WASHINGTON, December 26, 2013 — In a recent interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Barbara Walters expressed an unsurprising opinion. Asked about the president’s dismal performance and low approval ratings, she replied, “We thought he was going to be our Messiah.”
Laughter and good cheer are a staple of American homes at this time of year, but while Walters’ comment is hilarious, it is not the sort of hilarity we associate with Christmas, even though she did mention the Messiah. This laughter comes with a grimace.
Walters’ admission is absurd, but also dismaying; she is simply a spokesperson for the many who idolize other humans, taking normal admiration to an insane level.
Our culture is deformed by those who put human beings on pedestals and worship their every act. Walters’ comments represented millions who identify the leader of the free world with the risen Savior. In doing that she not only made a mockery of the divinity of Christ, but she exposed a culture that has substituted cheap idols — like Obama and entertainment stars — for God.
Walters’ comment is a glimpse into the minds of Americans who perceived Obama as the divine answer to our country’s woes. It was the naïve thinking of many in 2008 that Obama, by the sheer force of his charm, his deathless oratory, his Nobel-calibre intelligence and his vast will would lift America from the ashes and single-handedly restore dignity and prosperity to the land.
Who do we idolize? Why do we idolize the people we do? Is this a defect in our culture that we should want to fix, and if so, how?
We pay hundreds of dollars to see sports icons for a few hours of entertainment. We spend vast amounts to support musical artists whose lives are free from moral values. We vote for politicians who cheat on their spouses and abort the promises they made to voters on the campaign trail, people who gladly trade the shreds of their integrity for wealth and power.
We expose our children to Hollywood entertainment, giving them the “gift” of cultural relevance at the cost of moral decay in our secularized culture.
There is nothing wrong with having role models and mentors who encourage and inspire us to be the very best we can be, but without strong sense of values and a firm moral framework, we leave ourselves prey to idolatry and manipulation by media that create and destroy puny gods for a spiritually starved audience.
Whether it is Barbara Walters or the enthused fan at Yankee Stadium, we must prevent ourselves from distorting our souls by giving our adoration men, not to our creator.
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