Beliefnet
Idol Chatter

joy beharThe ladies of “The View” are under fire today after Joy Behar took a jab at Vice President Mike Pence’s Christian faith. She mocked the former governor of Indiana for talking to Jesus and even called it a mental illness.

The woman of “The View” reviewed a clip of Former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault as she discussed the Vice President on the reality show “Celebrity Big Brother.”

“As bad as you think Trump is, you would be worried about Pence…everyone that is wishing for impeachment might want to reconsider their life,” she said in the clip. “I am Christian, I love Jesus, but he thinks Jesus tells him to say things.”

After discussion on the motive behind Omarosa’s actions, Sunny Hostin chimed in saying “I think what’s interesting is that she said Jesus tells Mike Pence things to say.” Hostin, who says she is a faithful Catholic, said she didn’t want her vice president “speaking in tongues.”

Joy Behar followed up and stated “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you.” She continued to call hearing voices a “mental illness” before Sherri Shepard interrupted.

“As a Christian, that’s just par for the course,” Shepard said “You talk to Jesus, Jesus talks back. What concerns me is, how long is the conversation with Jesus?”

Behar later retracted her statement and said “I don’t think he is mentally ill…I don’t think he is that crazy.” However the damage was done. In addition to bashing the Christian religion, mental illness has been a hot topic recently due to the stigma around it.

You can watch the full conversation below.

Scott-Hamilton-Stars-on-Ice

Scott Hamilton is a legend in the figure skating world. Hamilton won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo and has won four consecutive World Championships. Few skaters are capable of landing a flip on the ice, and the move is against U.S. and Olympic Figure Skating rules. Instead of following these guidelines, Hamilton made the backflip his signature move on the ice and would often include the backflip in his exhibition routines in order to please the crowd. It was this love of showmanship that later led Hamilton to spend two years touring with “Ice Capades” and to create “Scott Hamilton’s American Tour.” The show was later renamed “Stars of Ice.”

Hamilton was born in Toledo, Ohio and adopted by Dorothy and Ernest Hamilton at a young age. When he was two years old, he mysteriously stopped growing. Despite numerous tests and multiple wrong diagnoses, doctors were unable to discover the cause of his illness. Around this time, Hamilton’s baffling condition began to correct itself, but he would never grow to a normal adult height. At the peak of his amateur career, Hamilton only weighed 108 pounds and stood a mere five feet and two inches tall.

Hamilton’s early childhood disease would not be the end of his health problems. In 1997, he was forced to give up his skating career due to testicular cancer. He recovered from his battle with cancer, but less than 10 years later, doctors discovered that Hamilton had a brain tumor. It turns out that this tumor had gone undiagnosed for most of Hamilton’s life, and the tumor was actually the cause of Hamilton’s stunted growth as a child. Hamilton lived with the tumor for six more years before he learned the tumor threatened to cause blindness if left untreated. He had the tumor removed in 2010. The surgery was successful, but there were minor complications. These were successfully resolved a few months later. In 2016, Hamilton reported that he had yet another brain tumor, but he announced in 2017 that the tumor had shrunk on its own.

While health struggles lead some to question their faith, Hamilton said that his struggles taught him to put his faith in God. “I understand that through a strong relationship with Jesus you can endure anything,” Hamilton said. “God is there to guide you through the tough spots. God was there every single time, every single time.”

His faith was deepened further after he spoke to his wife, Tracie, about his brain tumor diagnosis. When Hamilton told her about the brain tumor, she made it a point to pray with him. It was then, Hamilton said, that he truly decided to trust Christ. After all, it was his brain tumor that stunted his growth, and without that stunted growth, Hamilton would never have begun skating.

“Who would I be without a brain tumor?” Hamilton said. “I could choose to look at it as debilitating, I could choose to focus on the suffering. I choose to look at that brain tumor as the greatest gift I could have gotten because it made everything else possible.”

Hamilton remains a legend in figure skating, even after his retirement. He was inducted into the U.S. Olympic and World Figure Skating Halls of Fame in 1990, and his skating routines are still considered to be some of the best the world has ever seen.

28635045805_a6a328b34e_b (1)It is not often that a movie is surrounded by so much hype before it is even released. Marvel’s “Black Panther,” however, has been discussed almost non-stop since it was announced in 2014.

“Black Panther” is the eighteenth movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is directed by Ryan Coogler with Coogler and Joe Robert Cole writing the screenplay. The film takes place shortly after the events of the blockbuster “Captain America: Civil War,” and the story centers on the young king of Wakanda, T’Challa, who takes the throne after his father’s death in “Civil War.” As no tale of royalty is complete without palace intrigue, T’Challa faces an old enemy who seeks to challenge T’Challa’s claim to the throne. T’Challa, his younger sisterand the elite female warriors of the Dora Milaje must work together to prevent a world war.

The movie has been hailed as a cultural milestone almost since its inception. “Black Panther” has an almost all-black cast and is set in the fictional country of Wakanda, an advanced but ruthlessly isolationist African country. The film stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, whose alter ego is the titular Black Panther. He is joined by Michael B. Jordan who plays Killmonger, Danai Gurira as the leader of the Dora Milage and Letitia Wright as T’Challa’s younger sister and genius level inventor, Shuri.

The cast and crew alike have been outspoken about the role in culture that they hope the film will hold. “It couldn’t have been done on a bigger level,” said Jordan. “If Marvel is behind it, then it’s got to be okay. Moving forward, everybody’s going to start to have the courage to tell bold stories that people didn’t think were lucrative, didn’t think that anybody wanted to see. All of that, I feel, is getting ready to dissolve.”

Gurira agreed. “I’ve had a passion for telling African stories for a really long time, being American-born and Zimbabwe-raised. That biculturalism is something that I try to address in my work as a playwright, but nothing can address it like a Marvel movie,” she said. “I had a childlike glee after my meeting with Ryan. I kind of floated around, found my car somehow. You think you’re alone in the struggle until you meet someone and then you think, ‘Oh, wow, we’re all in it together? And y’all are doing this already? And I just have to be in it?’ It was just so beautiful.”

“Black Panther” opens on Thursday, February 18, 2018, and ticket pre-sales are already off the charts. The film is facing a lot of pressure from excited fans, and Marvel’s past success have set a high bar. The studio has risen to the challenge before, however, and one can only hope they do so again.

 

2012-12_Final_Grand_Prix_1d_143_Jason_BrownThe eyes of the world are fixed on South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics, and Jewish athletes are expected to put on a fabulous show in Pyeongchang. There are not as many Jewish star athletes in these Games as there were in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but there are still a number of compelling stories to follow in South Korea.

Israel is 60 percent desert, so it is little surprise that the Jewish nation usually fields a small team at the Winter Games. This year, however, Israel’s team is twice the size of its previous record. Ten athletes will represent  Israel in Pyeongchang. The majority of these athletes will compete in one of the skating events. Among them is Alexi Bychenko. Bychenko is ranked as one of the top 10 male skaters in the world and will compete in figure skating. At the European Championships event in 2016, he became the first skater to bring home a medal for Israel. Vladislav Bykanov will also be representing Israel on the ice, but he will be competing as a speed skater.

Seventeen year old Paige Conners will be skating for Israel despite her American citizenship. Conners was ill during the U.S. figure skating tryouts, but she has the opportunity to skate for the Israeli team due to her mother’s Israeli citizenship. Israel allowed her to join the team on one condition: she had to skate in the pairs competition. Conners had never competed as part of a pair before, but she connected with Evgeni Krasnopolski. In just six short months, Conners mastered the new style well enough for her and Krasnopolski to make the Olympic team.

Conners is not the only non-Israeli who will be competing for Israel. A.J. Edelman is a Massachusetts native, but he will be making history in Pyeongchang as Israel’s first Olympian to compete in the Skeleton. Edelman goes by the nickname “The Hebrew Hammer” after the titular protagonist of the 2003 comedy and said that he looks to “challenge the perception of what Jews and Israelis can do in sports” at the 2018 Games. London-born Itamar Biran will also compete for Israel. He is set to carry the Jewish nation’s name in alpine skiing.

Israel is not the only country fielding Jewish athletes in Pyeongchang. American figure skater Jason Brown is first alternate for the U.S. team. The 23 year old is a fan favorite and is known for performing to music from “Riverdance” and “Hamilton.”

There will also be a Jewish athlete on the ice who is representing Canada. Certified Krav Maga instructor Dylan Moscovitch helped Canada take home the silver medal in the team figure skating during the Sochi Games in 2014. In Pyeonchang, Moscovitch will again be representing Canada in the pairs figure skating with his partner Liubov Ilyuschechkina.

Billions of people are watching the best of the best compete in Pyeonchang. Every country hopes their athletes bring home glory, and there are more Jewish athletes than usual who have a chance to bring home the gold. Only time will tell if they will take the top spot on the podium and the competition will be fierce. It always is at the Games.