CBS has confirmed that the individual who is going to fill David Letterman’s shoes as the new host of “Late Night” is none other than Stephen Colbert.
Interestingly, he will not be putting on the character that television audiences from his Comedy Central show have come to know and love, but rather he will apparently just be himself.
Colbert has had some moments, during interviews, speeches, and a series of videos that appeared on Slate, in which he has stepped out from behind the quirky conservative persona he has carefully crafted.
Far from being the blustery caricature that has been cultivated over the years, the real Stephen Colbert is number 11 of 11 children, a devout Catholic Christian who along with his wife and three children lives in a quiet New Jersey suburb.
He speaks glowingly about his religion and has even been known to weave elements of his faith into his cable TV show. During a 2006 episode of the “Colbert Report,” he recited the Nicene Creed, which is a summary of Christian beliefs that is part of the Sunday liturgy in Catholic churches as well as in numerous other Christian denominations.
Back in 2007, Colbert told NPR that he had previously served as an instructor of Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) catechism, where for about two years he taught religious education to parish children. He also talked about how he would respond to his children when the subject of “who God is” would arise.
“I think the answer that ‘God is love’ is pretty good for a child, because children understand love and, you know, I don’t want to get too much more complex with that with a second-grader,” Colbert said.
Theological wisdom seemed to flow when he was once asked by his own son to explain “hell.” In giving his answer, Colbert included the following question: “If God is love, then hell is the absence of God’s love . . . Can you imagine how great it is to be loved fully, to be loved totally, to be loved . . . beyond your ability to imagine it?”
“And imagine if you knew that that was a possibility — and then that was taken from you and know that you would never be loved,” Colbert elaborated, and added, “Well, that’s hell — to be alone and know what you’ve lost.”
“And that was the best I could do,” Colbert said.
In 2012 he told The New York Times about a pivotal and painful event that had occurred in his life. In 1974 Colbert lost his father and the two brothers closest in age to him in a fatal plane crash.
The then-10-year-old said that his mother was instrumental in keeping him from becoming bitter over the tragedy, and more importantly, she gave him a spiritual understanding of the meaning of suffering.
“She taught me to be grateful for my life regardless of what that entailed, and that’s directly related to the image of Christ on the cross and the example of sacrifice that he gave us. What she taught me is that the deliverance God offers you from pain is not no pain — it’s that the pain is actually a gift. What’s the option? God doesn’t really give you another choice,” Colbert shared.
When in June of 2013 Colbert’s mother passed away at the age of 92, he gave a touching tribute to her on his show, describing his mother as someone who “knew more than her share of tragedy, losing her brother and her husband and three of her sons.”
The “Colbert Report” host made it a point to speak to his audience about his mother’s faith, saying, “But her love for her family and her faith in God somehow gave her the strength not only to go on but to love life without bitterness and instill in all of us a gratitude for every day we have together.”
He then spoke openly about his mother’s favorite prayer, saying, “In her last days, my mother occasionally became confused, and to try to ground her we asked simple questions, like what’s your favorite color, what’s your favorite song. She couldn’t answer these. But when asked what her favorite prayer was, she immediately recited A Child’s Prayer, in German, that she used to say to my eldest brothers and sisters at bedtime when they were living in Munich in the late 1940s. Her favorite memory of prayer was a young mother tucking in her children.”
CBS is looking for some supernatural late-night ratings. If Colbert actually brings some faith to his late-night comedy, we just may see a very different kind of TV miracle.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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