Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, resides in New York City and is employed as a journalist. She recently completed a documentary called Friends of God, which first aired on HBO on January 25, 2007. Regrettably, her “documentary” selectively highlights a few oddities in the American evangelical landscape, ignoring the countless reasonable, educated evangelicals who lead productive, professional lives. Her work reinforces the liberal stereotype of Christians as (at best) unsophisticated, anti-intellectual morons, and (at worst) zealous, unbalanced fundamentalists, who (like the Taliban) are ready to impose a theocracy. Don Feder of USA today notes:
“It’s the tried-and-true technique of filmmakers with an agenda — find the most embarrassing and absurd examples of whatever you want to lampoon and get them on camera.”
As committed Christians, we should grieve at much of the “Jesus junk” (to quote Keith Green) that passes for spiritual fare in some Christian subcultures. Pelosi is right to recoil at such silliness. But her equating all of evangelicalism with such banality is an example of selective journalism. We should respond with humility, acknowledging our shortcomings while clearly articulating historic evangelical convictions. We must neither accept her diagnosis, nor imitate her journalistic methods. We should not retreat in isolationism, but engage people like Pelosi as thoughtful, informed Christians, praying that God would soften hard hearts. “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,…” (II Tim 2:24-25).