I heard Bill Maher interviewed on Fresh Air today with Terry Gross — he has a movie coming out called Religulous, or something like that. He mentioned a video where Sarah Palin is being prayed over by an African minister named Thomas Muthee. He said Muthee was a “witch doctor” because he mentioned witches in his blessing.
Personally, I have no problem with this. She is a Christian, and Christians have a belief system that is different from non-Christians. It is no surprise to me that she would allow a visiting minister from another country to pray over her. People pray in churches. Why is this shocking?
I was disappointed in Maher. He has his opinions, but whenever I saw him on his shows he seemed pretty sincere in his opinions and he seemed to genuinely want to get to the actual views of the people on his shows, rather than to spin them one way or another. But, by calling Muthee a “witch doctor” he was spinning the truth, which is that he is a Christian minister who believes that witches exist and are evil and that the power of Jesus will counter witchcraft. This is the truth, and to him, I am sure this truth is equally as shocking as calling Muthee a witch doctor. So, why call him a witch doctor? I can only think of two possible explanations: One, he did not understand what was happening in the video, which was that Muthee was praying for protection from witchcraft. Or, two, that he is deliberately calling the guy a witch doctor because, what, he’s black? A brother can’t call anyone a witch without some white guy calling him a witch doctor. Is that it? I expected more from Maher.
Of course, Bill Maher is not the only one who finds this video “shocking.” Others have written about this in absolute horror — you only have to Google “Palin” with “Muthee” to see all kinds of links on this. “This woman could be only one septugenarian’s heartbeat away…” is the soundbite of the day.
Yet, no one is upset that Biden is a Catholic. No one mentions it. The Catholic Church still has practioners of exorcism – Pope Benedict supposedly has been a promoter. Yet, no one is getting on his case. How is that any different from a prayer to protect against witchcraft?
People believe what they believe, and all of us believe something that seems irrational to someone else.