Dear Mr. O’Reilly: Your Behavior Suggests You Are a Broken Man (And I Wish You Peace.)

Dear Mr. O’Reilly: Your Behavior Suggests You Are a Broken Man (And I Wish You Peace.) April 24, 2017
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Screenshot, via YouTube

Dear Mr. O’Reilly,

I will admit, as a liberal-leaning Christian woman, I was a tad bit gleeful when I heard you had lost your job at Fox News. It seemed like justice had finally stepped in and taken control; the righteous had finally won; David had finally wound up that sling-shot and slung that stone at the seemingly unbeatable Goliath and brought him down.

You were fired from Fox because you allegedly harassed women. Yet, according to an article in USA Today, dated April 19, 2017, sexual harassment accusations have been brought against you several times in the past few decades—yes, decades, not just years (2002, 2004, 2011, 2016). But if that were true, wouldn’t you have been fired sooner? No, it didn’t happen sooner, because supposedly, some of those women were paid off millions of dollars to stay quiet, so you, Mr. O’Reilly, could avoid paying millions more in further lawsuits.

Maybe you were sacked because of your racist and hateful statements to your guests. Nope, that’s not why you were fired, either, because that, too had been going on for quite some time. One only has to go back and look at clip after clip of you arguing with, interrupting, and belittling various guests. For example, in a discussion about securing the Mexican border, Mr. O’Reilly, you made an especially interesting off-hand comment to your guest, Marc Lamont Hill in 2010: “Say you’re a cocaine dealer—and you kind of look like one a little bit.” Hill is a TV personality, an activist, and a Professor of African American Studies in Atlanta, GA at Morehouse College; he also happened to be quite quick on his feet, firing back with a grin, “As do you… you know, you actually look like a cocaine user.” He, as well as other guests whom you’ve treated similarly, refused to let you get the best of him, and that was wonderful to see. This is only one example of thousands of inappropriate and rude statements made directly to people’s faces, not to mention the millions made about people who were not there to defend themselves on The O’Reilly Factor.

So if you weren’t sacked because you harassed women, or because you were a mean-spirited host on your show, why WERE you sacked? You were sacked because you committed the one unforgivable sin in cable TV: you lost the Fox News corporation money. They didn’t pull out in 2002, 2004, 2011, or 2016. It took them until now to decide to do that. What makes me especially sad is that, had those companies not pulled their commercial support for you, you would probably still be hosting your show.

Maybe the allegations are true; I hope not, but here is what is more important than my bitterness toward you. If you ever decide to ask for God’s forgiveness, you will indeed receive it. In his parables, Jesus tells stories over and over again about common, ordinary, B-Flat people who fall hard, but who are lifted up by God’s grace. What God deems fair is hardly ever fair by our own standards. To be honest, God’s grace just doesn’t make sense. After all, our God is the father of a prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), and He is the benevolent vineyard owner (Matthew 20:1-16). More importantly, He is the Father of a man who was tortured and put to death for all of us, so that He could better know us and forgive us. He will always seek that one lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7) or that one lost coin (Luke 15: 8-10), and will rejoice when He finds it. His arms are outstretched and waiting for even someone like you, Mr. O’Reilly.

I have no right to judge you. If I look in the mirror and am honest with myself, I admit I’ve said and done horribly inappropriate things as well. My own blustery self-righteousness is immediately deflated, and I am ashamed. It sure is hard pointing out the proverbial splinter in your eye, Mr. O’Reilly, when the plank in my eye keeps falling in my mouth, making it hard for me to speak. Though I will grit my teeth as I do it, I will pray for you, because that is what Jesus told me to do (Matthew 5:44). Through this prayer, I am sure my jaw will begin to loosen, and I will take a step toward relinquishing my distaste for you and transform it into empathy, for your behavior suggests you are a broken man. I wish you peace.

Psalms 103: [NIV]

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse,

nor will he harbor his anger forever;

he does not treat us as our sins deserve

or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,

so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

 

Sincerely,

Beck Lister


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