Is it in the best traditions of journalism to criticize a book you’ve never read? Some reporters say, “Sure!” The anchor in question is Lauren Green, who, aside from holding a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University, also moonlights as Mike Huckabee’s keyboarding buddy (fun!). Green hosted religious scholar Reza Aslan on her online show Friday to discuss his latest work Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Almost immediately, she questioned Aslan’s ability to write about Jesus because he is Muslim. Watch the interview below:
Green: “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”
Aslan: “Well, to be clear, 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.”
And yet, that wasn’t enough for Green:
Green: “It still begs the question though, why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?”
Aslan: “Because it’s my job as an academic. I am a professor of religion, including the New Testament. That’s what I do for a living, actually.”
Finally Green accuses Aslan of failing to mention his religion while promoting his book. His reply?
“Ma’am, the second page of my book says I’m a Muslim. Every single interview I have ever done or TV or in print says I’m a Muslim.”
And that, folks, is why one must read a book in order to criticize it. That concludes our lesson on How To Be a Competent Human Being 101. In the meantime, do your homework.