Expend your energy on those who *want* to believe. Outrage doesn’t heal anyone. Maybe it shames some people into behaving better. (O’Reilly’s strength.)And MLK immediately jumps to the front of my mind. Ahimsa.

    But that presupposes an underlying consciousness and concern for the humanity of other Americans Which unfortunately can’t always be relied upon.

    Still there is something to be said for banding together and letting it be known that respect isnt just for other people. It’s for the One True God. And that the Devil doesn’t get free reign just because we’re concerned with being polite.

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, husband to Corina, father to Timothy, Julia, and David. You can follow him on Twitter. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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