Red S.E. Cupp is the home of S.E. Cupp, co-author of "Why You're Wrong About the Right."
Sunday, November 2, 2008
When I learned Mike Huckabee would have his own primetime show on Fox News, I thought "Great...finally a pundit who will defend religious America on a national stage." I am an atheist, but I'm often at odds with secular America, which I have come to view as hostile and antagonistic toward people of faith. That may be surprising, but I've always admired the faithful, envied them even. Though I do not believe, I defend religion steadfastly and every chance I get.
And tonight, I watched Huckabee's show, and was surprised to see he planned to interview Richard Dreyfuss, a well-known Hollywood liberal, and Bill Maher, whose new movie "Religulous" looks to marginalize the faithful as extremist and backward.
Dreyfuss went on for what seemed like hours about what he thinks is wrong with America, namely that we've forgotten the lessons of the Enlightenment. He said that the gift of that moment was that "science and reason" triumphed over "faith and hope." And he mourns the fact that we seem to have forgotten that. Huckabee was incredibly generous and polite with Dreyfuss, affording him ample time to expound on his views with which Huckabee presumably disagreed. He welcomed him warmly.
Then he went to a taped segment in which he interviewed Maher. Maher admitted he thinks religion is a "neurological disorder," which drew affable laughs from the Baptist Minister, who joked, "Did you get hit by a church bus as a child or something?" Maher went on to say that most wars have been religious wars, which many scholars have recently contradicted, most notably Dinesh D'Souza. In his book "What's So Great About Christianity," D'Souza noted that in fact more people have died in the name of atheist projects, like those of Pol Pot, Castro, Kim Jong Il, Ceausescu and others, than ever died in the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition combined. And though Huckabee and Maher had a light debate about faith, one could say Huckabee was decidedly reserved in addressing Maher's palpable disdain for average church-goers, Muslims, Jews, and others whom he views as fanatics. Huckabee even said, "I like you, I've always liked you."
But afterward, Huckabee turned to camera and admitted it might surprise his viewers that he asked someone like Maher to come on his show. To that he said, "Those of us who have authentic faith need not be fearful of those with whom we disagree. Talking to people I disagree with sharpens me."
Though I was hoping for a more aggressive defense from Huckabee, I realized that giving people like Dreyfuss and Maher a forum to talk unfettered about their views is far more courageous than yelling over them, insulting them, chiding them and cutting them off with an indignant huff. Huckabee's doing good work to improve the dialog, which benefits both sides.
Huckabee isn't the best interviewer, nor is he a natural journalist. Maybe that's a good thing.
Posted by SE Cupp at 8:15 PM