Over the weekend, Glenn tweeted out that Mehdi Ouazanni, the actor who plays Satan in History Channel’s The Bible, happened to look a little like President Obama once he was in full make-up. Of course, the media latched onto the tweet and has used it to put a controversial and negative spin on the amazing new television series. But why have they ignored the series up until now? Glenn shared a personal story on radio this morning about how the show has helped his family, how it could help others, and shamed the media’s coverage of the breakout show.
“I want to talk to you about something deeply personal here but also related to the series The Bible. Friday I’m ahead on the series of The Bible because I was asked to review it and we haven’t had a chance to watch all of it and we finished it last Sunday and it still I think has two more weeks to go on the History Channel. And on Friday I tweeted, I don’t even know when it was. I think it was like 11:00 at night, I think, but we had watched The Bible series and I had tweeted something I thought was a funny comment and I said, ‘You have to watch The Bible this weekend because you won’t believe how much the devil looks like Barack Obama.’”
“If you look, if you look at this thing, you just, you can’t deny. Now, did they go out and they try to find an actor to look like him? No. Did he, did he try to make it look ‑‑ no, he didn’t.”
But rather than notice the obvious physical similarities, laugh, and move on with their lives – several in the media decided to take Glenn’s tweet and use it to create controversy around The Bible and its producers.
“Here’s what’s really happening with this. First of all, the networks didn’t want to take Mark Burnett’s show. They didn’t want to take it. They didn’t want to run a series that was the number one show in all of television on the History Channel. It had higher ratings than American Idol. They are so out of touch with you, the American people; or they have such an agenda that they will flush down ratings and connect with actual people for their agenda or because they’re clueless. You decide which is which.”
“Then when it was picked up by the History Channel, then what happens? Then nobody wants to do interviews with these guys.”
“Here’s Mark Burnett, one of the ‑‑ he’s got five, count them, five nights where his shows are number one on different networks. He has five nights in a row, currently! The guy is the biggest name in television and they don’t want to do an interview with him on this Bible thing that you’re doing, you freak. So they ignore him. They don’t pick it up. Then they ignore him. Then it becomes number one and they just do a quick hit on it and move on.”
“And then it fades into oblivion. The ratings still hold. Nobody says a word. And then Friday I make an offhanded remark on Twitter and now the media is in an absolute firestorm.”
“Now here, here is this media so completely out of control that for their own agenda of, I think believe it or not, I think to try to teach Mark Burnett a lesson: Don’t you do anything like this ever again because we’ll ignore you and then we’ll smear you.”
Sadly, the power of The Bible to inspire hope and love through its message has been ignored amid all the controversy. And rather than spend his time attacking the “journalists” who have decided to use his tweet to attack The Bible series, it’s producers, or himself, Glenn decided to share a story that demonstrates why people need to be watching the show.
“On Sunday night we watched the last episode of The Bible. This is the crucifixion and the resurrection.”
“If you’re a long‑time listener of this program, you know that we have been on the verge of losing our dog. Quite honestly it has been a battle where I have felt like the bad guy because my family has not been able to let go and I have been watching my dog… suffer. And I have stood quietly trying to ask, ‘Please, family, let’s let him go.’ My son and I are going to dig his grave on Friday, and Saturday at noon at our home, we’re going to put him to sleep. Sunday we decided to do it, and my son, who is 8, took it exceptionally hard on Sunday. I think the reality truly set in, and we as a family cried all Sunday afternoon and all Sunday night. And we were all down on the floor.”
“Last night we were on the kitchen floor sitting right by his spot where he always sits when we eat dinner and read our scripture. And we all got down on the floor and we read Psalms – not to him but to us. My son was almost inconsolable on Sunday.”
“And we started to watch The Bible, the Mark Burnett show. And it showed the crucifixion and it showed the death. my wife and I were with the kids and we knew what was coming and we knew that it would be good. And my son got off the bed at one point and went down onto a floor where he sat with Victor and he laid on him and sobbed, and petted him.”
“But in the point of the movie where Christ rises and there is eternal life, Raphe turned his head to the television and we began to talk about how we’ll see Victor again and how death is just temporary separation.”
“There are people and forces in this world that don’t want you to believe that. There are people and forces of this world that don’t believe it themselves. They don’t understand the peaceful message. They don’t understand the comfort. They don’t understand the meaning of that one man’s life. Everything to them needs to be turned into some political debate. Because of ratings, everything needs to be divisive. Because of what they believe and because they will not tolerate, they do not believe in freedom of speech, they do not believe in the individual choice, they do not believe in the true message of Jesus, they believe in collective salvation, that somehow or another we all have to save everybody, where we are truly powerless. They will look for anything, anything at all, to divide us, to isolate, to teach a lesson to Mr. Burnett and Roma Downey, ‘You are in a space, that you are not welcome and we will not welcome you in that space. We will ignore you or if need be, we will ridicule you. We will smear you, but we will not talk about the amazing power of a movie that when I was a kid networks would have begged to air.’”
“Because I think maybe, just maybe back then there were a few more people that understood because they had actually seen it in their own lives, the power, of the story of redemption, forgiveness, and eternal life.”
“I don’t know what you have going on in your life. It’s been a hard year for us. The last 12 or 18 months have been extraordinarily difficult. And I’m not the only man who has struggled with the end days of his best friend, nor will I be the last, nor will this be the last time that I struggle with this decision. But we found peace. Even though we have hard work ahead of us in the next few days, we know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
“A personal note: I thank Mark Burnett and Roma Downey for their courage, for their inspiration, for their willingness. I wrote to them yesterday, and I’ll say it publicly: I apologize for being so foolish to think that one can still joke today. Please don’t be lost in the message of the media. If you haven’t watched The Bible yet, this is the most important episode, and it’s coming up Sunday. A vision, a gift that I haven’t seen ever before on television.”