In a revealing and exclusive interview with Christian News Journal, Shannon Bream—anchor of the evening news program “Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream” and author of the new book, The Women of the Bible Speak—said that no one has been the victim of so-called cancel culture “worse than Jesus.”
No matter what people are going through today—no matter how hard it is when “people are being singled out or ridiculed or punished, or feeling that they’re being harassed in some way because of their faith” or for any of their beliefs, for that matter—Bream said we need to remember that “the only approval that really matters is God’s.”
And that “Christ understands because He’s been there.”
This Holy Week, as we approach the solemnity of Holy Thursday and Good Friday—and then experience the joy of the Risen Christ on Easter Sunday—Bream’s insights seem particularly profound.
“There were leaders who were trying to trip up [Jesus] all the time,” said Bream. “There were religious leaders who wanted to catch Him saying something wrong. They definitely wanted to ‘cancel’ Him. And they thought that they had—by finally having Him taken to the cross.”
We’re all told “that this world is going to be full of trouble,” Bream added. “But God is always faithful. He walks with us through it. And I have found that in the darkest moments of my own life, it doesn’t feel good to know that people are disregarding your faith or your beliefs, or that they want to cancel you over it”—but that God is there for all of us, no matter what.
“I also think about what God told us, that our greatest commandments are to love Him with our whole heart, mind, soul, and spirit—and to love our neighbors as ourselves. And not just when they’re doing things that are nice and they’re accepting us, but even when they don’t seem to be. We [still] need to show them grace, to show them compassion—and to realize that the only approval that really matters is God’s.”
She noted that she’s not in any way trying to minimize how difficult things can be for people who are “cancelled” today. “But I know that Christ understands because He’s been there.”
This time of the pandemic and the restrictions and isolation it’s brought has been extremely difficult for many of us, but Bream credited her deep faith as a Christian—and her time spent each morning in prayer and in God’s Word—with helping her through it and keeping her centered.
“Early on in the pandemic, I think we all were really scared and very rattled,” she said. “And I found that every day, I was waking up to alerts on my phone, to things that were telling me that more people were sick, more people were dying, more jobs were being lost, that the markets were crashing. And it was so overwhelming for all of us.”
She said that she’s “always been a person who’s spent time in the Word and in prayer, and that’s been important to me. But it has never been more important to me than it has been this past year, when I said to myself, ‘I cannot do any of this before I do that.’”
So, every morning, she said, “the first few minutes when I get up, I spend those in prayer, in reading, in reflection—and just in getting my roots back and saying, ‘Lord, I don’t know what this day is going to throw at us, but You are sovereign, You are solid, and You are eternal.’”
She added, “I think we all need that strength that is beyond ourselves.”
Regarding the women of the Bible whom she features in her new book—and she profiles 16 extraordinary women—Bream said, “I love these women’s stories. Some of them I knew really well, as I grew up in the church, and in faith, and in Christian school. And some of them, I thought I knew really well until I really started to study them. And there are so many unique nuggets and twists and turns” in the Bible and in their stories, she noted.
“My hope is that somebody who is a person of faith will learn something new, or that those who maybe were intimidated before and perhaps not interested in religion will see all of these women’s stories as amazing. And they stand alone as people whom God certainly wanted to spotlight and include in His Word.”
Bream continued, “Think of it. We’ve got a prostitute; we’ve got a murderer; we’ve got a queen; and we’ve got the Mother of Jesus. We have women who are humble and who were great in the world’s eyes. And it just shows me that God uses everyone He can work through—whatever their situations are”—to share His messages with us and to share Himself with us, she said.
“And He is still working on our behalf. He’s there for us when we are faithful, and even when we make a mess of [things].”
Some of the women in this book, she said, “got way off track in their lives. It shows us that we don’t have to be perfect to come to God or to seek His help. He is there to reach us where we are.”
Of all those she profiled—including Hannah, Miriam, Esther, Deborah, and Mary—Bream said there is one woman who particularly stands out for her, though all of them are meaningful, of course. “I think about the woman whose name we don’t even know, but she’s in several of the Gospels,” said Bream. “She had a problem of bleeding for 12 years. And she spent everything she had [to try to figure out what was wrong]. She’d gone to every doctor she could. She was penniless—and with no recovery, no help in sight, she heard about Jesus. And she said, ‘If I can just get close enough to touch the hem of this man’s cloak, then that will heal me.’ And that is what happened.”
“She was somebody who was an outsider,” added Bream, “because she was considered unclean. She shouldn’t have even been in the temple, probably, or the markets, or with other people—certainly not in the crowds that were around Jesus. But He didn’t condemn her at all. Instead, He had great compassion and mercy on her. And He said, ‘Daughter.’ He called her ‘Daughter’ and said, ‘Your faith has made you whole.’”
Said Bream, “So I love that idea that He is there for her in her worst pain, because I walked that road myself [of pain, during a chronic illness]. And I felt that God was faithful to me” through all of it, she said. “I love her story and I hope it will encourage other people” in their faith.
“Jesus knew what had happened,” Bream writes in her book of the incident she described to CNJ.
“In both Mark and Luke, we’re told that [the woman] went to Jesus in fear and trembling, falling down before Him, and telling Him the whole truth … that she was afraid she was about to be exposed as an unclean rulebreaker who shouldn’t even have been there. Jesus didn’t berate or humiliate her in front of the enormous crowd hanging on His every word,” Bream continues in the book. “Only He could have known in that moment just how much she had suffered or how she had courageously and humbly bundled all her hopes into the simple act of touching the hem of His garment.”
Bream also told CNJ that aside from those she profiled, there are other women whom she didn’t get to include in this book—and that she may include them in a future project. “We’ll see,” she said.
Bream’s new book, The Women of the Bible Speak: The Wisdom of 16 Women and Their Lessons for Today (Broadside Books), went on sale March 30, 2021 and is available everywhere books are sold.
She is also the author of Finding the Bright Side (2019). In addition to her anchor duties at Fox, Bream serves as the Fox News Channel’s chief legal correspondent. She’s covered landmark SCOTUS cases as well as top political campaigns and policy battles in Washington, D.C.
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—By Corine Gatti-Santillo and Maureen Mackey