Charlton Heston’s Faith: Was He A Christian? (Plus – Heston’s Harvard Speech, 1999)

I noticed that my dashboard showed a lot of search terms like, “was Charlton Heston a Christian”, and actually so far today ALL the search terms have had some variation of this question… “It’s a good question,” I told myself. So, not really knowing if he was or not, I decided to do a search of my own.

Aside from the astounding fact that he stayed married to his wife, Lydia, for 64 years (a miraculous feat in and of itself in a place like Hollywood) I found many very interesting items about this great man that you may not know…

Such as apparently George Clooney thought it was perfectly okay to mock Heston’s revelation that he had Alzheimer’s disease.

Michael Moore (that fine, upstanding individual), who’s propaganda film (or should I say docu-dramamine) “Bowling for Columbine” featured an interview with Heston that attempted to challenge his stance on the Second Amendment… remember, Mr. Heston was already suffering from Alzheimer’s – but he seemed pretty lucid to me. Mr. Moore apparently is a card carrying member if the NRA. (I guess I should run right out and join NARAL…) **

Unlike some candidates running for president this election cycle, Mr. Heston actually DID march with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr…

Charlton Heston at 1963 March on Washington (NARA/USIA)
Charlton Heston At 1963 March On Washington (Public Domain: (NARA/USIA) Photo File Under Creative Commons License)

He also openly organized boycotts of Hollywood eateries that refused to serve blacks. Here is an interesting post. A very generous obituary from an activist blog that I normally wouldn’t frequent:
A Peaceniks view of Charlton Heston’s Activism.

And of course, there is this now-famous speech he made at Harvard in 1999…

Winning the Cultural War
Charlton Heston’s Speech to the Harvard Law School Forum
Feb 16, 1999
I remember my son when he was five, explaining to his kindergarten class what his father did for a living. “My Daddy,” he said, “pretends to be people.” There have been quite a few of them. Prophets from the Old and New Testaments, a couple of Christian saints, generals of various nationalities and different centuries, several kings, three American presidents, a French cardinal and two geniuses, including Michelangelo.

If you want the ceiling repainted I’ll do my best. There always seem to be a lot of different fellows up here. I’m never sure which one of them gets to talk. Right now, I guess I’m the guy.

As I pondered our visit tonight it struck me: If my Creator gave me the gift to connect you with the hearts and minds of those great men, then I want to use that same gift now to reconnect you with your own sense of liberty of your own freedom of thought … your own compass for what is right.

Dedicating the memorial at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln said of America, “We are now engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether this nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.” Those words are true again. I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that’s about to hijack your birthright to think and say what resides in your heart. I fear you no longer trust the pulsing lifeblood of liberty inside you … the stuff that made this country rise from wilderness into the miracle that it is…

Read the rest of the speech HERE.

Was Charlton Heston a Christian? I don’t know. But if he was as humble about his own activism and it’s impact on society as I estimate that he was, perhaps he also chose to keep the extent of his religious affections (or lack thereof) under his hunting hat.

We will miss him.

(Here is a link to the AP story about Heston’s funeral written by Bob Thomas, who apparently was informed by family members that Heston was indeed a devoutly religious man.

Another unique look at Heston can be found at Pilgrim’s Planet.

This information was added to this post on April 13th, 2008.)

Be sure to visit the Reformed Faith Weblog Home Page for devotionals, news and commentary.

————————
** NOTE: The Bowling for Columbine interview may require you to sign in to verify that you are over 18 years of age.**

Advertisements

The Enemy In Our Midst: Popular Culture and the Battle For Men’s Hearts (Pt. 3)

Note from Reformed Faith Administrator: This is part 3 of an article by Eric Holmberg. I will be presenting it in four parts.
***************************************************

Pt. 3…

Allow me to begin with story. In 1936, Spain was ravaged by a great civil war. Emilio Mola, one of the leaders of the Nationalist Army under the command of Francisco Franco, surrounded the capital city of Madrid with columns to the north, south, east and west. When asked from which direction he expected the city to be taken, Mola replied “le quinta columna.” This “fifth column” was made up of the spies and propaganda he had managed to plant within the city of Madrid itself.

Can I tell you that there is a civil war going on for the destiny of this nation and the planet ─ one that this generation will lose if the “fifth column” of worldliness continues to flourish in our hearts? Like it or not, God himself has set enmity between the “seed of the woman” (the Church) and “the seed of the serpent.” (Genesis 3:15) And when left unchecked, the spiritual “entropy” that characterizes the fallen world of man will always move towards great disorder and chaos – towards a place where the “imaginations of men’s hearts will be on evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5) And out of these imaginations, the “culture” will inevitably arise.

Now culture is a difficult thing to describe because it involves so many things. Taken from the Latin root “cultus,” it originally meant a system of religious belief and rituals. And while today it is commonly used to describe a lot more than this ─ things like aesthetics, ethics, language, etiquette, etc. ─ at bottom the Latin definition still serves us well. Why? Because each of these other aspects of culture flow from the religious presuppositions that form the majority report of a particular society. To use the phrase made famous by Henry van Til: “culture is religion externalized.”

Another thing we need to understand about culture today is just how powerful and almost omnipresent it has become. By faith and through the revealed Word we understand that it is in God that we “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). But from a strictly temporal perspective, modern technology has been able to create a culture of entertainment that could easily cop this verse and use it as a sales slogan for potential advertisers. (I’m reminded here of the famous quote by Bob Pittman, co-founder of MTV: “We don’t shoot for the fourteen-year-olds. We own them!”) As ubiquitous as the air we breathe, digitized information is constantly bombarding us from every side ─ clamoring, cajoling, mesmerizing, titillating, propagandizing ─ threatening and very often succeeding in molding us into its image. (see Romans 12:2: “And don’t be conformed to this world but be transformed…”)

And it is not just the obvious things like violence, blasphemy and pornography that have seduced us. Perhaps even more destructive is something a great Russian writer predicted would happen. Fyodor Dostoyevsky observed that when untethered from the Christian worldview, art would begin by imitating life. But then life would start to imitate art and then would finally draw the very reason for its existence from the arts. Historian Daniel Boorstin sounded a similar alarm when he warned that Americans increasingly live in a world where fantasy is more real than reality. “We risk,” he said, “being the first people in history to have been able to make their illusions so vivid, so persuasive, so ‘realistic’ that they can live in them.”

I call this parallel universe in which our culture has come to live the “Great Substitution.” And the fallout from this substitution is among the most profound challenges facing the Church today.

“I” has taken the place of “We”. One need only consider the Army’s new recruiting motto: An Army of One. What an insane concession to the spirit of the age!

Art ─ which in the Christian tradition was to provide ekstasis; the opportunity to “stand outside ourselves” and gain insight into the wonder of life ─ has been replaced by entertainment (from inter (among); tenere (to hold) ─ something that draws us into ourselves; denying us new perspectives and the opportunity to grow.

The Image has been substituted for the Logos (Word). In the beginning was the Word, which was God and then became flesh and dwelt among us through the Incarnation. (John 1:1&14) It is no accident that we do not know what Jesus looked like or that the Ten Commandments forbid creating images of the invisible God. When it comes to the real business of knowing and worshipping the Trinity, the keys are the Word read and meditated upon, the Word sung (worship), and the Word signified in the sacraments. As images have more and more pushed the written word aside, the logos/logic centers of our minds have grown dull from disuse. The results of this substitution have been disastrous. Even the capacity for Truth (an enterprise that requires logic) has fallen in the post-modern public square. (Isaiah 59:15) And within the Church, the hard work of diligently training our senses to discern good and evil (Heb. 5:15) has been replaced by mushy sentimentality.

Character has been trumped by celebrity. Why are so many people more likely to spend time meditating on the dating habits of some Hollywood profligate than on the scriptural principles that will help them make sure that their own marriages will succeed?

Fun (a word with a very recent origin) has taken the place of happiness. It is no longer just teens who are willing to jettison the hard work and delayed gratification necessary to enjoy the truly “good life.” More and more adults are willing to sell their divine birthright for a mess of “ready-in-a-minute” porridge.

Sound-bytes have replaced discourse. MTV-style “bumpers” and jump-cuts can now be seen in everything from sports coverage to news broadcasts and children’s programming. We are fast becoming a nation of “watchers” with the attention span of a circus of fleas. What ill-wind blows through the body politic when the average network sound-byte from presidential campaigns dropped from 40 seconds in 1968 to under 7 seconds today?

Covetousness has been substituted for profitable stewardship with contentment. Think about it: millions actually pay extra money to buy name-brand clothing for no other reason than to advertise that they wear name-brand clothing!

Agape love (love reflecting the character of God and rooted in covenant commitment) has been pushed aside by eros ─ an obsession with our own erotic or emotional satisfaction. The late, great prophet to the 20th century, Malcolm Muggeridge perhaps said it best: “The orgasm has replaced the Cross as the focus of longing and the image of fulfillment.”

These substitutions did not “just happen.” They were manufactured with the same satanic genius that gave us Babel’s Tower and Aaron’s calf. The serpent took what were good, God-given desires (we are, after all, called to help build a Holy City whose capstone (Christ) reaches into the throne room of heaven; we are supposed to have a “feast to the Lord”) and ─ like in the Garden of Eden ─ tilted those desires ever so slightly on their axis. Once the center of God’s will is compromised, the trajectory of the culture will move slowly but progressively away from the Sun of Righteousness. As with the proverbial frog in the kettle, the fires of spiritual deception will be turned up gradually so as not to catch our attention. And that’s how we find ourselves today, facing desires that have all but undergone the complete transformation into their satanic substitutes.

I’m here to tell you that the water is boiling! It’s time to crawl out of the acid bath of popular culture and once again be about our Father’s business; discipling nations rather than being discipled by them!

How can we fulfill this call?

(To be continued…)
***********************************************

“The Enemy in Our Midst: Popular Culture and the Battle For Men’s Hearts” will be presented in several parts. Look for the last part coming soon…

Eric Holmberg is the founder and director of The Apologetics Group, based in Tennessee. He has been a champion for the cause of Christ for thirty years now, and is showing no sign of slowing down. Check out his website at

The Enemy in Our Midst: Popular Culture and the Battle for Men’s Hearts (Pt. 2)

Eric Holmberg
Note from Reformed Faith Administrator: This is part 2 of an article by Eric Holmberg. I will be presenting it in several parts…

************************************************
ATTENTION: WARNING! This post contains “adult content” references that could be considered offensive. However, I present them here unedited since they are, in reality, a direct reflection of the crassness of our present day culture, and Mr. Holmberg has used them as an illustration of this very phenomenon. Please consider yourself warned. If you are easily offended, you should go read something else. I’m serious. However, if you want to actually DO something to change the culture, and don’t really know what is going on out there, then read on… but you are still warned.)
************************************************

By Eric Holmberg, Founder, The Apologetics Group

We have “evolved” from a time (1939) when Rhett Butler’s use of the word “damn” (Gone With the Wind) was met with a collective gasp ─ to a “dumb and dumber, numb and number” culture where:

A popular comedy network broadcasted an uncensored, animated film that featured almost 500 hard-core obscenities and referred to God as both a “wimp,” a “bitch” and “faggot.” The movie, particularly popular with young people, took in over $52 million at the box office.
The highest-grossing “family movie” of all time (E.T., 1982) had an eleven-year-old star who used a grotesque homosexual reference in talking to his brother.

Two of the most popular teen films of the 90’s went for “laughs” by featuring a character who masturbated into a family desert (American Pie) and one who unwittingly styled her hair with male ejaculate (There’s Something About Mary).

The blockbuster The Silence of the Lambs (1991) managed to make a psychopathic murderer and cannibal one of the surprise “sex symbols” of the year. A decade later, the sequel (Hannibal) depicted this same monster sedating a victim and slowly removing and cooking portions of his brain and then feeding it back to him.

The average young person will have watched 200,000 violent acts ─including 16,000 murders ─ by the time he or she graduates from high school. Almost two-thirds of the scenes in prime-time television include some reference to sex; 28% of these will put the primary emphasis on sex. And when intercourse takes place, it is four to eight times as likely to occur between unmarried people as between a husband and wife.

Pornography is now a $10 billion dollar business, larger than the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball combined. It is estimated that 60 percent of all web sites are sexual in nature. Now with just a click of a mouse button (often unwittingly), anyone (including children) can have ready access to hard-core sex acts, bestiality, bondage and domination, sadomasochism (including actual torture and mutilation of women for sexual pleasure), scatological acts (defecating and urinating on men or women for sexual pleasure), and child pornography.

I could easily fill page after page with these types of sobering examples and statistics; examples that become even scarier when we consider that there are now virtually thousands of studies proving beyond any shadow of a doubt that this media programming is accomplishing just that: “programming” an entire generation to think and act in ways that are “earthly, sensuous and demonic.” (James 3:15)

What can be done to reverse this trend?

Implicit in every other chapter in this book is the call for the God’s people to repent. We have seen, for example, humanists reinterpret the Constitution and suppress our religious freedoms. But in large part this has happened because “while the enemy came and sowed tares, men slept.” (Matt. 13:25) Similarly, we can watch as the institution of marriage is attacked by unrighteous laws and our culture’s hell-bent desire to remove every barrier to sexual and emotional freedom ─ and yet also know that the enemy’s progress has come as the Church has “sworn for peace” and embraced the culture of divorce rather than the cross. On and on it goes.

With love in my heart for God’s people and zeal for the purity of His house, I want the Holy Spirit to “contend with us” as we look at the enemy in our midst ─ hearts and minds that know more about the flickering shadows of a world at war with God than they do of the “language of heaven.”

(Pt. 3 coming soon…)
******************************************
“The Enemy in Our Midst: Popular Culture and the Battle For Men’s Hearts” will be presented in several parts. Look for the third part soon.
Eric Holmberg is the founder and director of The Apologetics Group, based in Tennessee. He has been a champion for the cause of Christ for thirty years now, and is showing no sign of slowing down. To check out what else he has to offer, check out his website at