God On Television by Patty LaRoche

God has made a resurgence on television. I first noticed it on one of my favorite singing competitions, American Idol, where this season several contestants shared that their singing roots were in church. Home videos were proof. Many were vocal about their faith and gave God the glory for their abilities. I prayed for them to be the last ones standing.

When Kyla Jade sang the Christian song “How Great Thou Art,” only a few notes into the melody, the live audience erupted in applause. Their standing ovation seemed endless. No one booed or stormed out in protest when God was being celebrated. I had proud goosebumps.

As the contestants were eliminated, five were left. Alone in the green room before their performances, they were free to do whatever they wanted. When they came onto the stage, Ryan Seacrest, the show’s host, questioned how they had spent their time. More spontaneous applause followed their answer: “We were praying.” And so was I, praying that their futures may continue to be testimonies to their love of God.

American Idol was not the only show where faith was expressed. This year’s shortened competition on Dancing With the Stars showed off the talents of athletes. One of them, Jennie Finch, was a softball pitcher (whom I have admired for years). She and her dance partner, Keo Motsepe, had learned the difficult choreography, but a few days before the show’s airing, Finch was convicted the song’s lyrics were not ones she wanted her children to hear. In her words, “I want to glorify God out there, and that just wasn’t a great choice for me to do that.” Motsepe was forced to choose another song and re-choreograph the dance. One of the judges commended Finch for sticking to her convictions. I needed pom poms.

And how about Britain’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markel where God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit were mentioned several times! (Yes, I set my alarm for the opening television coverage.) My prayers were that everyone who watched would be touched by the sacredness of the occasion and want to know more about this holy Trinity.

The same day, when the news stations turned to the live footage following the tragic, Santa Fe, Texas, school shooting, five community leaders spoke. All acknowledged that prayer was the answer. Thank you, Jesus.

More recently we were given first-row television seats to Rosanne Barr’s firing from ABC following the disparaging remarks she Tweeted about Valerie Jarrett (a beautiful woman, in my opinion). The public scorn was fast and furious but ultimately brought Barr to her knees where she Tweeted about her Jewish faith, asking God to help use this “bad experience” to move her to a place where she can help the hopeless.

“These [are] the four steps in repentance: admitting you were wrong, making restitution, asking forgiveness from those u have hurt & at last, cracking open your heart in deep sorrow and remorse, where tears flow.” For Barr, even those comments produced no standing ovations. No one reminded the naysayers we all are sinners and fall short of God’s glory. The skeptics were out in droves, questioning where this faith has been during Barr’s long, public career and praising ABC for acting swiftly. And although I must admit her apology elicited no proud goosebumps for me (perhaps a little judgmental?), of all the television personalities whose faith has been exposed, I think Roseanne Barr needs our prayers the most.

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