A few weeks ago we looked at a public relations campaign — and how it was covered — by the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Miami. Now, private confession and absolution is a serious thing among certain religious adherents. My Lutheran pastor offered extra hours for confession during Lent and even more during Holy Week so we could avail ourselves of the opportunity. This is a regular part of worship life for many of us but is widely ignored by many mainstream media.
So I was pretty surprised when I saw this clip of CNN reporter T.J. Holmes making a powerful confession of sins on national television. It is, perhaps, one of the more religious things you will ever see on television. The bit is embedded in the post and here is the transcript:
T.J. HOLMES, CNN anchor: Well, in today’s “XYZ,” I’d like confess my sins.
I drive a Chevy Tahoe. It gets 15 miles to the gallon in the city. While some people have SUVs to haul their large families around, it’s just me driving by myself to work every day.
I have a number of TVs in my high house and leave them on just about all day, every day.
I often turn the water on in the shower, then I walk downstairs to maybe grab breakfast, leave the water running, then I go back upstairs to take a shower.
I buy 24 packs of bottled water at a time. Then I throw those bottles away without recycling.
In the winter I crank the heat up to 75 or 76.
All the light bulbs in my house are still the old school, less efficient incandescent bulbs.
Those are my eco-sins. I’m confessing them to you because tomorrow is Earth Day. It often goes ignored by many of us, including me. Not going to ignore this year. Why? Well, maybe it was an awakening. Maybe I was scolded recently by an environmentalist. Maybe I’m tired of wasting my own money.
Whatever my reasons, whatever yours, happy Earth Day.
Brooke, I just confessed to you on national TV.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN anchor: I’m impressed, it was just 60 seconds of confessions, friend. Oh, T.J. Holmes.
HOLMES: There’s some other stuff.
Now, I’m not entirely certain what to say about this. Is confession, taken very seriously by Christians such as myself, something to be done so flippantly? Was this flippant or was it serious? It was done to coincide with the Earth Day holiday. Is there some larger point about media treatment of sin and confession? About the holiness of Earth Day and the religious significance of environmentalism? And can you imagine how a real confession of sins — where the deepest, darkest thoughts and actions against our spouses, family, friends and others were brought to light — would be taken on television? I don’t think CNN, or really any network, would be capable of even handling it. My private confession would probably be scandalous if put on national television. And I’d be humiliated. It would also be inappropriate, of course. What are your thoughts about this curious confession?