I recently wrote that I was “disappointed” in Joy Behar for making the following remark: “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus, it’s another thing when Jesus talks to you... That’s called mental illness, if I’m correct.”
The column brought on an avalanche of emails from readers who believe as I do, and some from others who do not.
Some of the emails were encouraging and inspirational, while others seemed to drip with the poisonous venom of hate, not only about my faith, but also about my age (which, by the way I am very proud of).
Here are some excerpts from some of the letters I received:
▪ Your article brought me to tears. Your faith in Jesus touched me deeply. What a rich history of God’s faithfulness! My faith in Jesus helped me survive and overcome the wounds of an abusive marriage, too. That faith gave me the strength to spend 18 years raising two children as a single parent. He [Jesus] has been the lifter of my head day after day... has guided me and answered many prayers in my lifetime. — Rachel Stringer, Colchester, Vermont
▪ I applaud you. I, as a Christian, was also appalled at the incident on “The View.” In fact, I called the station and left a sharp word for them concerning their tolerance of [Behar’s] behavior. It was right after the [Parkland] shooting and I told them, “If the shooter had been listening to God it would not have happened.” — Carole Deutsch
▪ Lovely column this morning. Meaningful. — Dave Lawrence
▪ Your article supporting standing up for your Christian faith, for Christ, is so refreshing and so needed! You especially portrayed Christ’s spirit, the Holy Spirit, in showing your love for the people who don’t understand and who ridicule faith in Christ. — Kathy Turner
▪ I read your article and it moved me to tears. As a white Irish-American Catholic male, I grew up privileged and did not have to endure the things you wrote about. God bless you and thank you for telling your story. You are very brave and you are a survivor. — Philip J. Logue
▪ Joy Behar’s joke was not funny. I lived through the deaths of my parents and my brother’s crippling accident (he died suddenly in 1997). My older sister raised me through my teenage years. We lived together and were always close. Last year, she died in her sleep at age 66. My faith has helped me keep on going. Not just to live through tragedy, grief and bereavement, but to continue finding happiness and joy in living. — Karin Stahl
▪ I hope Joy gets to read your column. As one who reveres the Jewish faith and as one who believes that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess, and as one who, too, has been blessed to hear the voice of the Savior, I salute the expression of faith demonstrated by your column. — Dessie Williams
▪ Just finished your comments on religious jokes and just had to voice my opinion. Sadly, you are making such a big deal out of something that was so forgotten the moment it was uttered. This is why so many people like me feel those who have to get on a soapbox to immediately defend their beliefs are unsure of their faith. I talk to God as do many, but that is me and I keep it to myself. — Christine Pedersen
▪ I truly enjoyed your article. We need more people like you to be a blessing in this world and to show God’s love and the way He would handle situations ... just like this one. Spreading God’s love like this is what this world really needs. — Tatjana Herrera
▪ It is undeniable that people are incarcerated, sometimes without due process, for claiming to hear voices which urge them to act in certain ways. We, including medical professionals and others in authority, refer to such people as “delusional” and “mentally ill.” All non-Christians reject your beliefs as illegitimate and baseless. You reject theirs for the same reason. It seems to me that a sane person would agree with all of you and struggle on to live a life of kindness, compassion, respect, dignity, reason, fairness, and love without waiting for a word from on high or from the pulpit. My beliefs are as sincere as yours. — Elliott Rothman
▪ Sorry you didn’t approve of Behar’s comment. Too bad she didn’t mention that Jesus tells him [Pence] to jail homosexuals. Religion hurts a lot of people. If this crutch works for you, fine. But [Behar] is entitled to object to use religion to justify [Pence’s] hate. I applaud her. Enough of your platitudes. The religious use the Bible constantly to malign homosexuals. Don’t be so obtuse. I will not read your so-called column in the future, as I only did because I was told about your attack on Behar. I will pray you grow up even it is way too late. LOL — Beverly Sulzberger
▪ Thank you for your column... Thank you for your testimony and the courage to make your personal journey public and sovereign. I did not hear the joke, but read your response. My belief in Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior, has helped me thrive and survive the potent brand of racism that is in the USA. My belief sustains me daily, through thick and thin. — Rosie Gordon-Wallace
▪ Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your weekly column. I am a Jewish woman, but I still appreciated what you said. We are moving and won’t be getting the Miami Herald anymore, so wanted to give you a quick compliment. Wanted you to know that I, and I know many others, enjoy your column! — Darly Shapiro
▪ I was looking at what was trending on Google and Joy Behar’s apology came up, which prompted me to see a link for your article. It was a pleasure to read. I am new to faith, and have only been a Christian for a little over a year. Before that time, I was probably more agnostic than atheist. My faith is such a large, profound piece of my identity now and I can’t imagine a world without Jesus in it. — Michele Johnson
▪ You are an example for many, in so many ways. You have overcome, and you continue to excel; you make people think. How amazing is that. Your comments about the recent unfortunate joke, and your faith and your mom and the insensitivities of the day, are all so invaluable. — Paul Novack
▪ You verbalized perfectly what I felt when Joy Behar made that comment and how to respond if it was brought up in conversation. — Tricia Hopkins, Miami Beach
▪ A breath of fresh air, no doubt. I happen to be a Catholic Republican who suffers the enormous amount of attacks against our current president and his staff by the media and especially the Herald, some of it justifiably deserved, I grant you. I emailed all my fellow Cuban-born friends about your article and hope that by doing so you now will enjoy a number of new readers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and may God bless you. — M. Norman
I was never angry with Behar for her remark, just disappointed for her lack of judgment. However, a few days after my column ran, Behar made a public apology to Vice President Pence, and the millions of other Christians who believe as he does.
In an article in The Washington Post on March 13, Behar said, “I was raised to respect everyone’s religious faith, and I fell short of that.” Behar also made the remarks on the March 13 airing of “The View,” after weeks of protests by viewers.
Her apology is good enough for me. And, I believe, for Jesus, too.
Kidney disease symposium
A symposium on kidney disease will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday with registration at New Way Fellowship church, 16800 NW 22nd Ave. in Miami Gardens. The event is sponsored by the NAACP Miami-Dade Branch, Health Committee and is free to the public.
Meet the author
The Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center will present David Dalin, author of “Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court,” at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus, 20350 NE 26th Ave. in North Miami Beach. Dalin’s appearance is a part of the Jewish center’s and numerous other local synagogues and organizations’ Meet the Authors complimentary series. Call Mary Ellen Becher at 305-932-4200, ext. 189, for more information.
Good Friday prayer breakfast
The Kiwanis Club of Homestead/South Dade, will present Kevin Pedersen, former Senior Special Agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at its 43rd annual Good Friday Prayer Breakfast at 7 a.m. March 30 at the Harris Field Pavilion, 1034 NE Eighth St. in Homestead.
Pedersen is homegrown. He is a former All-American and state wrestling champion at Miami Palmetto High School and is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He served in the U.S. Army before starting his 21-year career with the DEA. He was twice awarded the Administrator’s Award, the DEA’s highest award of valor.
The program will also feature tenor Dale Kitchell and the “Team Bhive” Dance Ensemble from the Huneyshine Dance Studio. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and are available at the law office of John P. Mass, Esq., 44 NE 16th St. in Homestead. Call 305-775-6575 for more information.
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