I saw an amusing article today, probably drawn from last night’s Academy Awards, featuring photos of Oscar winners and Oscar nominees posing with their former selves. It’s pretty cute, so check out all nine pictures if you’d like here.
My interest was piqued, though, by two stars in particular:
Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, who won Best Actor in a Lead Role for his role in Dallas Buyers Club.
And Sandra Bullock, who was nominated for her role in Gravity but who lost this year to Cate Blanchett. (Bullock did win the Best Actress trophy in 2010 as well as a Golden Globe, for her role in The Blind Side.)
What distinguished these two stars was that each wore a cross prominently around the neck (Matthew in the “younger Matthew” version; Sandra, in the recent photo).
I’m not insisting that these stars are somehow holier than the rest of Hollywood, or that their lives inspire their fans to greater sanctity. Sandra Bullock prefers to keep her faith and her political leanings private, and there is speculation (but only speculation) that she is atheist. Matthew McConaughey, according to his biography, in 2006 met the woman who would become his wife; the couple had three children before their marriage in 2012.
What pleases me, though, is that both stars wear the cross openly, without apology.
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The cross necklace has suffered some legal challenges in recent years:
- In two prominent cases in 2012, the British government argued that Christians had no right to wear a cross or crucifix openly at work. The British government, in its case, demanded that Christians choose between keeping their jobs and expressing their faith. (Fortunately, the British government lost their case. The European Court of Human Rights subsequently, in 2013, defended the religious liberties of Christians, and said that manifesting religion is a “fundamental right.”)
- In Norway, the state-run news channel blocked a reporter from wearing a cross on air, for fear of offending some non-Christian viewers.
- Here in the United States, Sonoma State University in California prohibited a student from wearing a cross around her neck when she worked at a freshman orientation fair.
That Hollywood stars would wear a cross signifies, to their fans at least, that religious expression in the public square is acceptable.
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By the way, in case you missed it, in McConaughey’s acceptance speech at the 2014 Oscars, the star gave thanks to God, Whom he credited for inspiration and Who he follows.