Monday, March 8, 2010

Today on Kresta - March 8, 2010

Talking about the Things That Matter Most on Mar. 8

4:00 – America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story
The exodus story is America's story. Moses is our real founding father. The pilgrims quoted his story. Franklin and Jefferson proposed he appear on the U.S. seal. Washington and Lincoln were called his incarnations. The Statue of Liberty and Superman were molded in his image. Martin Luther King, Jr., invoked him the night before he died. Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama cited him as inspiration. For four hundred years, one figure inspired more Americans than any other. His name is Moses. Bruce Feiler travels through touchstones in American history and traces the biblical prophet's influence from the Mayflower through today. He visits the island where the pilgrims spent their first Sabbath, climbs the bell tower where the Liberty Bell was inscribed with a quote from Moses, retraces the Underground Railroad where "Go Down, Moses" was the national anthem of slaves, and dons the robe Charlton Heston wore in The Ten Commandments. We look at America's Prophet.

4:30 – Liberating Black Theology: The Bible and the Black Experience in America
When the beliefs of Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, assumed the spotlight during the 2008 presidential campaign, the influence of black liberation theology became hotly debated not just within theological circles but across cultural lines. How many of today's African-American congregations-and how many Americans in general-have been shaped by its view of blacks as perpetual victims of white oppression? In a biblical critique of the black experience in America, Anthony Bradley introduces us to black liberation theology and its spiritual and social impact.

5:00 – Direct to My Desk


  1. Re: The Bruce Feiler Interview

    During Feiler's account of how America's founders likened their mission to that of Moses, he asserted: "And the Catholic Church, of course, said you couldn't read the [Moses] story directly. The priests had to do it for you; it was only in Latin, and only in church. With the Reformation, for the first time, people had bibles they could read in their own languages."

    Is that true? If it isn't, why only silence from Al? Al certainly wouldn't have shown that kind of silent deference to Christopher Hitchens.

    As to the belief that God aided the colonists in their struggle against the British, just as He aided the Jews in their struggle against the Egyptians, are we to believe that God sided with one group of non-Catholics against another group of non-Catholics and performed miracles to make sure His side won? For example, are we really to believe that God overrode His Laws of Nature on the morning of August 30,1776, by producing a miracle fog that enabled Washington's troops to complete their retreat across the East River from Brooklyn to Manhattan, thus escaping certain defeat at the hands of the British and allowing them to fight another day? Why perform miracles like that instead of simply planting thoughts in the minds of the British to give up and leave the colonists alone. But then, that wouldn't have been much of a show. Think of all the exciting movies that wouldn't have been made, like The Patriot, with Mel Gibson. No. Pain is God's great invention. Let her rip!

    Why was Moses, rather than Jesus, the great motivating influence in the creation of America? Feiler is a Jew. In his book, he wrote, "Moses was more important to the Puritans, more meaningful to the Revolution, more impactful during the Civil War, and more inspiring to the immigrants' rights, civil rights, and women's rights movements of the last century, than Jesus." More succinctly, he says, "Moses is bigger than Jesus."

    A USA Today article about Feiler and his book.

    A FOX News article authored by Feiler - Moses vs. Jesus.

    Journalist Robert Wright's video interview of Feiler. Again, Feiler asserts that the Catholic Church did not allow people to read the Bible directly.

  2. mauman

    I noticed Al's silence at that point too. And boy what a response Al gave yesterday to this error. I don't know if your inflammatory comment agitated it but you have demonstrated that God can use your character flaws to bring about an even greater teaching.

    You say...
    "...are we to believe that God sided with one group of non-Catholics against another group of non-Catholics..."

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church says...
    CCC 836 "All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God. . . . And to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God's grace to salvation."320

    It's about the pursuit of truth mauman and anybody can be engaged in such pursuit, it's just that the Catholic Church is the only one with the map to get to the truth.

    You would do well to thumb through the 830s and 840s of the Catechism and be informed about what Catholics believe God can or won't do for non Catholics. Just so you don't sound like a jerk when you are talking to Catholics.


  3. Mauman,
    Thanks for listening so carefully. I heard Feilor's remark and decided not to pursue it given that it wasn't central to his main contention.

    Sometimes I'll have to resist the temptation to correct a guest on a remark if it is merely window dressing or part of a battery of comments used to make a point which stands regardless of the illustratiave remark.

    Correcting Feilor on that point would have slowed down the interview and taken us down trails that would have hampered my goal.

    As Chris pointed out I dealt with it at some length the next day. It's true I wouldn't have let Hitchens make a statement like that because we probably would have been talking about the Catholic Church as an oppressive institution. in which case, his remark would have been central to his contention and not mere window dressing about generalized biblical illiteracy.


  4. Chris,

    I just went to the Kresta In The Afternoon Archives and listened to Al's thorough explanation. Notice that I posted my comment three hours after he addressed the issue. So my comment had nothing to do with it.

    I had not heard that part of the show when I posted my comment. I should have listened to it first.

  5. I think more needs to be said about this. Obviously, Bruce Feiler spent a large amount of time doing careful research for his book. He even quantifies the proportion of eulogies for George Washington comparing him to Moses.

    No one would deny that Feiler knows how to research a subject. So what's up with the allegation that the Catholic Church prohibited people from reading the Bible? Where did he get it from? And why didn't he bother to check it out? Now I feel like I have to check the rest of his work, and I really don't want to do that. (Can I really trust Feiler's claim about George Washington's eulogies?)

    I did some internet research for my original comment. That's why I posted it so late. In my comment I provided a link to Robert Wright's video interview of Feiler, in which Feiler makes the same allegation against the Church. I didn't bother to mention yet another interview I heard. Again, the same allegation. In fact, he seems to have it memorized; it sounds the same each time he says it.

    Christopher Hitchens did the same thing. During his interview with Al, he accused the Russian Orthodox Church of producing icons of Stalin, when in fact it was an isolated incident.

    I think this nonchalant attitude toward facts is a big problem. It happens so often now on talk radio, it's become simply overwhelming. I guess nothing can be done about it, because the people who cause the problem don't seem to care.