Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s the latest dispatch from the crossroads of faith and media:

Bill Maher dances on the grave of billionaire David Koch:

Not nice, to say the least. Among other things, Maher apparently detested Koch because he was a so-called “climate-science deniers.”  I, personally, think “climate-science skeptic” would be a more appropriate term – but everyone has a right to their opinion.

Bill Maher on the boycott Israel movement:

That opinion (which I happen to essentially agree with) led Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-Mich.), the first Palestinian-American woman ever elected to congress, to call for a boycott of his HBO show, tweeting “Maybe folks should boycott his show. I am tired of folks discrediting a form of speech that is centered on equality and freedom. This is exactly how they tried to discredit & stop the boycott to stand up against the apartheid in [South] Africa. It didn’t work then and it won’t now.”

To which Maher tweeted back “Some people have one move only: boycott. Cancel. Make-go-away. But here’s the thing, the house voted 318 to 17 to condemn the #BDS movement, including 93% of Dems. Does Tlaib want to boycott 93% of her own party?” He later followed up, saying “Hey I got my number of rep.s who voted to condemn BDS wrong – it’s actually even more, not 318, it’s 398.” (You read more about the Twitter exchange at The Jewish Journal.)

Bill Maher apologizes for using the N word in Real Time joke:

IMHO, the apology was justified. As a society, I think we’ve come to agree that use of the word is insensitive to say the least. Calling for his firing was a little over the top, since I don’t think his intent was to insult or demean black people. It was, however, insensitive and legitimate to call him out on it.

But Bill Maher, of all people, should understand that we should be allowed to disagree with each other without  trying to destroy each other – or dancing on someone’s grave when they pass. So, Bill Maher should be allowed to misspeak.  Slack a hapless Rochester, NY meteorologist wasn’t afforded when he truly innocently misspoke.

Former Fox and (oh, so briefly) NBC host Megyn Kelly also “stepped in it” as CBS This Morning host Gayle King put when Kelly made her ill-considered comments about the propriety of white people being made up in black face. Kelly, of course, lost her job (but not the millions called for in her contract) from the incident. Unless I missed something, the still-employed late-night Jimmys steered clear of the controversy for obvious reasons. For a while, it also looked like the governor of Virginia might be forced to resign because of his apparent black-face past until a bizarre series of events made it likely that the third-in-line Republican speaker of the House of Delegates would replace him. Anyway, I really admire the way Gayle King handles the Kelly question on Stephen Colbert’s show. I wish more high-profile would use their platforms in the intelligent and compassionate way she does.

But, back to Bill Maher and the death of David Koch. Sure, Bill may not have liked his take on climate change and other issues – but those issues were not all Koch was about – as none other than MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Connell once reminded us.

The bottom line – and Bill Maher, of all people, should understand this – human beings are complicated. Sometimes they misspeak. Sometimes they hold opinions that are wrong and even stupid. That doesn’t make them evil or unworthy of at least the respect of holding your tongue when they pass. I kinda think Maher owes Koch’s grieving family an apology. I doubt they’ll get one. No one (including me) will call for Maher’s show to be boycotted or for his show to be cancelled over his comments. They were, after all, merely unkind, not really politically incorrect.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11