Oh, Stephen Colbert, how brilliant you are!
Last night the comedian got his audience–a bunch of liberal young adults, I presume–to cheer for the Creed while quite nobly "defending the faith."
As his conservative character, he took on Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's line of argument in the case about a cross displayed as a war memorial in a national park. In doing so he showed how tearing down a small piece of the wall between church and state will destroy religion–exactly the point made in this U.S. Catholic essay (survey is now inactive-results will appear in December issue).
Here's the key part of "The Word," symbol-minded (better heard than read):
"The cross represents everybody–Christians and people who are going to hell. And since it represents everybody, shouldn't we use it to symbolize every religion. Or symbolize no religion. Atheists can have crosses too!
"If Scalia is right, that means that the Cross no longer signifies the only son of God…eternally begotten by the Father…" From there he launches into a recitation of the Creed!
"Scalia knows that it's just two pieces of wood nailed at a 90-degree angle," Colbert says of the Catholic justice.
Now if only we could get Stephen Colbert to come talk more about being a Catholic comedian with us! Bryan and I were just in New York interviewing some scholars (including Karen Armstrong!), and we tried to get a few minutes with him, to no avail. But don't worry Catholic Colbert fans, we won't give up!