Huffpost Celebrity
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Norman Lear Headshot

Born Again as an American

Posted: Updated:

This is an attempt to make a long story short. My love for and devotion to our country goes back to incidents in my childhood, events in my teens, my service in World War II, so much of my work in television and films, and my involvement since 1980, through People For The American Way, in fighting those who would have us believe that people are good Christians or bad ones depending on their political points of view. Many among those who think that way call themselves Born Again Christians.

I would fight another war, if they let me, to defend that Born Again Christian's constitutional right to express that point of view. But I believe that the view itself hasn't an ounce of constitutional credibility, and I am correct in thinking it totally un-American. Each time this has occurred to me, such is the power of good phrasing, I've thought of myself as having a Born Again American moment.

In 1980, hearing a TV preacher ask his TV congregation to pray for the "removal" of a Supreme Court Justice, my reaction was to drop what I was doing in television and answer the preachers with a 60-second TV spot. The reaction to that spot, like an act of spontaneous combustion, resulted in People For The American Way.

Some years ago I asked Keith Carradine if he thought there might be a song in Born Again American. He did and wrote it for me. I then asked Mark Johnson, the man who created Playing For Change, if he would take a camera crew around the country to photograph Americans of all types, races and ethnicities, singing our song. He did and I think you'll love it.

Should you choose to look at it, know that every bit of each lyric is being sung by someone who was actually living the story they were singing about.