Mocking Pence For Hearing Voices Is Not Religious Intolerance

It is fairly well-acknowledged by some Americans that freedom of speech does not include the freedom to express an opinion that fails to praise and venerate the Christian religion and its adherents. Even though members of the religious right, particularly Republican members, routinely demean all manner of humans for being out of compliance with the bastardized version of Christianity that American evangelicals embrace, they feign being persecuted at the perception of an untoward remark about their religion.

Apparently, being outraged at the truth about their faith has something to do with the faithful always having to feel persecuted, which is itself a complete mystery. Especially in America where evangelicals hold great sway over society and persecute the rest of the population under the guise of religious freedom.

Recently, there was some bizarre outrage toward an entertainer for what evangelicals claim is being bigoted toward, and persecuting, Christians. Of course Fox News and an ultra-right wing outfit joined in the “outrage” and attempted to fan the flames by attacking “liberal media bias” driving attacks on poor persecuted evangelicals.

Most of the latest outrage originated with America’s aspiring “preacher in chief,” Mike Pence. Pence took umbrage at comments from a pair of television celebrities for expressing their concern over the man “one cheeseburger away from the presidency” hearing voices no-one else hears.

Hearing voices, no matter whose voices, is ‘generally’ a sign of mental illness. According to the Mental Health Foundation:

Between 5% and 28% of the general population hears voices that other people do not. Hearing voices is the most common type of hallucination in people with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.”

 Apparently during a segment on ABC’s “The View” a little over two weeks ago, one of the co-hosts, Sunny Hostin, remarked:

“I don’t know that I want my vice president, um – speaking in tongues and having Jesus speak to him.”

That reasonable statement prompted co-host Joy Behar to proffer her opinion that “hearing from Jesus is actually call mental illness.” Seriously, Ms. Behar is right; even Christians have to admit that mythological Jesus died a couple of millennia ago and is not speaking to Pence or any other religious Republican.

Now, only poor persecuted evangelicals would take the women’s comments, and informed opinions, as “anti-Christian bias,” or as “preacher Pence” complained, “religious intolerance.”  Pence was incensed and attacked ABC News saying:

To have ABC maintain a broadcast forum that compared Christianity to mental illness is just wrong, It is simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that kind of religious intolerance.”

Except that Pence, no kind of “real” Christian, is lying again. Neither Ms. Hostin nor Ms. Behar compared Christianity to mental illness and Pence knows it. They simply stated a fact –  that hearing voices, no matter the source, is generally a sign of a mental disorder; and they expressed a very valid opinion most Americans would tend to agree with. A vice president hearing voices and speaking religious gibberish no-one alive or dead can comprehend is a frightening prospect. Besides, the Christian bible says speaking in tongues ended a couple of millennia ago.

Still, there was a minor outcry from about 30,000 infuriated evangelicals who joined a concerted evangelical campaign organized by Media Research Center (MRC) to force ABC to hold the “View” co-hosts accountable for expressing their opinions; or what the outraged evangelicals called spewing “anti-Christian bigotry.” Thus far the evangelical effort has fallen woefully short.

Obviously, the MRC has taken up the poor persecuted Pence mantle and accused Behar and Hostin, and by extension ABC News, of advancing “the liberal media’s pronounced bias against Christianity to the next level.

The MRC’s mouthpiece, a conservative piece of work named Brent Bozell, published an open letter to ABC News demanding an apology for allowing the View’s hosts to express their opinions. It wasn’t enough for Bozell to demand that ABC News sanction the two women, he used MRC to post contact information for the show’s advertisers so “angry evangelical viewers” can inflict damage on the program, the network, and the show’s co-hosts.

The MRC’s claim to fame is being “America’s leading media watchdog in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias.” So there it is again – the dreaded “liberal media bias.” Seriously, liberal media bias is what sane human beings call accurate reporting and informed opinions. Bozell said:

I am sure the advertisers of “The View” will be just as appalled as I am about the anti-Christian remarks made on the show.”

However, as of late last week, the MRC sadly informed Fox News that neither ABC News nor any of “The View’s” advertisers had made contact with the angry folks at MRC.

The mad folks over at Fox News also weighed in to add some fuel to the fire and condemned Ms. Behar for not keeping her opinions to herself; even after viciously attacking Mike ‘preacher’ Pence’s Christianity. The View was accused by Fox News of failing to “tone down its rhetoric.” Because like no small number of journalists and pundits, Behar told the truth that “the conservative conference’s (CPAC) participants have a ‘penchant for Nazis.’” A statement even a lifelong, dyed-in-the-wool conservative columnist Mona Charen echoed in an opinion piece about her experience as a panelist at CPAC.

The problem here, and the reason evangelicals are outraged over an opinion, is that they are used to a media and population giving them a pass and never calling out their absurdities, or the bigotry, borne of their bastardized interpretation of Christianity. Face it, if Pence is hearing voices, or one voice, it is the voice of the Koch brothers and the Heritage Foundation, not Jesus. Even fictional Jesus wouldn’t tell Pence to take from the poor to enrich the wealthy or to be intolerant of anyone for not subscribing to his version of Christianity.

Neither of The View’s co-hosts attacked Christianity or Pence for that matter and they definitely did not express any “anti-Christian bigotry” or “religious intolerance.” It is a miracle that Pence, the 30,000 evangelical crybabies, and MRC chief Bozell didn’t choke on their own hypocrisy; because no group in America is as bigoted as the evangelical extremist movement and there is ample evidence to support that fact.

Perhaps if more media figures and politicians did, in fact, assail the religious as the source of most bigotry and attacks against other Americans, the nation may be less divided and less dominated by the religious right and their vile religious Republican facilitators.

As far as anyone being guilty of “religious intolerance” or “anti-Christian bigotry” for attacking Mike ‘preacher’ Pence, it is impossible because he is no kind of Christian. And if mythical Jesus were speaking to him, he would tell him he was going straight to proverbial Hell for being a lying hypocrite and a filthy fake Christian – because nothing he represents or stands for has any connection to anything mythical Jesus purportedly preached. That is not anti-Christian bigotry, it is a fact that most ‘real Christians’ know is true.

Image: Evan Vucci/AP