The Lemon Giveth, and The Lemon Taketh Away. After a reasonably fair and interesting debate with Terry Crews over the nature of Black Lives Matter, Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo returned to form with this fatuous exchange about the founders and their place in American culture on Monday’s CNN broadcast. In talking about Mount Rushmore in particular, both Lemon and Cuomo accuse Donald Trump and his supporters as “deifying” the founders of the country and acting as if they were perfect human beings, a straw-man argument that literally no one either believes or has offered.
Then, as Julio Rosas notes, Lemon observed that no one’s perfect — not even Jesus Christ, whom Lemon says “admittedly was not perfect” while in the flesh. That’d be news to a couple of billion Christians around the world:
LEMON: Right. But it’s not just the Trumpers, as you say. Right? It’s not just the Trump apologists and the Trump supporters, it’s very well-meaning liberals as well who are feeling these things. And if you are having those feelings then maybe that means that you have a conscience about it. And that’s actually the right feeling to have and you should be engaged in a discussion.
But here’s the thing, Jesus Christ, if you believe — if that’s what you believe in, Jesus Christ, admittedly was not perfect when he was here on this earth. So why are we defying the fathers of this country? Many of whom owned slaves and, in the Constitution, the original one, they didn’t want — they put slavery in there, that slavery should be abolished because it was the way the king wanted. And then the Congress said, no way. And so they had to come up with an alternative about three-fifths of a man and on and on and on.
CUOMO: Well, they knew, they knew that they had an inconsistency with the logic.
LEMON: There you go. All men are not perfect.
CUOMO: All men are created equal, except these men.
LEMON: They’re not perfect. We have to stop deifying them and saying, yes, they did some great things and they created a Constitution. And a, you know, a blueprint for us that it wasn’t perfect at the time, and that’s good. But they weren’t perfect either. And so, as Americans, all of us should come together and have these conversations and get together and stop letting someone divide us. No one is perfect. Nothing is perfect not even the founding fathers.
Ahem. I can most assuredly state with conviction that those who “believe” in Christianity also believe that Jesus was indeed perfect — even here on Earth. In fact, that was the entire point of His sacrifice; He had to be perfect to provide salvation for the world. Furthermore, believers in Trinitarian Christianity recognize Jesus as having two natures, both divine and human, and perfected in both. His mission was to call each of us to perfection in the Lord and served as an example of what that would look like, here and in the next world.
How do two prime-time hosts on a major cable-news network not know that basic fact about Christianity? If they don’t, then what credibility do they have on anything else?
As for the rest of this discussion, it’s nearly as bad. No one erects statues and monuments as an act of deification (which also would contradict Christianity, and Judaism and Islam too for that matter). They do it as a memorial to a significant contribution to the country or community. That is precisely the problem with Confederate monuments, because those honor treason and rebellion, whereas those honoring the founders remind us of their contribution to liberty, no matter how imperfect it was. No one argues that men like Washington or Jefferson are perfect just because they support leaving their monuments in place. They are arguing that their massive contributions to America must be honored, even while their contradictions to those ideals should be discussed and remembered.
If the standard for statues and monuments is perfection, then we’re basically back to complete nihilism. Even Martin Luther King couldn’t meet that standard; should we therefore tear his statue down too? Does it “deify” King to leave it standing? This is an inane take on a massively stupid iconoclastic impulse. If putting forth that argument is “divisive,” it’s only because it divides the radical nihilists from everyone else of reason. The latter does not include those ignorant enough to declare that believers in Jesus Christ think He was “admittedly” flawed.