Tag Archives: Nice

Guest post: Fred Rogers, the patron saint of niceness

Fred Rogers and Francois Clemmons on the Mr. Rogers show
Fred Rogers and Francois Clemmons on the Mr. Rogers show

The following is a guest post by a friend who wants to remain anonymous. He is a Christian apologist who works in the software industry.


The marketing machine for the latest Tom Hanks movie portrayal of Mister Rogers is in full swing. And they’re trying hard to sell the movie to the Christian community. A recent Christian Post article claims:

‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ was Fred Rogers’ mission field, wife Joanne says

“One of the most important things we accept and know is that Fred was first and foremost a minister in the Presbyterian Church,” Joanne Rogers told The Christian Post.

The trouble with this is that if the show was Fred Roger’s mission field, he failed because people know him more for being nice than for preaching Jesus.

It’s telling that one of the most common “surprising facts” shared about Mr Rogers is that he was a Presbyterian minister. If we hadn’t been told this, we wouldn’t know it based on his work and legacy.

A commenter on Facebook writes:

His job was to do a kids show not to proselytize. Did Jesus go around preaching when He was called to be a carpenter? No He did His job.

I’m sure people asked Mr. Rogers what his motivation was and there’s nothing wrong with having private conversations about it and not using the television to preach. People don’t watch kids shows to be preached at. That would be a misuse of his platform! 😒

Is that true? Let’s take the case of Fred Rogers’s longtime friend and frequent show guest, Francois Clemmons. In addition to being a talented broadway actor, Francois Clemmons is proudly gay. And there’s no indication that Fred Rogers pressed Francois Clemmons to repent and turn to Jesus.

“He says he’ll never forget the day Rogers wrapped up the program, as he always did, by hanging up his sweater and saying, “You make every day a special day just by being you, and I like you just the way you are.” This time in particular, Rogers had been looking right at Clemmons, and after they wrapped, he walked over.

Clemmons asked him, “Fred, were you talking to me?”

“Yes, I have been talking to you for years,” Rogers said, as Clemmons recalls. “But you heard me today.”

“It was like telling me I’m OK as a human being,” Clemmons says. “That was one of the most meaningful experiences I’d ever had.””

Which is even more sad when you consider that Fred Rogers took a brave stand against racism

He found racism to be an important enough subject to import the foot washing example of Jesus but there’s no indication that he called Francois Clemmons to repent for his sinful lifestyle choice.

“But did Mr. Rogers ever condemn you?

No. He said, “Sometimes people do get married and they settle down, they live a different life. You can’t go to the those [gay] clubs. . .That may not be the answer for you, Franc; you have to consider something else. What, I’m not sure. But that may not be the route for you.””

I don’t expect, nor would I advocate for, Fred Rogers to do nothing but condemn Francois Clemmons. But it’s pretty telling that in all of their years working together, with Fred knowing Francois’s sexual orientation, that Fred never saw fit to tell him where his sinful lifestyle would eventually lead according to Scripture and plead with him to repent.

Fred Rogers is being lionized by popular media. You have to ask yourself why. Especially in a culture that still condemns Chick-fil-A for what its founder’s son said nearly a decade ago. The reason is not because Fred Rogers looked like Jesus. Quite the contrary. It’s because Fred Rogers was soft and effeminate. Fred Rogers is what the world wants Christians to look and act like so they can more easily push around and otherwise mold Christians.

Again, our commenter on Facebook responds:

A children’s show on a public network is no place to be preaching the gospel. Should a flight attendant spend all their time preaching and trying to convert people!? They have a job to do. If the Holy Spirit moves them to say something then fine but you’re going to turn people off if you’re acting like a salesperson and not doing your actual job! I am dead serious. The workplace is to be professional and do your job. If you want to preach be a preacher. Otherwise be careful how and when you bring it up. You have a whole private personal life on your time off to get involved in that kind of stuff!

Do we expect Christians to be sharing their faith all the time they are at work? No. Like every other profession the flight attendant has certain required duties to perform. But we are told to work as if for the glory of God (Colossians 3:23). At the very least that means that there is a mode of working that marks us as Christians. Part of that is the joy and peace that Fred Rogers displayed, yes, but that inevitably leads to others wondering about the source of that joy and peace (1 Peter 3:15). And that’s when an opportunity arises to explain to nonbelievers who Jesus is and why we should _want_ to pay the greatest price (Matthew 13:45-46) of giving up our own lives, characterized by sin (2 Timothy 2:25), to follow him.

If Francois Clemmons never felt judged by Fred Rogers then that is a serious condemnation on the ministry of Fred Rogers. It means, at the very least, that Fred Rogers was not doing his job in calling Francois to repentance so that he could come to a knowledge of the truth. The only truth that has any hope in saving anyone.

Lay Christians less likely than pastors to hold to exclusive salvation

J Warner Wallace of Please Convince Me tweeted this alarming news on Friday.

Excerpt:

Nearly eight in 10 Protestant pastors strongly disagree that eternal life can be obtained through religions other than Christianity in a new survey.

The survey, conducted by LifeWay Research, of 1,000 Protestant pastors asked respondents for their reaction to the statement, “If a person is sincerely seeking God, he/she can obtain eternal life through religions other than Christianity.” A full 77 percent of pastors strongly disagreed while 7 percent somewhat disagreed. Another 7 percent somewhat agreed, 5 percent strongly agreed and 3 percent were not sure.

[…]Pastors’ beliefs regarding the exclusivity of Christianity differ from those of their parishioners, according to a new study conducted for the upcoming book “Transformational Discipleship” by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelly and Philip Nation. When presented with the same statement, just 48 percent of adults who attend a Protestant church once a month or more disagreed strongly and 9 percent disagreed somewhat. A total of 26 percent agreed, including 13 percent who agreed strongly and 13 percent who agreed somewhat. Sixteen percent indicated that they neither agreed nor disagreed.

“One fact is clear: pastors are less universalistic than their church members,” Stetzer said. “A few heads nodding or an occasional ‘Amen’ does not indicate everyone believes Christianity is the only way. Church leaders will never know where their congregation stands unless they ask.”

According to the survey of pastors, those in large cities are more likely to believe that other religions lead to eternal life than their counterparts in other settings. Eleven percent of pastors in large cities strongly agreed. In comparison, 4 percent of pastors in small cities, 4 percent in the suburbs and 3 percent in rural areas feel the same.

Pastors identifying themselves as evangelical are less universalistic than those self-identifying as mainline. Compared with mainline pastors, evangelicals are:

  • Less likely to strongly agree that other religions can lead to eternal life (evangelical pastors, 2 percent; mainline pastors, 11 percent).
  • More likely to strongly disagree (85 percent to 57 percent).

I’ve written about how people who do not think that Christianity is true are more likely to think that religion is really about happy feelings, community and being a good person, especially when confronted by nice people doing nice things in other religions. The further a person gets from truth and apologetics, the more likely their theology is going to degrade into people-pleasing. That’s why apologetics is so important.

It’s much easier to say to a person “you are not saved” when you know enough to ask them “did the universe have a beginning?” and “was Jesus crucified?”. When they answer no to both questions, you take the religion question out of the realm of community, happiness and good deeds, and put it in the realm of truth. It is much easier to see why God would separate away from someone who doesn’t care enough about HIM (not other people, but HIM) that they would spend the time to study cosmology and history, etc. in order to form true beliefs.

As an evangelical Christian, it’s easy for me to believe that non-Christians will not be saved. I ask them questions, I find that they have beliefs that are obviously false. Then, when I propose that they do some studying, they tell me they won’t because religion is about being happy and being liked by your family and friends. When you understand salvation as being about truth, it’s very easy to understand why refusing to study religion to see what is and isn’t true isn’t just another flavor of ice cream – it’s sinful. It’s rebelling against God. It’s telling God “I don’t value you enough to know if you are really there and what you are really like”. And God isn’t obligated to spend eternity with people who don’t want him and who don’t want to know him.

People like Rob Bell and Brian Maclaren and Dan Barker start their drift away from orthodoxy by caring more about the people around them than the Person above them. A relationship with God is not the same as happy feelings and popularity. A relationship with God is work and being unpopular. That’s everywhere in the Bible, too. Followers of Judaism and Christianity are always taking the heat for sticking up for God. Nobody likes them except God. They perform for an audience of One, and they don’t care whether anyone approves or not. We need to get that back in the church. We need to get apologetics back in the church. Nobody feels guilty about telling someone who thinks that eating chocolate will prevent cavities. That’s what evangelism is – you tell the truth, graciously. If people get offended, that’s no reason to change your message.

I wrote a post before showing how to falsify a religion using science or history. We need to be comfortable doing that.

Most doctors will restrict or close their practice if Obamacare is not repealed

From the NY Post.

Excerpt:

A recent survey finds that countless MDs will respond to ObamaCare by limiting which patients they’ll see.

The Physicians Foundation asked 2,400 doctors and American Medical Association members what they thought of the new law; a full 67 percent were against it.

More important, it asked how they’d cope with the new rules (which don’t fully kick in until 2014). Sixty percent said they feel compelled to “close or significantly restrict their practices to certain categories of patients.” And 59 percent said the “reform” would oblige them to spend less time with the patients they do have.

Of course, many doctors already limit how many patients they’ll take on who depend on government insurance (whose fees rarely cover an MD’s costs). But it’ll get worse under ObamaCare: In the survey, some 87 percent said they would significantly restrict Medicare patients and 93 percent said they’d significantly restrict Medicaid patients.

[…]All in all, the survey found that 74 percent of doctors will alter how they practice.

To stay in business under ObamaCare, doctors will have to adjust. Some will see fewer patients themselves and hire nurse practitioners to help carry the load; others will work part-time and supplement their income elsewhere. Many will join groups or become salaried employees of hospitals or clinics.

Was Obama telling the truth when he said that you could keep your doctor? No.

Related posts

Obama’s health care rationing czar has guaranteed health care for life

Story here from Byron York. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

Donald Berwick, recess-appointed by President Obama to head Medicare and Medicaid, is a well-known advocate of health care rationing and admirer of Britain’s National Health Service. Rising health costs and limited resources “require decisions about who will have access to care and the extent of their coverage,” Berwick wrote in 1999. Last year, he said, “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.” Of the NHS, Berwick says simply, “I love it,” adding that it is “one of the great human health care endeavors on earth.”

As it turns out, Berwick himself does not have to deal with the anxieties created by limited access to care and the extent of coverage. In a special benefit conferred on him by the board of directors of the Institute for Health Care Improvement, a nonprofit health care charitable organization he created and which he served as chief executive officer, Berwick and his wife will have health coverage “from retirement until death.”

Rationing for thee, but not for me. It’s the leftist way. And similarly, you can bet that Barack Obama is not going to wait in line for his health care. But you will. Just give him your money and trust him, OK?

Related posts

Obama appoints a socialist to run Medicare and Medicaid

Obama has bypassed the Congressional confirmation process for Dr. Donald Berwick, a socialist, and instead given him an immediate recess appointment. What this means is that there will be no debating Dr. Berwick’s socialist views in public.

From the New York Times. (H/T Verum Serum)

Excerpt:

Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, said the “recess appointment” was needed to carry out the new health care law. The law calls for huge changes in the two programs, which together insure nearly one-third of all Americans.

Mr. Pfeiffer said the president would appoint Dr. Berwick on Wednesday. Mr. Obama decided to act because “many Republicans in Congress have made it clear in recent weeks that they were going to stall the nomination as long as they could, solely to score political points,” Mr. Pfeiffer said.

This 2008 NHS paper by Dr. Berwick explains what he thinks about government-run health care in the UK. (H/T Verum Serum)

Excerpt:

The National Health Service [Britain’s single payer health care] is one of the truly astounding human endeavors of modern times.  Just look at what you are trying to be: comprehensive, equitable, available to all, free at the point of care, and – more and more – aiming for excellence by world-class standards.  And, because you have chosen to use a nation as the scale and taxation as the funding, the NHS isn’t just technical – it’s political…The NHS is a bridge – a towering bridge – between the rhetoric of justice and the fact of justice.

[…]You plan the supply; you aim a bit low; historically, you prefer slightly too little of a technology or service to much too much; and then you search for care bottlenecks, and try to relieve them.

[…]You could have obscured – obliterated – accountability, or left it to the invisible hand of the market, instead of holding your politicians ultimately accountable for getting the NHS sorted.  You could have let an unaccountable system play out in the darkness of private enterprise instead of accepting that a politically accountable system must act in the harsh and, admittedly, sometimes unfair, daylight of the press, public debate, and political campaigning.  You could have a monstrous insurance industry of claims, rules, and paper-pushing, instead of using your tax base to provide a single route of finance.  You could have protected the wealthy and the well, instead of recognizing that sick people tend to be poorer and that poor people tend to be sicker, and that any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized, and humane must – must – redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and less fortunate.

[…]please don’t put your faith in market forces. It’s a popular idea: that Adam Smith’s invisible hand would do a better job of designing care than leaders with plans can.  I do not agree.  I find little evidence anywhere that market forces, bluntly used, that is, consumer choice among an array of products with competitors’ fighting it out, leads to the health care system you want and need.

[…]I cannot believe that the individual health care consumer can enforce through choice the proper configurations of a system as massive and complex as health care. That is for leaders to do.

[…]Unfettered growth and pursuit of institutional self-interest has been the engine of low value for the US health care system.  It has made it unaffordable, and hasn’t helped patients at all.

That’s who is going to administer government-run single-payer health care programs in the United States. He opposes consumer choice. He opposes competition. He wants to have a monopoly on health care, and make your decisions for you. You pay him your money based on what you earn, and he’ll decide which of your neighbors will get health care. You’re smart enough to earn the money, but not smart enough to spend it on your own family. And that’s probably what Obama believes, too, otherwise he would have picked someone else.

Thanks to Verum Serum for finding all of this. They do amazing work breaking these stories. You really need to bookmark Verum Serum and read it every day, if you haven’t already.

Related posts