2016 Celebrity Deaths & God



Pop star George Michael wrote this in 2005: “As a gay Englishman, should I be more afraid of God? I’ve never had a problem with God, you see. The God that Americans are presented with day after day would, I think, have a few problems with me….”

Every death is a tragedy. Every one of them a great loss. But it really seems to hit home when it’s someone famous, someone you grew up with on TV or the movies, heard on the radio or watched in a sport. Being a Christian pastor, I’m always curious as to what people thought about God. Here are some quotes from the famous before they passed away in 2016.

Carrie Fisher said, “I love the idea of God, but it’s not stylistically in keeping with the way I function. I would describe myself as an enthusiastic agnostic who would be happy to be shown that there is a God.”

Astronaut John Glenn:

“Looking at the Earth from this vantage point, looking at this kind of creation and to not believe in God, to me, is impossible. To see (Earth) laid out like that only strengthens my beliefs.”

Country music star Merle Haggard said: “I believe in the heavenly Father, and if he is not there, then there is somebody disguising himself and answering my prayers. I am a deeply religious man, and I believe that if you give it half a shot, that he will help you. And he certainly has me.”

Prince was a Jehovah’s Witness. Muhammad Ali, a Muslim. Fidel Castro, an atheist.

Actress Patty Duke became an ordained minister online in the Universal Life Church. She Tweeted this to President Obama: “[A]s an ordained minister, I want to marry all the gay couples in our beloved country.”

Along with her husband Ronald, Nancy Reagan was a Presbyterian but wrote this in her memoir: “I have been criticized and ridiculed for turning to astrology, but after a while, I reached the point where I didn’t care.”

Lastly, the longest serving Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that there is nothing wrong with traditional Christianity in a speech as reported by Penny Brown Roberts: “For the Son of God to be born of a virgin? I mean, really. To believe that he rose from the dead and bodily ascended into heaven? How utterly ridiculous. To believe in miracles? Or that those who obey God will rise from the dead and those who do not will burn in hell?

“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and he has not been disappointed.

“If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.”

I make no judgment on each of these celebrities’ final destiny, that’s God’s job. And will not the Judge of all the earth do right?

But what about you? What will happen on the day you die? Jesus himself said, “I am the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me.” It’s a very narrow road. Will you walk it?

Happy 2017 A.D., Anno Domini, The Year of Our Lord.

(From my weekly Pastor’s P.O.V. article in the Johnson City Record Courier)

Photo credits: George Michael:; Princess Leia:; celebrity collage:

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