CNN has been airing their much-hyped, God’s Warriors this week, which began Tuesday and ends tonight taking a 2 hour look at Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.
Prior to airing this week, Joe Carter was among several bloggers given a chance to preview the material and pose questions.
The three clips provided by CNN each highlighted one of the “fundamentalist” branches of the three Abrahamic faiths:
* God’s Jewish Warriors: theocratic Israeli settlers, including the man who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin
* God’s Muslim Warriors: theocratic British students, including the London subway bombers
* God’s Christian Warriors: Jerry Falwell and Liberty University
(Can you guess what CNN thinks that these three groups have in common?)
I asked Amanpour if the juxtaposition could be viewed as guilt by association, equating Falwell with religious fanatics who are driven to murder. Her response:
“All right. You know, he has a – he has a point. I don’t know how those individual clips were chosen and put out, but all I ask is that people look at the totality of each two-hour documentary, because clearly there’s going to be the spectrum from the violent to the legitimate.”
“I would say that we’re trying not to focus just on violence, because we feel that has been done over and over again in legitimate daily news coverage and many documentaries before. What we’re trying to show is the way religion is experiencing a real surge as a political tool and as a political outlet, and how religion is impacting our cultures in the Islamic, Jewish, and Christian worlds.”
Later on she reiterated that the producers had no intention of creating a “moral equivalency” least of all “in the tactics used.” Fair enough. So she doesn’t think that the kids at Liberty are equivalent to suicide bombers and political assassins.
While the producers of the series are not attempting to establish a moral equivalency, they are establishing an equivalency of ideology. According to their narrative, Falwell, the “religious right”, and other conservative Christians, may not be violent, but like the fundamentalist Jews and Muslims, they are attempting to circumvent the inviolable status of secularism.
Indeed, this seems to be what Amanpour believes: “[I]n the Western and in the developed world, perhaps here in the 21st century we would have expected secularism and governance and politics to be what governs our daily lives,” Amanpour told the bloggers. “We would not have expected, and perhaps we still don’t expect, religion to play such a real, present role in our daily lives, politics, and culture.”
Ms. Amanpour’s surprise and apparent dismay is found in a lack of understanding of a true religious worldview, one in which believers see all truth claims, including politics, through the spectrum of their religion.
Furthermore, Ms. Amanmpour’s statement reveals a borrowed worldview. When she says she expected secularism to govern our daily lives, she assumes secularism is neither a religion nor a worldview, but a convenient, care-free mode citizens of faith or no faith can switch on and off when needed. In truth, secularism is both a religion and a worldview just as Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. In politics, someone’s morality is always being legislated. A lack of traditional religious tones does not clear the water. It’s only a different lake.