The internet appears to be buzzing with celebrity news from both sides of the Atlantic. One celebrity is a national treasure in his own country. He is revered for his wholesome image, and his cerebral powers, combining humor with intelligence. And the news is that he is getting married. The other celebrity made his name by notoriety. Generations of parents have feared his act. Which of these two celebrities should be the role model for our young people?
The National Treasure is Stephen Fry, arguably one of the most popular and loved figures in Britain.
Now, I will have to preface my further remarks by saying that I actually do like Fry's work. One of my favorite TV programs has got to be QI – a cerebral quiz program, in which a panel of comedians reveal that they have brains as well as a funny bone, and the whole event is chaired by the polymathic Fry. As I live in the United States, I only seem to be able to catch this show on YouTube, but I have remained a fan, despite the occasional digs QI's atheist chairman seems to have to express against Christianity.
Fry is in the news today because he is getting married. The 57-year-old actor and comedian (probably known here in the States for his appearances on Bones, and also frequent interviews with Craig Ferguson on the Late, Late Show) is marrying his 27-year-old homosexual lover, stand-up comedian Elliott Spencer, at a registry office in Norfolk – one of England's most conservative counties. Of course, for those who expect more of conservatives, we must remember that the recent change in UK law permitting Single-Sex Marriage was initiated by a Conservative Prime Minister and Government.
Some “Christian” leaders have argued for a change in Christian policy on Gay Marriage. So-called “evangelicals” have argued that New Testament passages condemning homosexuality were actually condemning the practice of inter-generational sodomy, where there is a considerable age and power difference between the participants. Yet, those who would rejoice in Fry's “marriage” should recognize that, even by their own standards, this is hardly a marriage made in heaven, falling short even of the Gay Christians' yard-stick. For all his talent, Fry's status as a much-loved national figure will lead many young people astray. While homosexuality is definitely not an unforgivable sin, and while we also acknowledge that it is not worse than heterosexual adultery, we are remiss if we do not remind people that homosexuality is one of a list of sins that will prevent the perpetrator of that sin from entering heaven – even if the perpetrator is a “Christian”.
The notorious rocker is Alice Cooper. In his youth, he despised his Christian upbringing, and developed a stage act that was apparently satanic in nature. But in the late 1980s, both he and his wife – both preachers' kids – found salvation. Today's news is that Cooper has been talking about his faith in interviews in the Christian media. Actually, there has been a knowledge among many Christians of Cooper's faith for a very long time. I had certainly heard of this before. I had also heard that he and his wife tended to attend solidly Bible-based conferences, and were part of a good Bible-teaching church. His current act is more of a pastiche, with some early songs omitted and others with slight lyric changes, producing a message which warns about the reality of evil. In the last couple of decades, well-placed cameo roles, such as his appearance in Wayne's World, have consolidated an impression of Cooper as a highly intelligent and well-read man, who is prepared to laugh at himself. His recent articles on the solidity and reality of his faith will be of tremendous encouragement to many, and, God-willing, will have an influence on rock fans currently outside the faith.
So which of these celebrities is the role model? I am pretty sure that Cooper, whose faith I would rather my young people imitate, would deny that he is a role model, rightly pointing out that the correct role model is Jesus.