Actress Melissa Joan Hart must have spent a little too much time on the set of God’s Not Dead 2: She is now facing backlash for telling her young son that only people who believe in Jesus are “good.”
She made the comment during an episode of the podcast “Journeys of Faith with Paula Faris.” The relevant portion begins around the 22:45 mark.
She later added that she wasn’t sure if saying that to her son was the right thing to do, though she didn’t elaborate on the resolution of that question. Now, because the story involves her son making friends with a Jewish neighbor, some critics online are saying the comment was anti-Semitic.
… she said, sometimes “it’s not easy” being Christian.
Hart, 42, who was raised Catholic and is now Presbyterian, spoke of one such example.
Years ago, when her son was transitioning from a Christian preschool to a traditional school, Hart was nervous. At his old school, she knew everyone. She told her then 6-year-old son:
“We don’t know if these people are good people. We don’t know if they believe in Jesus… and he really took the Jesus part to heart.”
I’ve been that Jewish kid who was asked that very question by a Christian classmate. I remember very clearly my mother arguing with that child’s mother on the phone and ultimately being told that I shouldn’t play with that girl anymore.
Here’s what I wish parents like Hart knew: This form of “othering” your child’s classmates isn’t going to draw them nearer to your faith. In my case, it made me fearful of Christians for years. Not everyone who wore a cross around their neck was really out to get me, but it made it harder for me to tell the difference between them and the Christian kids who were genuinely interested in attending a Hanukkah party and learning how to play dreidel.
For what it’s worth, according to Hart’s own theology, there are no “good people.” And it goes without saying that being a Christian doesn’t automatically make you more moral than everybody else. There are nice Christians and there are toxic Christians. Claiming to be one doesn’t give other people any indication which one you are; your actions will have to take care of that.
(Screenshot via YouTube)