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The Rushmore Report: Steve McQueen – How the ‘King of Cool’ Met the ‘King of Kings’

Nearly 40 years after his death, acting legend Steve McQueen is still referred to as the “King of Cool.” His rags-to-riches story still fascinates fans, new and old. But one chapter of that story has rarely been told. And that is his journey to faith. McQueen overcame many hardships to become the Hollywood “boy wonder” of the 1960s and 1970s. And now Pastor Greg Laurie tells the rest of the story.

Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California – and a lifelong Steve McQueen fan – talked about the actor’s life in a recent interview with CBN.

“He had no father, and his mother really did not raise him,” said Laurie. “She was a raging alcoholic, with a lot of guys, and I tracked with that part of the story because I, too, had an alcoholic mother, married and divorced seven times and I never knew my biological father.”

An American Icon

By today’s Hollywood standards, Steve McQueen’s resume could be considered relatively short. But he is an American icon. “Not everybody from his generation is an icon,” Laurie said. “But James Dean, another contemporary of McQueen, is an icon. Elvis is an icon. The Beatles are iconic. Certain people transcend time and they become iconic characters. I think maybe one of the things that makes a person an icon is when there is sort of a timelessness about them.”

But Laurie discovered more about McQueen than his iconic stature in American culture. He discovered something about his faith. “I started delving into Steve’s life more, and I had heard that he had become a Christian, and I believed it to be true, but I never had checked it out.”

The Pastor Who Led McQueen to Christ

“I had seen a documentary film last year. And it talked about his rise from the worst childhood imaginable to superstardum, where he was the number one star in the world, in films like Bullitt, The Great Escape, The Magnificent 7, etc., and then how he walked away from Hollywood and became a Christian, and I thought, is this true?” Laurie continued.

The megachurch pastor went to work. In his search, he says, “The name Leonard DeWitt popped up. Leonard is the pastor who led Steve to Christ and I wondered if this guy was still alive.”

Laurie tracked him down. He asked the aging pastor, “Are you the Leonard DeWitt that prayed with Steve McQueen?” And he said, “Yes, I am.”

Laurie said, “I was amazed that Leonard didn’t have a website that said, ‘The preacher who led Steve McQueen to Christ.’ That’s quite an accomplishment.”

The Salvation of an American Icon

Laurie has written a soon-to-be published book on Steve McQueen. The book includes details of a special meeting between McQueen and Billy Graham.

Doctors diagnosed McQueen with an aggressive form of cancer only months after he accepted Christ. Before McQueen flew to Mexico for surgery, he met with Graham, who gave him his personal Bible for the trip.

Laurie said, “I asked Billy about this years ago, and he confirmed that’s what happened. Steve went down and had the surgery. After they wheeled him into recovery, he was waiting in this room alone in the clinic in Juarez, Mexico, and he died. And he went into the presence of God. They came in to find Steve and they pulled the sheet back and he was holding onto that Bible.”

He continued, “It was indeed Billy Graham’s Bible that he was holding onto, maybe reading it when the Lord called him home.”

And then Laurie revealed this powerful truth. “One thing Steve said before he died was, ‘My only regret in life is that I was not able to tell people about what Christ did for me.’ So, I wrote this book to tell his story for him.”

In his book, Laurie concludes, “Steve McQueen, the ‘King of Cool,’ realized he needed Christ. So the ‘King of Cool’ met the ‘King of Kings.'”

About the Author

Efrem Graham writes for CBN News.

The Rushmore Report: The ‘Dark Soul’ of Johnny Depp

Last week, actor Johnny Depp said it may be time for another president to be assassinated by an actor. Of course, Hollywood and the Democratic-controlled media have virtually ignored his outrageous, indefensible comments. But that didn’t keep Franklin Graham from speaking out. “Johnny Depp is one dark soul. To even suggest the possibility of assassinating the president is shameful,” he said.

Depp made his comments at the Glastonbury Festival in England last Thursday. His exact words: “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? I want to clarify: I’m not an actor. I lie for a living. However, it’s been awhile, and maybe it’s time.”

Graham did not just condemn Depp’s statement. He offered the troubled actor a way out.

“Jesus Christ died on the cross for all dark souls – even mine. My prayer is that Johnny Depp will one day come to know the Savior who died so that he could be saved from his sins. Jesus Christ alone can change the human heart and bring us from darkness to light,” Graham said. He then quoted John 8:12. “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The White House offered this response: “President Trump has condemned violence in all forms and it is sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead. We hope that some of Mr. Depp’s colleagues will speak out against this type of rhetoric as strongly as they would have if this was directed toward a Democrat elected official.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time liberal “entertainers” have called for violence against the president. In May, comedian Kathy Griffin posed with a severed and bloodied mannequin head in a blonde wig to resemble Trump.

Rapper Snoop Dogg released a music video in March. It depicts himself shooting President Trump in the head.

Madonna was among the first to joke about harming the president. During the Women’s March on Washington in January, she publicly said she thought about “blowing up the White House.”

The only thing more shocking than the complete look the other way by Hollywood and the mainstream media is the notion that if conservative entertainers had suggested the beheading or shooting of President Obama, liberals would be so quick to give them a pass.

There is not an actor or performer who would still have a job had they said and done the things against Obama that are being said and done against Trump.

The bad news is that Hollywood and the mainstream media are complicit with their silence.

The good news is that most Americans don’t care what Hollywood or the mainstream media are saying these days.

I applaud Franklin Graham. Rather than rant – as is the common response from the right – he understands the real issues for the likes of Johnny Depp, Kathy Griffin, Snoop Dogg, and Madonna. He understands that the answer to darkness is not logical discourse. That rarely helps in times like these. The answer to darkness is light.

For those of us who find such hateful speech from the left deplorable, we must never forget our battle is not with flesh and blood, but the powers of darkness.

Jesus nailed it when he said we are to let our light shine before men – because light is the only thing that can ever drown out the darkness.

The Rushmore Report: Cosby Juror Speaks Out

A mistrial was declared Saturday in the Bill Cosby case, after the jury was hopelessly deadlocked, unable to make a decision on Cosby’s guilt or innocence. Prosecutors say they will retry the 79-year-old star on charges that he drugged and molested a woman in 2004. Now a juror is speaking out, in an interview with Pittsburgh radio station WDVE. His name is Mike McCloskey, and this is his story.

McCloskey was an alternate on the jury, and therefore he was present for the entire trial. While the actual jury was instructed to not discuss their deliberations with the media, this did not apply to McCloskey, as a non-voting alternate.

Riding on the bus back to the courtroom with the other jurors, Mike described the ride as “the craziest, eeriest bus ride I’ve ever taken,” as he jury was completely silent on the bus ride.

Though he does not know the exact vote of the official jury, McCloskey thinks it was fairly even. As for himself, “I would have probably voted ‘guilty,'” he says. “The evidence was just so strong.”

Cosby’s attorney, Angela Agrusa is relieved to be back home in Los Angeles just a few days after the Pennsylvania judge declared the mistrial. “My body was in a state of clench for the entire week,” she said. Agrusa feared the jury would return a guilty verdict.

She said, “We wanted an acquittal, but a mistrial or a deadlock is the same result as the group of jurors finding him not guilty. Prosecutors didn’t have the evidence.”

After the verdict, the Montgomery County DA’s Office immediately put out word there would be a re-trial. However, Agrusa isn’t sold on the idea.

“I believe that the Commonwealth had to state [the intention of a re-trial] when they stated it,” said Agrusa, referring to the prosecution. “They have a lot of searching to do when they make a decision. I hope they don’t re-try. I don’t think the outcome would be any better for them. Everyone knows that cases don’t get better with time.”

The Rushmore Report: Kim Kardashian – ‘I Would Have Gone to Heaven’

Kim Kardashian says she’s certain she would have gone to heaven if she had been killed during the high profile robbery that left her shaken in Paris last October. In her first interview in six months, on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Kardashian recounted the horrific experience of being bound and gagged while her jewelry was stolen at gunpoint. In the interview, Kardashian opened up about her prayer life and readiness to meet God.

The 36-year-old entertainer and television personality shed tears on the show as she recalled praying for the lives of her rap mogul husband, Kanye West, and their two children as she sorted through thoughts of her life coming to a sudden end.

“Automatically, your stomach drops, it’s a feeling you just can’t describe,” she said, visibly emotional while remembering the ordeal. “I said a prayer. I said, ‘I know I’m going to heaven. I hope my kids and my husband are okay.'”

The ordeal has changed Kardashian, who admitted that she was materialistic before millions of dollars in jewelry were stolen from her. For two years, the men who robbed her were following her on social media where she often flaunted her jewelry and possessions.

Now, she insists, she’s a better person and mother who has a different outlook on life.

“I was definitely materialistic before, not that there’s anything bad with having things and working hard to get those things, and I’m really proud of everyone around me that’s successful,” she said. “But I’m so happy that my kids get this me and that this is who I’m raising my kids to be. I don’t care to show off the way I used to.”

While Kardashian has admitted to showing off her possessions, she has also showcased her faith in the past. Before marrying her rapper husband, she was pictured attending services at Life Change Community Church in Agoura Hills, California, and previously spoke about starting her own Bible study.

“On my way to church with the girls,” she tweeted before attending a service on New Year’s Day in January 2012. “I want to start a Bible study group with my friends.”

About the Author

Christine Thomasos is a frequent writer for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report: David Letterman Says Retirement Has Ruined His Self-Esteem

David Letterman’s beard has captivated the country with its chill retirement aesthetic, but as it turns out, the former Late Show host has a few qualms about retiring since leaving the show in May 2015. Accepting a Peabody Award this week from his friend Steve Martin, Letterman discussed how retirement has been a blow to his self-esteem. Accepting the award, he said this . . .

“Thank you very much. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Steve Martin, first of all – if you want to be in show business of any description, Steve Martin is who you ought to shoot for. When I leave this planet, I will leave behind a body.”

His rambling comments continued: “First, of course you must tire, then retire. If you want to have something affect your self-esteem, retire. I got very excited because the Obamas invited myself and my wife to a state dinner, and I said, ‘Oh my God, Regina, we’ve been invited to a state dinner!’ And she says, ‘Oh, I love steak!'”

He described the event. “So I’m seated at dinner next to a man who is the assistant chief of staff to the prime minister of Norway. And I’m feeling like a big shot. And we’re chatting, and we’re chatting, and we’re chatting. And when it comes about dessert time, and the guy says to me, ‘Excuse me, Why are you here?’ And I said, ‘You know what? I think I picked up somebody else’s mail.’ And he says, ‘So you’re here by mistake?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘Oh.'”

In his concluding remarks, Letterman said, “So there you go – you get invited to the state dinner, nobody knows why. That’s the sum total of being retired.”

About the Author

Jennifer Vineyard writes for Vineyard Magazine. In 2014 she joined the New York magazine’s staff as a full-time senior editor.

The Rushmore Report: Bill Cosby – Lessons Learned

On Tuesday, a Pennsylvania judge ruled that there is enough evidence to proceed with a criminal trial for Bill Cosby, accused of sexual assault, in the 2004 case of Andrea Constad, the first of over 50 accusers. He could be sentenced to 30 years in prison. I see four lessons.

1. Actions have consequences. History is filled with examples. We all get to choose our actions, but not our consequences. Bill Cosby, if found guilty, could spend the rest of his life in prison, as the sentence brings prison time of at least 10 years. He is accused of drugging and raping women, many of whom may be called on to testify in this case.

2. Judgement plays no favorites. No one is beyond the reach of the law. Bill Cosby was named the second most favorite comedian of the 20th century (only behind Bob Hope). He is 78 years old and in declining health. While he countersued Constad, claiming their sex was consensual, the judge has found the evidence against him to be credible.

3. This doesn’t take away the good Cosby has done. Bill Cosby was Dr. Huxtable, America’s dad. He has served on boards, given millions of dollars to charity, and blessed Americans for over 50 years, with clean humor and a message of high morals. Good men do bad things and bad men do good things. This is not to excuse his despicable behavior (if proven true). But it does remind us that even the most frail among us can be used for good.

4. God forgives when man does not. I would never ask Mrs. Constad to forgive Mr. Cosby for what he did 12 years ago (again, if proven true). Only the true Forgiver can set that standard. It is hard to imagine anything worse than what Cosby is accused of doing, short of taking a person’s life. Having said that, as hard as it is for us to imagine, nothing – I repeat, nothing – we ever do puts us beyond the reach of God’s forgiveness.

Is Mr. Cosby guilty? I don’t know. But I do know this. There is nothing Cosby can ever do that will make God love him more. And nothing he will ever do will make God love him less.