Daily Dispatches

Todd Starnes: Be alarmed, get educated, take action

"Todd Starnes: Be alarmed, get educated, take action" Continued...

You’re clearly outspoken about your Christian faith. Fox News has a reputation of being conservative but not necessarily Christian. How’s that been for you? I think that Fox is faith-friendly. They’re willing to give all faiths a shake. They do a good job telling faith stories, and I appreciate that as a Christian. Not once have I been censored. Not once have they said, “No, you can’t do that story. Stay away from that story.” They give me full autonomy in my column, in my commentaries, whatever I want to write about. They’re more than happy to do it as long as we tell both sides of the story there. I enjoy doing that because I want people to see, for example, how the atheists think. What is their argument? Ultimately, since I’m a columnist, I do get to have my say in the piece. But I do try as best as possible to present both sides of the story.

Is it fair to say some of your opinions have gotten you into trouble? Oh, sweet mercy. That may be the understatement of the year. Look, when I write something, I think that it’s fair game. People are going to be able to talk about it one way or the other. They’re going to like it; they’re going to hate it. I’m not any of those things that people say I am, and the left loves to target people. They like to smear them with, “Oh, that person is … They don’t support gay marriage. That means they’re a homophobe or they’re a hater. They’re a bigot.”Growing up in the Southern states, I think the racism part is what really gets to me more than anything else because I count many people of many different shape, sizes, and colors to be my friends. At the end of the day, when things like that happen, when people hurl insults your way, I just kind of let them slide. I don’t respond to that kind of stuff. It is what it is. People who know me, my friends, my family, they know the kind of person that I am.

And Fox is not intimated by that sort of thing? We have a lot of commentators at Fox who face the same kinds of things. One of the things that I do try really hard to do in my piece is not get personal in the attacks. I love going after the issues, but I don’t hurl the personal insults. That’s something that I try not to do. Yeah, they would get concerned if I went and said, “Hey, this is an issue,” because I do get a lot of death threats, get a lot of nasty e-mails, stuff like that but so far, nothing that’s really led to me being nervous or anything like that. I am a member of the [National Rifle Association], by the way.

Have there been moments where your Christian faith has not been in lockstep with the conservative point of view of some of your Fox colleagues? I think there’s always going to be differences of opinion. … There’s a minister out in Chicago who said, “We don’t need people bowing down to the Democratic donkey or the Republican elephant. We need people bowing down to the light of Judah.” There is this idea, especially in the conservative, evangelical Christian faith that the Republican Party is our party. I try to dispel that idea in the book.For example, when you go back and look at all of the major cultural decisions that had been decided in this country, those were decided by Supreme Court justices appointed to the bench by Republican presidents, not Democratic presidents, Republican presidents. I think people need to understand they should not be beholden to a political party. This is far beyond politics. This is about religious liberty. This is about being able to freely worship God.

I’m assuming that since you wrote a book about the subject that you think religious liberty is a defining issue for our day. I certainly do. … I was talking to Rick Warren one day. He was at Fox News, and he said that he believes religious liberty is going to be the civil-rights issue of our generation. This is Rick Warren saying this. This is not the late Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson. … We’re starting to see many pastors who have not been talking about these kinds issues starting to speak up because they understand what’s coming. They see the tide has turned. They see what’s happening over in Canada where pastors are frequently accused of being haters or accused of violating hate crime laws from the pulpit. I think this is a very, very important issue, and I think it’s going to become a much more important issue in the days ahead.


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