NBC’s political director Chuck Todd offended Christians and America with his statements last Friday morning about Good Friday, Fox News writer Robert Charles claimed in a Monday op-ed piece.
For most Christians across the world, last Friday was Good Friday, which commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. And on Friday afternoon, Todd took to Twitter to opine about his thoughts on the significance of the day.
“I’m a bit hokey when it comes to ‘Good Friday.’ I don’t mean disrespect to the religious aspect of the day, but I love the idea of reminding folks that any day can become ‘good,’ all it takes is a little selflessness on our own part. Works EVERY time.”
According to Fox News, Todd was “slammed” on Twitter for the remarks, with several commenters calling his tweet “disrespectful.” More than one called on him to apologize, be fired, or even both. Although at this point it bears noting that the only major news agency to report on the “controversy,” as far as Google News search can reveal, is Fox News.
And in fact, though the “controversy” came and went with little to no notice, by Monday it was clear that the issue is still stuck in Fox News’ collective craw.
Enter Robert Charles.
Calling Todd’s remarks “tone deaf,” Charles invoked America’s “Christian heritage” as evidence that Todd wasn’t only mocking Jesus Christ, and by extension Christians, but he was also attacking America itself.
“Evidence of accidental or intentional disinterest in America’s Christian heritage, the long beam undergirding American history, continues to pile up. The modern media promotes our forgetting, and seems increasingly comfortable deriding the Christian faith.”
Charles went on to explain that Todd’s “attack” on the Christian faith is symbolic of a larger problem in America: a lack of respect for Christianity, which is a fundamental part of the lives of millions of Americans and is, indeed (according to Charles), a fundamental part of our national identity.
NBC’s Chuck Todd slammed on Twitter for Good Friday commentshttps://t.co/OCVwzmCRIY
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 1, 2018
Charles’ righteous indignation, however, overlooks a couple of key points.
For starters, Todd’s remarks were at once utterly mundane and delivered from a well-meaning place. Or at least, so it seems to this writer. He was simply taking the occasion of Good Friday to remind everyone, Christian or otherwise, that “Good” need not be restricted to certain days of the year. It would be no different than him claiming, on Christmas, that gift-giving need not be restricted to just December 25.
Larger than that, however, is the Right’s continued insistence that the United States is, or ever was, a “Christian nation.” In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The separation of church and state is enshrined in the Constitution, and no god is mentioned, directly or indirectly, in the nation’s founding document.
Todd may have offended some Christians – those who allow Fox News to tell them what to be outraged about, for example – with his remarks. And if so, he may do well to, at the very least, choose his words more judiciously when discussing religion in the future. But any claim that Todd’s remarks were a deliberate attack against Jesus Christ, Christianity, or the supposed Christian soul of America, is little more than hyperbolic ranting from someone looking for something to be offended about.