View on The View

February 22, 2018

Letter to the Editor_BannerDear Editor:
Joy Behar on the ABC show the The View made some shocking statements concerning Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday, February 13, 2018. Behar stated, “It is one thing to talk to Jesus, it is another thing when Jesus talks to you.”  Then she delivered a bomb shell comment, in essence saying that Jesus talking to you is a form of mental illness. Almost never do I weigh in on politics and I do not believe I am here. I would have felt the same way had Behar said this about anyone. Since it was directed to the VP, it gets a lot more traction.

 In an era that is purported to be about tolerance and inclusion, Behar is taking shots at multiple groups of people. Unintentionally, she is shaming the mentally ill. Speaking as one who has had several family members battle lifelong mental illness, I believe her comments were quite insensitive. Many times in my life I have been with people who were “hearing voices” and yes, sometimes they claimed to be hearing from God. The key word in the description mental illness is the word illness. The mind of the mentally ill works differently and they need prayer, support, and medication. Many are actually brilliant in certain aspects of life.

 Those who battle mental demons loosely fall into three categories. First are those who have a diagnosis of mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Again, key to helping them manage is the combination of support, meds, and prayer. Their illness should not be viewed differently than a diabetic who needs insulin. Other people experience crisis in life such as going through the death of a loved one or a bitter divorce. Similarly they need prayer, support, and perhaps some medicine to get through. Still others fall into deep depression through the battles of life that we all face.

Here’s the thing about Behar’s comments. The implication of her statement is that those with mental illness are not fit to lead. Who decides that and how serious of illness are we talking about? I have observed many people who talk to Jesus in prayer and yes, listen for an answer back. I have also witnessed people “hearing voices” with the belief that God is speaking to them. These are not the same thing at all. The hearing-voices-types always have delusions of grandeur and say totally outrageous things. Those who want to listen to Jesus have a sincere heart to do his will.

 If we press into Behar’s comments a bit, should anyone who has experienced clinical depression be banned from public service? If we did this, history would not have been wonderfully impacted by Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln. I don’t know that either great leader would describe themselves as listening to Jesus, but I have no doubt that they heard from God.
 Clearly an altogether different question she is raising is how much should our political leaders speak about their faith in a public way. In an era with so much divisiveness and moral failure, it is refreshing in Pence to see a leader who stands on principle. Everyone has a world view that hugely affects the decisions that they make. To argue that a political leader needs to keep faith totally out of the public arena seems a bit ridiculous.

 The second group that Behar is taking a shot at is those whose faith involves listening as part of prayer. As the scripture says, “This is the way, walk in it.” Clearly, there are those examples of many who thought they were hearing from God when they were not. The era of the Crusades comes to mind. The record of Scripture and my personal experience tells me that many have actually heard from God. For Behar to imply that you cannot listen to Jesus and to claim to do so is insanity is highly offensive to those who have a different experience. Imagine the fallout if she’d made these comments about a Muslim listening to Allah.

 Life is really about the actions we take and how we live. If, like me, you were a bit perturbed by Behar’s comments, take it as a charge to make a difference. Bless someone you know who battles with mental illness and treat them with dignity. Give them a chance to demonstrate that their illness does not define them and offer the opportunity for them to contribute. If you are a praying person, speak to Jesus on behalf of Joy Behar and don’t forget to let Jesus talk back.

Pastor Scott Harper

Please follow and like us:
Error, no Ad ID set! Check your syntax!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>