Hollywood and the World at Large Mourn the Loss of Norm Macdonald

Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…”

This is a line from Joni Mitchell’s hit song “Big Yellow Taxi,” which was written back in 1970.

Mitchell’s words perfectly capture the feelings that a lot of folks are having right now in trying to deal with the passing of Norm Macdonald – Hollywood actor, writer, and most notably, stand-up comic extraordinaire.

Many of his peers are remembering him as the funniest man they’d ever known.

A natural stand-up talent, he followed the universally relatable comedic tradition of observational humor, which has been practiced by so many iconic figures of the comedy world, including the greats Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and Jerry Seinfeld.

His career arc took him in a rather novel direction that combined pivotal aspects of life with deadpan minimalism.

He managed to keep his stoic nine-year battle with cancer secret from the public, but on at least one occasion he was able to memorialize his angst in a joke that deals with the whole notion of a person somehow losing the battle with the disease.

“I’m pretty sure, I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure if you die, the cancer dies at the same time. That’s not a loss, that’s a draw,” Norm said.

Developing his stand-up brand in Ottawa, Canada, he made a name for himself across his native land.

After appearing on the television series “Star Search,” he landed a job as a writer for Roseanne Barr’s smash TV series “Roseanne,” which started its run in the 1990’s and is still going strong in syndication.

Speaking of things that are still going, Macdonald was blessed with a stint on Saturday Night Live (SNL), where for a total of five seasons he served as part of the SNL cast.

He ultimately secured the coveted anchor throne on the “Weekend Update” segment of SNL, where he got to reign for three and a half seasons.

He guested on other TV shows, “The Drew Carey Show” and “NewsRadio” being a couple of them.

He appeared in movies too, and became a regular on the talk show circuit with hosts the likes of David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Howard Stern.

The time-honored joke structure was deftly modified by Norm and his unique form of comedy. He would stretch the set-up section of a joke to the point of audience impatience and would then abruptly spew out a minimalist punch line.

Comics many times serve as the proverbial canaries in the coal mine, sending out a warning to society that it better start paying attention to the critical issues that hover around.

Norm embraced the role. He was a truth teller and wasn’t timid about aiming his humor crossbow at some pretty powerful targets.

On one such occasion his venture into humor, rooted in truth, actually cost him his job.

An NBC executive had reportedly fired him because of a decline in the show’s ratings. But he and others claimed that the dismissal was due to some O. J. Simpson jokes that he had let loose with in the “Weekend Update” segment.

After his termination from the show, he returned to SNL as a host.

Sporting his trademark grin, he used his opening monologue to slam the network for firing him, quipping that the only reason he was asked to come back and host was because the show had “gotten really bad” since his departure.

He was the final stand-up comic to appear on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Letterman had told a specific joke during a 1970s appearance on a Canadian talk show. In the studio audience was a 13-year-old comedy fan, Norm himself.

He loved Letterman’s joke and never forgot it. In tribute, he performed the bit during the last stand-up act of the final Letterman show.

Ending the set with tears rolling down his cheeks, he told Letterman that he loved him.

Interestingly, he exhibited an intellectual depth that is not typically associated with modern day comics – a Christian perspective with a desire to defend it.

A few years ago he used his Twitter account to question the value of the Enlightenment, bringing a predicable reaction from the liberals, who were upset at the prospect that Norm was Christian friendly.

He penned a post, which he later deleted.

“The Enlightenment turned us away from truth and toward a darkling weakening horizon, sad and gray to see. The afterglow of Christianity is near gone now, and a Stygian silence lurks in wait,” Norm wrote.

He was referring to the loss of artistic reverence for the sacred and a move toward human focused post-modernism, which paved the way for a variety of 19th-century movements, most unfortunately, communism.

Once while serving as one of the judges for the NBC reality show “Last Comic Standing,” he had to deal with a contestant who had mocked the Christian faith.

While other judges characterized the contestant’s jokes as “brave,” Norm stated, “I don’t think the Bible jokes are brave at all.”

He went on to tell the audience, “If you think you’re gonna take on an entire religion, you should maybe know what you’re talking about.”

He was later asked why the contestant’s material had bothered him.

“Oh, just the smugness. There are a lot more hack ‘smart’ comedians nowadays and atheist comedians. It’s so dull. To be talking about being an atheist living in West Hollywood is not the bravest stance to take,” he said.

He put out the following tweet in 2017: “Scripture. Faith. Grace. Christ, Glory of God. Smart man says nothing is a miracle. I say everything is.”

C.S. Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”

Catch your act there, buddy.

Travis Tritt’s Quarter Notes

Travis Tritt has a brand to which very few musical artists can lay claim.

He’s one of the original country music singer-songwriters to combine country rock with urban soul.

For decades the double Grammy winner has been topping the charts, churning out hits that include “Country Club,” “Anymore,” “Can I Trust You With My Heart,” “Foolish Pride,” and “Best of Intentions.”

But his signature song, “Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares),” paints a bigger picture, one that speaks volumes about a man who values dignity over concession and principle over popularity.

Tritt’s musical talents were nurtured in his youth. He grew up listening to the Sunday school choir at his church and eventually joined the church band, performing at other nearby houses of worship.

Much like the lyrics in his songs, his verbal communication is simple and straightforward.

He recently shared his perspective on some of the current vaccination policies that are being implemented within the entertainment industry and in certain municipalities.

“In light of recently announced policies and mandates from some entertainment companies, promoters, and local municipalities which would discriminate against specific concert attendees who are not vaccinated, I feel compelled to make a statement,” Tritt said in a press release provided to the media.

Although not specifically singled out by Tritt, the largest concert promoters in the country recently announced some unprecedented medical mandate requirements for concert attendees.

Live Nation has placed conditions on those who wish to attend concerts. Beginning Oct.1, only those who are fully vaccinated, or those who are able to produce a negative test prior to an event, will be admitted.

And for all concertgoers and employees, AEG Presents is calling for full vaccinations, with no testing options, beginning Oct. 4.

Tritt is currently in the midst of a tour called the Brooks & Dunn Reboot Tour, which runs through Oct. 9 and is being promoted by Live Nation.

In his press release, Tritt chose to focus on the rights of individuals in making their own medical decisions.

“I have always been a huge defender of basic human rights and liberty for all. No government, employer, or private entity should ever be allowed to infringe on those rights and liberties,” he explained.

In response to the proliferation of inoculation mandates, he views unvaccinated persons as being discriminated against by the policies.

Tritt is fully supporting “anyone who is willing to publicly stand against discrimination and the squelching of any specific freedoms and basic human rights around the world.”

He concluded his statement with the following quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Although some fans may not be happy with the ideas that Tritt has expressed, this musical artist is no stranger to controversy.

On the night of the 2020 election, he blasted Fox News for the network’s early call of voting results in the state of Arizona prior to officials having tabulated all of the votes.

“No matter what the final results are tonight, one thing is extremely clear. @FoxNews can no longer claim to be the fair and balanced network they once were. There are a lot of biased hacks there now and a ton of folks are noticing. It’s now @newsmax for me for election results,” he tweeted.

Last May Tritt released his first studio album since 2007, titled “Set in Stone.”

In his recent single from the album, “Ghost Town Nation,” he sings about how “headlines are preaching impending doom.”

Then he prescribes a countrified remedy, with the following positive lyrics:

“Making the best of a bad situation

Getting by just fine in a ghost town nation.”

In a revealing recent appearance on the Jesus Calling podcast, Tritt opened up about his deeply held religious beliefs.

“My mother and sister and I were in church every single time the doors were open. … I grew up with the understanding of what God meant to my family’s life, to my life. We had Bible study on a regular basis. It was a great place to build the foundation for the rest of your life,” Tritt said.

He also noted in the podcast that when difficult situations arise (which incidentally are often the subject of his song lyrics), answers may be best received when we’re on our knees.

“The power of prayer is extremely strong. I believe in it 100 percent. I know what it’s capable of. I know what God’s capable of. And if we bring those things to Him in prayer, He will not leave us and He will not forsake us,” Tritt shared.

The Queen of Soul Credits the King of Kings in New Biopic

Aretha Franklin is recognized by multiple generations as the “Queen of Soul.”

Now there’s a biopic that immortalizes her title.

The newly released film “Respect” follows in the cinematic footsteps of other recent biopics that have been shining the spotlight on legendary Hollywood figures, including “Ray” (Ray Charles), “Rocket Man” (Elton John), and “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Queen’s Freddie Mercury).

Moving from the young musical prodigy who grew up in Detroit to the seasoned soul singer who returns to her religious roots, the film beautifully conveys Aretha’s life and artistry.

Director Liesl Tommy explains that the film begins “with the church and ends with the church.”

The opening scene features a venue in Detroit in which Aretha first performs as a choir member. It is the same Baptist church where her father, C.L. Franklin, is recognized in his own right as a renowned pastor.

Much like his church, the doors of Pastor Franklin’s home are open. He is host to singers that include the legendary figures Dinah Washington and Sam Cooke. Young Aretha simply knows them as Aunt Dinah and Uncle Sam.

The African-American church where Aretha’s voice first takes to the heavens holds a unique place in American religious history. It is a holy place that provided sanctuary to an oppressed people as they went from slavery to freedom, and then from segregation to civil rights.

The gathering of a faith-filled people, who sought to express love to their Creator and to one another, produced a new genre of music, the joyous gospel style that ultimately made its way around the globe.

The gospel tradition also generated an amazing number of soul stars, who began their singing careers praising God in African-American churches. The church celebrity roster included Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Dennis Edwards, Lou Rawls, Diana Ross, Curtis Mayfield, Donna Summer, Little Richard, John Legend, Usher, Otis Redding (who actually penned the title song “Respect”), and the Academy Award winning actress and Grammy winning singer (who was hand-picked by Aretha to portray her) Jennifer Hudson.

In the final years of her life, Aretha was a mentor to a young Hudson. Providentially, the two shared the same debut performance venue, both having begun their musical experiences in the church.

“Our biggest base and foundation as a people has been the church,” Hudson tells Refinery29.

“It’s every bit of my life,” she says. “It’s every bit of what has brought me through everything that I’ve been through. … It was so amazing to start in the church and end in the church.”

“It shows that that’s where the power lies, within those roots,” Hudson explains.

With respect to Aretha, Hudson notes, “It wasn’t until she trusted the gift that God instilled in her that we found our Queen of Soul. And it wasn’t until when she went back to her roots, that she gained her greatest success. It lies within us, you know?”

“Respect” was released theatrically this past weekend.

The studio had originally planned a three-phase release for the biopic, with a limited number of screens for Christmas of 2020 to be followed by an increase in screens on January 8, 2021, and a wide release a week later.

Like so many other Hollywood projects, plans for the debut had to be changed due to the pandemic. The film was re-scheduled to a single release date of January 15, 2021, but was delayed once again to August of 2021.

Some themes and complexities of Aretha’s life are explored in the film, including her support of the civil rights movement and of her family friend, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the difficulties experienced with her first two managers, i.e., her father (played by Forest Whitaker) and her first husband Ted White (played by Marlon Wayans).

Wayans understands how Aretha was able to overcome her problems.

“God gets you through,” Wayans tells The Christian Post. “There is nothing that you can go through that you cannot get through. If you have God on your heart and you’re in His hands, just know that He’s protecting you.”

Hudson remembers that Aretha influenced others to pray and to continue “holding on to their faith and trusting God through it all.”

Like her mentor, Hudson now encourages those around her to turn to prayer.

“As they say, if He’ll bring you to it, He’ll bring you through it because that’s what I do. So I would always encourage others to do the same for sure,” she says.

The film shows a redemptive turning point for Aretha, when she shocks her record label by deciding to record a live gospel album.

Aretha’s decision invokes a scene in the film that has her mother, Barbara Siggers Franklin, telling her daughter, “Your daddy doesn’t own your voice, God does.”

Hudson acknowledges that both she and Aretha do not have ownership of their talents.

“I learned at a very early age, growing up singing in church, that it’s beyond you, and who you are. I feel as though as long as I hold on to that, it keeps you grounded in a way,” she explains.

Hudson, like her mentor now from above, sees her singing ability as coming, not from herself, but from “a higher power.”

Clint Eastwood: Still the Leading Man

The legendary Clint Eastwood is still producing, directing, and starring in films at the thriving age of 91.

His latest movie is set to be released in mid-September, and a concurrent release is headed to HBO Max.

The Warner Bros. movie, titled “Cry Macho,” is an adaptation of the 1975 novel of the same name.

Eastwood portrays former rodeo star and horse breeder Mike Milo, who takes a job from ex-boss Howard Polk, played by actor-country music singer Dwight Yoakam.

Mike’s job is to bring Howard’s young son Rafo safely home from Mexico and shield him from his alcohol addicted mother.

The improbable duo of Mike and Rafo face a challenging journey through which Mike experiences a transformation that sets him on a course toward redemption.

Interestingly, Eastwood was able to snag the project after a list of big-name actors, who had been attached to the project as leads, were unable to make a go of it, including Burt Lancaster, Roy Scheider, Pierce Brosnan, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The recently released official trailer features the Hollywood icon portraying an appropriately aged character that is perfectly suited to Eastwood’s classic style and inimitable brand.

Through the eyes of the heart, viewers of the film accompany Eastwood’s character on a journey of exploration into some of life’s intensely introspective issues: human relationships, masculinity, and inner conflict.

When a screenwriter someday pens the script for an Eastwood bio, the writer will find that his life is much like the films he has graced, filled with uniquely captivating themes.

Eastwood is a legend among legends. He possesses the kind of star quality that is associated with actors of the Golden Age of Cinema. Yet he continues to retain an air of approachability, along with the much-admired quality of a loyal truth-telling friend.

He has an amazing body of work, which spans more than six decades and credentials him in the multiple categories of acting, directing, and producing. Accolades include four Academy Awards and four Golden Globes.

His career began with a role in a 1955 sequel to the cult monster movie “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” The debut film carries the title “Revenge of the Creature.”

He achieved a high degree of fame in 1958, when he starred in the CBS hour-long western series “Rawhide,” which ran for eight seasons.

In the mid-1960s, fame made its leap to the international level. He secured the lead role as the “Man with No Name” in a series of movies made by Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone. The films garnered the enduring nickname of “Spaghetti Westerns.”

It would be his role as discontented police officer Harry Callahan, a.k.a., Dirty Harry, that would make Eastwood a genuine Hollywood superstar and unmitigated cultural icon.

The Dirty Harry movies became a successful franchise with five hit films in the 1970s and 1980s.

As an artist, Eastwood seems to have followed the advice of Dirty Harry himself from the 1973 film “Magnum Force.”

“A man has to know his limitations,” Callahan says.

In life, if you are aware of your limitations, you tend to capitalize on your strengths. This is Eastwood at his best.

Throughout his career, he appears to have applied this adage to perfection. I would sum up this methodology, relative to his career, in one word – minimalism.

It is an understated approach to the art of acting, which frequently involves another rare attribute, that of humility.

Eastwood illustrated the minimalism approach in his decision to forego involvement in the “James Bond” franchise. After longtime “Bond” actor Sean Connery announced that he would no longer play the lead, Eastwood was offered the starring role, an opportunity that most actors would have found extremely difficult, if not impossible, to turn down.

However, he felt strongly about the necessity for the “Bond” character to be portrayed by a British actor. He ended up passing on the role.

As a fellow musician, I have the sense that across his career Eastwood’s musical proficiency has helped to draw him into the minimalism realm, where the apparent limitations of space and silence actually assist in magnifying the surrounding notes, words, and/or visuals.

It turns out that Eastwood was originally going to pursue a career in music and is a longtime aficionado of jazz and country and western music. His love of jazz appears to have been passed on to his son Kyle, who is a talented jazz bassist and composer in his own right.

Eastwood composed the film scores for a host of his movies, including “Mystic River,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Flags of Our Fathers,” “Changeling,” and “Hereafter.” He wrote original piano compositions for “In the Line of Fire” as well as the song heard over the credits of “Gran Torino,” which features the actor singing.

In his honor, the scoring stage at Warner Bros. Studios was renamed the “Eastwood Scoring Stage.”

Many actors talk the talk of politics, but Eastwood dares to enter the arena. He made the decision to run for Mayor of California’s Carmel-by-the-Sea, a city with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats.

His campaign staff did a measure of the city, and it turned out to be a 50/50 split along party lines.

“I was a Republican, but people never thought about their parties except at the national level,” Eastwood told the Wall Street Journal.

His campaign strategy was simple and direct, much like the movie characters he portrays.

“I drank a lot of tea and chatted with people,” he said. “I told people ‘I’ll fix this, and I’ll fix that.’”

He ended up the victor in the contest, with 2,166 votes to 799 votes, and served a single two-year term, choosing not to seek re-election.

With words reminiscent of his iconic alter-ego Dirty Harry, Eastwood shed some light on his decision not to run again:

“You can’t have the same old people in office all the time.”

Patricia Heaton’s Soul Survivor Tips

Patricia Heaton is best known for her iconic character Debra Barone in “Everybody Loves Raymond,” the enormously popular TV sitcom that ran for nine seasons and, via its widespread syndication, has become one of the most watched television series in the world.

Unlike so many other celebrities who make it big on the little screen, Heaton managed to strike ratings gold for a second time with the hit television series “The Middle,” in which she plays the lovably quirky wife and mother Frances “Frankie” Heck.

She currently has three shiny Emmy Awards on her trophy shelf, one of which is a surprising daytime Emmy for hosting a cooking series on the Food Network, aptly titled “Patricia Heaton Parties.”

Branching out from television, Heaton has taken on big screen projects as well, which include roles in “Memoirs of an Invisible Man,” “Beethoven,” “The New Age,” and “Space Jam.”

Additionally, she is a World Vision ambassador and was also one of the producers of the film, “Amazing Grace,” a 2006 drama about William Wilberforce, who dedicated his life to the abolition of slavery in 18th-century Britain.

While Heaton has experienced continued success within the entertainment business, she has nevertheless not shied away from expressing her viewpoints. She has even been willing to go against the grain on multiple occasions.

In the wokest of woke worlds, this makes her truly unique. It is especially true when it comes to her willingness to share her deeply held religious beliefs.

Heaton recently used her Instagram account to relay a touching story via video. The caption attached to the footage reads: “[There is] A lot to celebrate this month,” and she included the hashtag reference “#3years.”

While finishing a 3.5 mile hike in the hills surrounding Lake Hollywood, she tells (in a video “selfie”) of celebrating “three years of freedom from alcohol.”

Like others who have fought the addiction battle and lived to tell the tale, Heaton extends a helping hand to those dealing with similar issues.

“Message me if you are thinking about doing that, and if you are doing that now, and you need some encouragement or anything at all,” Heaton implores.

Sounds like a celebrity who really is a friend to her fans.

There is another issue that is dear to her heart, one that is not easy to champion when you live and work in Hollywood: The protection of the unborn.

Heaton is the honorary chair of Feminists for Life, a group that supports pro-life causes from a feminist perspective.

She recently posted a statement on her Twitter account that underscores her belief in the sanctity of life.

“I don’t understand why pro-life people want to know if they are ‘welcome’ to join the democrat party,” she writes, adding, “Why would any civilized person want to support a barbaric platform that champions abortion for any reason through all nine months funded by taxpayers?”

Her values appear to have been shaped by her faith upbringing, having been raised as a devout Catholic Christian. Her sister Sharon is a Dominican nun.

In 2011 Heaton revealed details about her family’s faith in an article that she wrote for Guideposts.

“We went to church as a family every Sunday.” Heaton writes. “We said grace before meals and read stories from our collection of books on the lives of the saints. God was in everything that we did and we soaked it in.”

She describes the impact of losing her mother when she was just 12 years of age, when her mother tragically suffered a brain aneurysm. As is often the case when people have to deal with enormous challenges, faith not only helps to get us through, it strengthens our innermost being in the process.

“Losing her was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through, but at the same time it cemented my belief in everything I’d been taught,” Heaton explains. “Especially that life is a journey, and it’s short, so we should live for God and do the best we can.”

The actress reminisces about a portion of her life, during which she was still struggling with her career. She went on a church mission trip to a Mexican orphanage, where she worked with other volunteers to directly assist the needy. Being part of the loving acts of charity moved her deeply.

After she returned home, she knelt down and prayed aloud. While in prayer, she explains how she experienced a realization of the real meaning of transcendent fulfillment.

“As I spoke it hit me that in all my years of praying and going to church, this was the first time that I had relinquished complete control of my life to God,” she writes.

As searchers before her, as well as those who are to come, Heaton left the faith of her childhood for a while and went off looking for other kinds of Christian worship. But her journey would lead her back home.She describes her return to the place where she first got her start with superlative phrases, “…a great joy” and “…a beautiful thing.”

Heaton once posted details on her Twitter account of an otherworldly encounter with God.

“Spent Mass internally grumbling about lame sermon; received Eucharist, knelt down, burst into tears. #NoOneExpectstheHolySpirit,” Heaton shares.

In 2019, in an appearance on the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” she took the opportunity to share aspects of her faith.

From Heaton’s perspective, we all have a purpose for our lives, and it has little to do with self.

“…there’s only one thing that can be the center of your life and that’s your faith. And I think I wasn’t doing that. And I think God was withholding everything until … He made sure that He was the center of my life and not the career,” Heaton says.

In January of 2021, when a whole lot of people of faith were feeling a sense of disorientation and despondency, Heaton posted words that were comforting then, and still apply all these months later.

“If you’re a common sense person, you probably don’t feel you have a home in this world right now,” she wrote.

Then she was quick to note, “If you’re a Christian, you know you were never meant to.”

Superman Gives Captain America an American History Lesson

Dean Cain gained a whole lot of fame when he starred in the hit 1990s television series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”

Cain played the dual role of the understated Clark Kent and his alter-ego Superman, with actress Teri Hatcher co-starring as Lois Lane.

At the height of its popularity, “Lois and Clark” brought in roughly 15 million viewers per show. Its influence spawned a series of novels, trading cards, and a comic book, which all worked to solidify Cain’s brand as a major player in the “Superman” legacy.

Not only does Cain have the looks to take on the Man of Steel role, he’s got the athletic cred under his belt to make the media magic believable.

While attending high school in Santa Monica, California, the-then teenage Cain played on the same baseball team as future fellow actors Charlie Sheen, Rob Lowe, and Lowe’s brother Chad.

Moving on from high school, Cain attended the prestigious Princeton University, where he became a standout record-breaking free safety on the Princeton Tigers football team.

After graduating from the Ivy League, Cain signed with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills as a free agent. An unfortunate knee injury during training camp put a halt to his football career.

Pro football’s loss was Hollywood’s gain.

Cain recently became the subject of a Twitter trend, due to some statements that he made about a new Captain America comic book series.

The actor had expressed his displeasure with Marvel’s new comic book series, “The United States of Captain America,” which features a different version of Steve Rogers than fans would expect.

The new sub-patriotic comic book character states that the American Dream is really “…two dreams. And one lie,” adding that for some, it “isn’t real.”

Cain has a sense that the change of direction for the title character is anti-American in nature and appears to be shoehorned into the content of the comic book.

Quoted in the Hollywood Reporter Cain says, “I love the concept of Captain America, but I am so tired of this wokeness and anti-Americanism.”

“In my opinion, America is the greatest country in history. It’s not perfect. We are constantly striving for a more perfect union, but I believe she’s the most fair, equitable country anyone’s ever seen, and that’s why people are clamoring to get here from all over the globe,” he adds.

Cain wonders aloud about whether today’s U.S. critics realize what life is like in other countries around the world.

“Do these people ever travel outside of America?” he asks. “Do they go to other countries where they have to deal with governments who aren’t anywhere near as fair as the United States? I don’t think they do. I do it all the time, and I kiss the soil when I get back.”

Cain also confirms his belief in “individual freedom” and “equality of opportunity,” explaining that these are “what everybody strives for, that’s why they are trying to come here.”

He expresses his concern with how denigrating our nation has become both alarmingly widespread and twistedly fashionable.

“The cool thing to do today is to bash America,” he says. “The comic books do it, the schools, they indoctrinate our kids, they do that, our movies, our television shows are full of it, celebrities, athletes, actors, the media – they love to bash America.”

Still, Cain believes that America can once again be steered in the right direction.

He believes that “the pendulum will swing back to openly appreciating American values, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, as soon as people start studying them in school again.”

Cain’s sage remarks prompted the usual trolls to launch an all-out social media assault, accompanied by their typical unoriginal profanity-laced claptrap.

Not known for wearing his faith on his sleeve, Cain nevertheless has chosen to lend his star power to a number of faith-based projects, including the 2012 movie “Heaven’s Door,” in which he stars alongside actress Charisma Carpenter in a drama about a young girl who has a near death experience, passes through the Pearly Gates, and acquires the gift of healing.

Cain appeared in the highly successful 2014 film “God’s Not Dead,” which is about a Christian college student whose faith is challenged by an atheist professor, played by actor Kevin Sorbo.

Cain co-starred in the 2018 film “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer,” which is the gruesome tale of physician and abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of numerous felonies that included first degree murder in the deaths of three infants who were born alive.

In 2020 Cain starred with Sorbo in “Faith Under Fire,” a movie in which a firefighter who is trying to cope with his wife’s cancer diagnosis finds that his faith is tested in the process.

Cain’s project this year is “Break Every Chain,” a movie about a police officer who, while battling alcoholism and depression, experiences God’s life-transforming grace.

In the two most recent film projects mentioned above, Cain plays the role of a pastor. He has several more faith-oriented projects in the works, which are currently being filmed or are in post-production.

Although he has generally been private about his religious convictions, a post that is pinned to the top of his Twitter account gives an indication of some of his more deeply held beliefs.

The 2018 post is from the Holy Land. It features a photo of Cain and his son in a sacred place, Bethany beyond the Jordan.

The accompanying tweet reads: “My son and I praying at the exact spot where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist… Simply Incredible. One of the most holy sites on the planet. #Blessed”

The Cancel Culture Is No Match for Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt is one of the most successful present-day actors in Hollywood.

He first hit it big on the small screen, where he landed the comedic role of Andy Dwyer in the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation.”

He then moved on to movies, where he put several more notches in his fame belt for his dramatic roles in “Moneyball,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” and the reboot of “The Magnificent Seven.”

Perhaps even more important to his professional standing, and to the earnings that go along with it, is the fact that he has become an integral part of some profitable tent-pole franchises; namely, the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, the “Jurassic World” series, and the “Avengers” movies.

Put this all together with movies that are geared toward the youth market, such as “The Lego Movie” and “Onward,” and you have a bonafide super-star on your hands.

Obviously, Pratt works in the extremely “woke” entertainment business. Yet somehow he has been able to freely speak his mind, despite the entertainment industry’s mega-muzzle.

In the lead-up to his most recent film, “The Tomorrow War,” which is currently streaming on Amazon, Pratt posted a social media message that encouraged his followers, as well as the nation, to remember that their rights were purchased by a priceless sacrifice, courtesy of the members of the U.S. military.

“America’s exceptional armed forces have altered the course of the world for the better,” Pratt wrote. “From the Union Army defeating slave-owning Confederates, to the Greatest Generation and her Allies vanquishing the Nazis or our special operators hunting down the perpetrators of 9/11.”

He explained that those who run toward the danger “have given us the most free and decent society planet earth has ever seen.”

Pratt goes on to warn that the quality of decency is a fragile thing and can be lost if we fail to teach young people what freedom means, and if we fail to help them “learn of the selfless sacrifice of our armed service members in the face of oppressive evil.”

He turned his attention toward those who seem to be reflexively putting down our nation.

“…if you use the comments section on posts like this to b—- and moan about America, please understand there are countries in the world where criticizing your government will get you killed or imprisoned,” he said.

He went on to remind those who are seeking to express such views to “never forget your right to free expression is paid for in blood. May God give their souls rest, and may they live in our memories this weekend and always.”

What followed on the social media was disgusting. Activists of the untoward kind castigated Pratt for defending time-honored American values, acknowledging the existence of good and evil, and invoking the Creator’s name.

It’s not the first time Pratt has set off the woke’s alarm clock. In October of 2020, his absence from a Joe Biden campaign fundraiser resulted in a social media snit-storm.

The political fundraiser had offered “Avengers” fans the ability to virtually meet with a group of the series’ stars, if they contributed to the Biden presidential campaign.

Not being present at the event resulted in Pratt becoming the target of an attempted cancellation by some cyber saboteurs, who posted that his absence was an indication that he was a secret Trump supporter; this despite the fact that the actor had never spoken publicly about who he was supporting in the 2020 election.

The push-back on the web was kick-started by a television writer, who posted a meme on Twitter that consisted of four pictures of famous actors named “Chris”: Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Chris Pine, and Chris Pratt. The meme’s caption read, “One has to go.”

Jumping on the post, social media mobsters used it to slander Pratt, with particular animus leveled against his choice of faith and place of worship.

Pratt has not been secretive at all about his devotion to Christianity. His Instagram bio begins with a Bible quote from Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.”

He also posted on his Twitter account the words, “I love my family, friends, jokes, Jesus, movies, stories, outdoors, golf.”

He attends a biblically based church in Los Angeles and tells the story of how, when he was a just a teen in Maui, Hawaii, he was introduced to Jesus Christ by a stranger.

He shared some of the details of his introduction to his Savior with Esquire magazine.

The stranger ended up telling him, “I stopped because Jesus told me to stop and talk to you. He said to tell you you’re destined for great things.”

Pratt then made a life-altering decision, announcing to his friends, “Hey, I’m gonna go with this guy.”

He described the moment that forever changed his direction in the following way: “I gave my soul to Jesus within, like, two days. I was stuffing envelopes for his organization, Jews for Jesus.”

In 2017, when he accepted his award for Choice Sci-Fi Actor at the Teen Choice Awards, he spoke passionately about his gratitude to God for the spiritual gift he was given.

“I would not be here with the ease and grace I have in my heart without my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Pratt said.