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Norman Lear and me

Tv producer Norman Lear, who died final week at age 101, most likely couldn’t get away right this moment with what he placed on the small display screen within the 70s along with his iconic sitcoms “All within the Household” and “The Jeffersons.” As Mel Brooks did in his films “The Producers” and “Blazing Saddles,” Lear undermined the facility of bigotry with humor.

Lear additionally had a political facet. It was politics that introduced us collectively within the 80s. He based a bunch known as Individuals for the American Means, which was a counter to varied teams on the Non secular Proper, together with the Ethical Majority, for which I used to be for a time a spokesman. We met in Washington when he graciously invited me to sit down at his desk and hearken to his Nationwide Press Membership speech. I joked if it’d hurt his profession to be seen with me.

Lear was a World Battle II fight veteran. He informed me he would combat in one other conflict “if they’d take me at my age” ought to America once more be confronted with the same risk. He stated he loves America.

In 1998 I interviewed him for my ebook, co-authored with Ed Dobson, titled “Blinded by May: Why the Non secular Proper Can’t Save America.” It’s fascinating what one can study political opposites when one takes the time to hearken to them. Within the interview, Lear stated one thing that almost all conservatives might agree with: “I feel the best cause for the decline of ethical values has been the escalating short-term, bottomless philosophy ‘give it to me now.’ ”

Lear blamed a few of it on a misuse of the free enterprise system the place firms really feel the necessity “to have a revenue assertion this quarter bigger than the final on the expense of each different worth. One sees this in the way in which tabloidism has grown, within the sort of tv all of us agree we don’t need to see anymore.” Rankings, he stated, trump each worth.

Lear lamented the variety of adverts in so many exhibits, together with his personal, which he stated convey the message “you might be what you personal, you might be what you drink, you might be what you put on, you might be what you scent, you might be what you eat.”

On questions then and now concerning the correct position spiritual folks ought to play in politics, Lear stated, “They’ve each proper and obligation to specific themselves socially, culturally and politically,” however with a caveat, which he stated ought to conform to the Structure.

As a younger Jewish boy rising up in Brooklyn within the 30s, Lear stated he listened to the radio broadcasts of Father Charles Coughlin and Carl McIntire and their “rantings” about Catholics, Jews and Blacks. Lear stated he felt “threatened” by such speak. I feel I can predict what he may need stated concerning the present wave of antisemitism sweeping the nation. He would have felt much more threatened.

Lear famous the hypocrisy of some spiritual leaders on the time — he particularly talked about Pat Robertson — “when one second he calls me ‘anti-Christian’ and the following he’s saying how he loves all people.” Lear quoted from a letter he obtained from Robertson who touted his Golden Gloves boxing award and warned ‘The suppression of the voice of God’s servant (talking of himself) is a horrible factor! God Himself will combat for me towards you – and He’ll win.’ ” The final half was underlined for emphasis.

This type of speak is what many Christians would name “a foul witness” when they’re presenting the message of Jesus, which incorporates loving one’s enemies and praying for individuals who persecute you.

I shall miss Norman Lear, not solely his expertise, however his affordable voice on the American political scene. Luckily, his TV exhibits and the values they include are nonetheless accessible if you happen to can put up with all of the adverts which have the underlying message Lear hated: You’re what you personal, eat, drink, scent, put on and eat.

Readers might e-mail Cal Thomas at [email protected].