“Wait Till Folks Google ‘Mormons'”
So, I came across an episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO, and I occasionally find his cynical atheistic viewpoints funny. I’m not one of those Christians who can’t laugh at myself or at the worldviews that my fellow Christians share.
Besides, beneath Bill Maher’s anti-religious comical tirades – what he refers to as the “religulous” crowd (methinks the lapsed Catholic doth protest too much) – is an insecure guy who’s still angry that some right-wing zealots caused him to lose his ABC gig and relegate him to premium cable.
In other words, his attempts at offending the “religious set” get a laugh from me because he tries oh-so-hard to debunk our various “mythologies” with good sound REASON (except he never sounds reasonable, which is why I find myself laughing hard whenever he makes a joke about Jesus).
So, knowing all this about how Bill Maher thinks and operates and what he does for gags and laughs, why is it that, when he chose to make fun of the Mormons, I didn’t laugh as loud?
Only one reason: David Archuleta.
Granted, the issue of Mormonism came up because they were talking about Mitt Romney and the reluctance of Evangelical Christian conservatives to fully get behind him. The joke Bill made was something like: “Yeah, wait till folks start to google “Mormons.”
The audience chuckles. His panel doesn’t quite get the joke, so Bill Maher points out some choice “practices” of the LDS Church.
“OK, how about this,” Bill continues. “Magic underwear.”
The audience roars with laughter.
“Oh, and my favorite: Baptism of the Dead.”
The audience is bewildered.
“Yeah,” Bill Maher sums up, as if that was all that was needed to be said.
So, had Bill been talking about my church or the Catholic Church or even a Jewish sect, I might have laughed along with him. But this time, I found myself hesitating.
I don’t know. Maybe because we here at Soul David didn’t need to Google “Mormons” over Mitt Romney. We’ve been googling about David’s church since the time we’ve chosen to follow him. Funny, but those things didn’t make me laugh when I learned about them. It just made me go “Too Much Information!!!!”
And so I left it alone because I still need to preserve my best thoughts about my beloved David Archuleta.
Now that Mormonism is getting another look in the media, I find myself cringing.
And I don’t know how I feel about whether or not a person’s faith should be a deal-breaker in how people vote for a president (or follow the music career of an artist for that matter).
Part of why I try not to dwell too much on David’s faith is because I have to respect David’s choices for himself, and since from all that he’s shown of himself, I see that it hasn’t done him much harm, why make it an “issue”?
Oh, it’s definitely an “issue” when it disrupts his career for two years, I get that. But the inner workings of the church? Do I really want to get caught up in all that? Besides, David is so good, so thoughtful, so conscientious, so compassionate, that I have the hardest time reconciling that public image with the other image other folks like to bring up: the stereotype of the brainwashed, cult-following Missionary who can’t make any decisions for himself except to follow religious dogma that, at best, believes in weird things about Jesus and the afterlife and, at worst, turns you into a bigoted homophobe.
That stereotype doesn’t work on David (at least not for me), and the only reason some fans think David would be in danger of fulfilling such a stereotype is because they deny him any agency. I think David knows what he’s doing and I trust his good judgment, whether or not I agree with the tenets of his faith.
Still, whatever issues we may have about David and his Church, I do realize, having watched the Bill Maher episode, that this does affect his public persona in bigger ways than what affects his fanbase. It’s because David makes no apologies for who and what he is that I have to admire him as he keeps on keeping on.