In an interview segment that has to be seen to be believed, Lauren Green, host of Fox News’ faith-oriented program “Spirited Debate,” demanded to know how Iranian-American author Reza Aslan — who is Muslim — could have written his book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth from an unbiased perspective. The interview, which took place on Friday, prompted BuzzFeed political writer Andrew Kaczynski to ask “Is this the most embarrassing interview Fox News has ever done?”
Appearing to mistake Christianity and Islam for rival baseball teams rather than intertwined and connected faiths, Green questioned Aslan’s motives for writing a book about “the founder of Christianity.”
“Well, to be clear,” Aslan replied, “I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.”
He went on to patiently explain to Green that his book is written from the perspective of a historian, not that of an advocate for Islam. But even as he tried to establish to her that his book is not a hit piece against some kind of rival religious figure, Green didn’t appear to be listening, but rather scanning her iPad for more antagonistic questions to fire at the historian.
“There’s another chat coming,” she said, “and I wanted to get this on before we end this interview. Taylor King said, ‘So your book is written with clear bias and you’re trying to say it’s academic? That’s like having a Democrat write a book about why Reagan wasn’t a good Republican. It just doesn’t work.’ What do you say to that?”
“Well, it would be like a Democrat with a Ph.D. in Reagan who has been studying his life and history for two decades, writing a book about Reagan,” Aslan replied.
“But then why would a Democrat want to promote Democracy by writing about a Republican?” Green asked.
Aslan, showing great forbearance, replied that as a scholar who writes about religions, he writes about Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other faiths.
On Twitter, conservatives are demanding to know why Aslan didn’t write about Mohammed, the Islamic prophet. “C’mon man if you wrote a book critical of Mohamed or presenting him differently you could get killed,” tweeted one.
The flap began several days ago when FoxNews.com published an opinion piece incorrectly asserting that Aslan’s book is critical of Jesus Christ, but never divulges that Aslan is of the Islamic faith. In fact, Zealot says on its second page that Aslan is Muslim.
Watch the video, embedded below via YouTube: