No doubt like most Americans, I’m bothered when the national anthem is either sung or played poorly. Case in point of course is Christian Aguilera’s infamous butchering of the lyrics at the most recent Super Bowl. It seems to me that someone used to performing before large crowds, not to mention getting paid as much as she undoubtedly was, should know the song so well that she would sing it flawlessly. When asked about her mistake, she said: “I got so lost in the moment of the song that I lost my place. I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through” ( ). Well, sometimes it’s important that both the spirit and the letter be followed. It’s a matter of respect for an important national symbol. (For more on Aguilera and the anthem, see

I don’t follow Bill O’Reilly, but I ran across a long excerpt from his interview with President Obama on Super Bowl Sunday. After thanking the president for helping ensure the safety of some Fox reporters in Egypt, O’Reilly got nasty, in my opinion. He would seldom let Mr. Obama finish a sentence and then had snide and dismissive comments about most everything our leader said. To his credit, Mr. Obama remained cool and collected and gracious, inviting O’Reilly to the White House Super Bowl party.

Watching the interview, I thought how even if O’Reilly does not respect Mr. Obama personally, the least he could have done was respect the office, the institution of the presidency and let the president finish a sentence without interruption. What has happened in our land when even the Chief Executive is treated with such disdain? We have indeed lost all sense of civility and decorum, a fact I have decried in the Church for some years now.

To watch the interview for yourself, go here:


As if O’Reilly’s disrespect weren’t enough, at least one website believes that “Jesus hates Obama” and tried to run an ad on the Super Bowl, which was rejected by the network. As a Christian minister, I am livid that anyone would co-opt my Lord for any political cause, right or left. (Which means that these days I’m livid most of the time, I guess.) But this ad, which featured a Jesus and an Obama bobblehead in a silent battle, with Obama finally being thrown into water and drowned, presumably by the Jesus doll, crosses the line. The network was right to ban it. It cheapens both faith and political discourse. I can say with certainty that the One who said “Love your enemies, pray for those who despitefully use you” would not sign on to have “Jesus Hates Obama” printed on his chest, as in the video. Again, no respect, either for our Lord or for the president.

God help us.

© 2010 Tom Cheatham