Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

You Can't Handle The Truth, Hugh!

I have always liked Hugh Hewitt even though I can't say I'm a regular listener to his radio program. I tend to listen to LA based hosts, John and Ken, over at KFI 640. They're more fun, and John, the loud mouth, often expresses well what I feel about an issue.

However, when John and Ken are beating their dead horse of illegal immigration, I turn the dial over to Hugh's show. Hugh does provide some smart, political talk. During the presidential election day, when all hope was dimming for a Bush re-election - at least according to the exit polls - Hugh was like a rock, exhorting the Republican faithful to take heart and not believe the distortions coming from the MSM.

Well, in the last week or so, Hugh has taken to bashing congressman Tom Tancredo for his remarks about bombing Muslim holy sites IF there were a nuclear attack on American soil by Islamic terrorists. For three whole hours one day following the Tancredo comments, Hugh called upon the congressman to renounce his remarks and apologize for such extremism that will only serve to alienate the US further in the minds of the world nations. That show was embarrassing enough for Hugh as he revealed how he is absolutely ignorant of true Islamic teaching and held up liberalized, western Muslims, as the standard for true Islam.

On Monday, July 25th, Hugh's reputation continued to sink when he invited to his radio program for two hours Hussam Ayloush, a spokesman from the Southern California Counsel for American Islamic Relations. Hussam whirled about and contorted every which way to present CAIR as this jolly, Jew and Christian loving organization.

To his credit, Hugh did pin Hussam down on some fundamental bad attitudes toward Israel, but in my opinion, he didn't go far enough with his questions. For example, Hussam chided Hugh for comparing Saudi Arabian treatment of Christians and Jews to the entire Islamic world. He claimed Christians and Jews have freedom in many Islamic countries like Iran and Turkey (which made me laugh out loud with a snorty chuckle) and Saudi Arabia is the one bad apple. Hugh would have redeemed himself if he had quickly asked, "do those allegedly Christian-friendly Islamic states allow Christians to evangelize and proselytize freely and unrestrained without being hassled by Islamic policing authorities?" I can guarantee Hussam would not be able to answer that question in the positive.

Making matters a little worse, Hugh had Dr. Bob Morey come on the show to field some questions with Hussam. Now, for those unfamiliar with Dr. Bob, allow me to digress a moment. He is a Christian apologist who specializes in dealing with Islam, who has written a handful of books on the subject and is one of the key promoters of the idea to bomb the Mecca holy sites to eradicate Islamic terrorism. I have to state up front that I like Dr. Bob. He is a tremendous speaker and debater. His material exposing the flaws with evidentialism and natural theology is outstanding. Moreover, I maintain several of his books in my library. His massive work on the doctrine of the Trinity, for example, is stellar. In fact, I would recommend any of his books on various apologetic, theological subjects without hesitation.

The main problem with Dr. Bob, however, is he tends to be arrogant and arrogance puts people off, even if you are right. He can also be a shameless self-promoter, and no one cares for a person who does nothing but talks of himself.

At one time here in LA, Dr. Bob had a Bible answer man type radio program opposite Hank's. Even though he was more biblically correct than Hank, his overall personality sounded shrill and vindictive. Hank, despite his theological foibles and screwy teaching on some subjects, is more humble and thus, sounds more credible. Peter warned Christian to consider their conduct toward unbelievers so that they have nothing to mock (1 Peter 3:16,17). Dr. Bob would do well to remember this. If you think I am wrong about this, check the comments posted by a blogger named froggy concerning Dr. Bob's interview with Hugh.

At any rate, coming back to the Hewitt interview...

When Dr. Bob is addressing the theology of Islam specifically, he is of sound mind and argues well. This time, however, instead of addressing Islam, he talked about conspiracy theories with CAIR. Rather than sounding like an informed Christian, he sounded... well... sort of kooky. He first did the shameless self promotion thing. Then he prattled on with irrelevant information after being asked a particular question, so that Hugh had to corral him back to the point at hand. Additionally, he wasn't really prepared to provide sources to some of the "facts" he mentioned, and some of the citations he did provide came from dubious sources which in turn made him appear even more conspiratorial. (See the Froggy comments about being a "moonbat." That's unfortunate).

Now, I want to give Dr. Bob the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he was called at the last minute and this was a hastily put together opportunity for an interview. Those things will happen. But what ever the case, if you go on national radio and accuse the Muslim guest and his organization of shilling for Hamas and Osama, in my thinking, you better be prepared to back up your charge. Dr. Bob didn't do it and he dropped the ball in this instance.

Then, on Tuesday, the 26th, Hussam was asked to come back on Hugh's show and appear with some guy named Frank Gaffney, another alleged expert on CAIR's terrorist ties. Interestingly, Frank was basically saying the same stuff Dr. Bob was the day before, only he didn't come across as conspiratorial. There was some good interchange between Mr. Gaffney and Mr. Hussam, so that Hugh redeemed a little bit of his reputation as a credible broadcaster.

In my mind, though, I see Hugh's program as another right wing attempt to normalize Islam and soothe the sensibilities of westernized Muslims to make sure we have their support in our so-called war on terror. Yet, we are ignoring the heart of the problem if we continue to paint Islam as just "an interesting" religion, especially one that means us no harm. This is where I believe Hugh and his supporters are missing it big time. The major disappointment with the entire two days of the program was not Dr. Bob's conspiratorial theorizing or Hussam's spin doctoring the truth. I was more disappointed with Hugh never properly distinguishing between the worldviews of Islam and Christianity. Hussam went on and on about Islam being abused by terrorist Jihadists, asserting that all religions have their extremists who misread their faith's holy books. Because Hugh accommodates Hussam and leaves the truth claims of his Islamic faith unchallenged as to their validity, a person is left with the impression that Islam could possibly be a true way to God. Hugh has unwittingly embraced postmodern thinking with religion. That being, there are no genuine absolutes when it comes to spirituality and whatever religion happens to be true for you is not true for me. This is terrible, ungodly thinking for a Christian. A Christian, which Hugh happens to be, should know better than to handle what he knows to be true in such a careless manner.

I am all for discussing how to deal with Islam in a political realm. I believe it is vital to be informed of any dubious alignments CAIR may have with Islamofascists. However, I am looking at this from a greater perspective of a Christian, biblical worldview. I do hope Mr. Hewitt will collect his wits about this. As much as he wants to so disparately separate the politics behind jihadist terrorism from the religion of Islam, he will soon discover it is more difficult than what he has been led to believe.


Blogger P-BS-Watcher said...

See Desperate Situations and The Suicide Strategy.

3:45 PM, July 27, 2005  
Blogger centuri0n said...

Hey Fred --

Is it possible that Hugh is not actually a conservative Christian even though he's a conservative political guy? After reading his books -- especially "in, but not of" -- I think that Hugh doesn't really have his Christian cap on straight and he gets sidetracked by the political/pragmatic.

In that, he doesn't actually see Islam itself as "false" but as "competing", and in the world we live in today, "competing" calls out for "win/win" solutions. The "win/win" for the political conservative with Islam is to actually get an Islam which is really only a God-neutral philosophy that encourages good works -- the so-called "moderate" Islam.


6:38 AM, July 28, 2005  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

I believe your observation is spot on. Sadly, though, Hugh is seen as representing Christianity, because he is the one Christian talk radio voice in a sea of conservative Jewish talk radio hosts.

I have heard Hugh interviewed on Stand to Reason with Greg Kohkl (sp?) and he talks "Christian" philosophy, but not biblical theology. Of course Greg and STR is affiliated with the BIOLA philosohy crowd (JP Mooreland, WL Craig, etc) who are all deplorable evidentialists in their apologetic approach. In their minds, particularly Greg K's, Hugh is seen as having the correct approach with engaging the ideas of our culture - engage the reasonableness of the ideas first, then go to the Bible and the heart issues of sinful mankind. Hence, as you rightfully point out, Hugh will understand Islam to be primarily a competing idea - an idea that could actually be an ally in our war on terror - and not a false religious system opposed to the sovereign God of heaven. In my thinking, such appalling ignorance as a confessed Christian of these facts cripples his credibility as a reliable conservative pundit.


8:01 AM, July 28, 2005  
Blogger centuri0n said...

Thanks, btw, for not pointing our what a stupid grammatical disaster the phrase "in the world we live in today" is.

When will blogger allow me to edit my comments, I wonder? :-)

7:51 PM, July 28, 2005  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

You weren't too gramatically off. I was going to say something but I thought I would be nice. =-)


4:22 AM, July 29, 2005  

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