The Rushmore Report – Stephen Colbert Reveals What Brought Him Back to Jesus

“The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert says a chance encounter with a person handing out Bibles on the street is what brought him back to faith when he was an atheist. Colbert, a Roman Catholic, spoke last week with the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at America magazine, and said he was a convicted atheist in his 20s.

“I had lost my faith in God, to my own great grief,” Colbert said. “I was sort of convinced that I had been wrong all this time, that I had been taught something that wasn’t true.”

In past interviews, Colbert has opened up about the tragedy of his childhood, describing how his father and two brothers died in a plane crash when he was 10 years old.

In his interview with Martin on the “Faith in Focus” program, he said that it was a cold night in Chicago, Illinois, when one stranger handed him a little green pocket Bible. He was 22 then.

That Bible was indexed by topics, and so Colbert turned to the page about anxiety. Jesus’ words at the Sermon on the Mount were presented:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?… Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

The talk show host revealed that he was “absolutely, immediately lightened” by Christ’s words.

“I stood on the street corner in the cold and read the sermon. And my life has never been the same,” he added.

In another exchange posted online, Martin asked Colbert to tell him “who is God for you?”

“It’s Jesus Christ,” Colbert immediately replied. “Not an old man with a beard.”

The comedian went on to say that physically, he thinks of Jesus when someone asks him that question, but “that image dissolves, as I try to subsume that image into the Trinity.”

He added that one of the things he prays about is the ability to love.

“If I can love, I can be free,” he said. “When I think of love, I think of God, and when I think of God, I think of love.”

Colbert has featured several segments and comedy bits revolving around religion on his CBS “Late Show” program. He has also debated some notable atheist celebrities, such as comedian Ricky Gervais, on the topics of Creation, God, science, and religion.

He has also challenged some conservative Christian leaders, such as megachurch Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.

After Jeffress suggested last year that God has granted U.S. President Donald Trump the authority to “take out” North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Colbert featured a comedy bit where a white-haired spoof version of God suggested that he agreed with Jeffress’ comments.

“Oh yeah, I’m always on America’s side when it comes to blowing stuff up,” the spoof version of God said. Colbert then pointed out, “But that goes against your whole message of peace and forgiveness,” to which the character said that such thinking comes from his “hippy” son Jesus.

About the Author

Stoyan Zaimov writes for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report – Nicole Kidman Talks About Her Faith

In promoting her upcoming film Hollywood icon Nicole Kidman has opened up about her faith and personal belief in God.  For the December/January issue of Allure magazine, Kidman, who was raised in an Irish Catholic family, sported a diamond-studded crucifix, which she said was a gift from her grandmother. She wears it all the time. “I’m spiritual in the sense that I absolutely believe in God,” she said.

Kidman went on to reveal that she once thought of becoming a nun. “I loved the idea of being a nun,” she said. “I did not choose that path, but I was very drawn to it.”

The 51-year-old is the star of the new film, “Boy Erased,” in which she plays a pastor’s wife. Her role as Nancy Eamons is the wife of a small-town Baptist pastor who put their son in a “gay conversion” program after discovering that he was gay.

Once linked to Scientology, Kidman shared that she had become estranged from her two oldest children. Her kids left her for a life with their adoptive father Tom Cruise following their divorce.

“They are adults. They are able to make their own decisions. But my job is to love them,” Kidman said.

Now married to country music star Keith Urban, the two recently visited a children’s hospital in Australia together. There, they sang “Amazing Grace.”

Urban and Kidman toured the Monash Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, visiting kids with cancer. Others in the hospital halls joined them in singing the famous hymn.

Such outings and quiet ministry have become commonplace for both Kidman and Urban. Nicole Kidman has returned to the faith of her childhood. Her Christian faith is growing and increasingly becoming a part of her daily lifestyle.

The Rushmore Report – The Surprising Way Mark Wahlberg Starts Every Day

Mark Wahlberg was Hollywood’s highest paid actor in 2017, bringing in $68 million. The 47-year-old star has made a name for himself as an actor, producer, businessman, model, rapper, and songwriter.  The husband and father of four is known to keep an insanely intense daily schedule that includes weight training, family time, and a strict diet. Wahlberg’s day begins at 2:30 am; he is in bed by 7:30 pm. But it’s what he does first – from 2:45 to 3:15 am – that is noteworthy.

The first thing Mark Wahlberg does every day is spend 30 minutes in prayer.

The star of the upcoming movie Mile 22, says that prayer has been an essential part of his life for years. He told the Catholic Herald, “Being a Catholic is the most important aspect of my life.” Then he added, “The first thing I do when I start my day is, I get down on my hands and knees and give thanks to God. Whenever I go outside of my house, the first thing I do is stop at the church. The kids will be mad with me. ‘Daddy! It takes too long!’ Because I do. If I can start my day out by saying my prayers and getting myself focused, then I know I’m doing the right thing. That 10 minutes helps me in every way throughout the day.”

Wahlberg has also expressed regret over some of the roles he played earlier in his career, especially one in an Oscar-nominated film in which he portrayed a porn star. He told Cardinal Blase Cupich at an event in Chicago, that “I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving because I have made some poor choices in my past.”

When Cupich asked if her regretted any of his movie roles, Wahlberg answered, “Boogie Nights is up there at the top of that list.”

On the subject of his daily routine of prayer, the actor says he does not pray for success. Instead, he prays for three things every day: his wife, his children, and his personal character.

“For me to sit down and ask for material things is ridiculous. It’s a much bigger picture than that. I want to serve God and to be a good human being and to make up for the mistakes I have made in my past. I want to make up for the pain that I have put people through. That’s what I’m praying for, and I recommend it to anybody.”

In an interview with Men’s Health, Wahlberg was asked about how he accomplishes all that he does. He said, “If you’re doing the right things, then there’s always enough time in the day to get it all done.”

The Rushmore Report – Mariah Carey Speaks on the Faith of Aretha Franklin

Iconic soul singer Aretha Franklin died Thursday and as tributes flooded social media, one of her mentees, Mariah Carey, revealed that the pastor’s daughter never left the church despite her successful mainstream career. “Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul. The Icon. The ultimate singer’s singer. The greatest singer and musician of my lifetime,” Carey wrote on Instagram Thursday.

“The power of your voice in music and in civil rights blew open the door for me and so many others. You were my inspiration, my mentor and my friend. You showed me I could sing the songs I wanted to sing and bring God with me. You’ve inspired millions everywhere yet never left home, never left church,” the pop star continued.

Carey went on to say that she will forever cherish the moments she spent with Franklin.

“I say a BIG prayer for you. You will forever have all our RESPECT,” Carey concluded.

Franklin was surrounded by family and friends before she died Thursday morning. The legendary singer died from an advanced form of pancreatic cancer which was confirmed by her oncologist.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25, 1942, Franklin’s family moved to Detroit when she was five years old. Her mother, Barbara, was also a singer, but she died when Franklin was nine years of age. Her father, Clarence LaVaughn “C.L.” Franklin, was a popular preacher at Detroit’s New Bethel Baptist Church. Her famous dad was often visited by people such as Martin Luther King Jr., Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, and gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who Franklin accredited as her mentor.

Franklin began her singing career at church and released her first gospel album by the time she was 14 years old. At 18, however, she shifted to secular music and the rest is history.

Franklin is known for her hits such as “RESPECT,” “Natural Woman,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” and “Chain of Fools.”

Franklin spoke about her singing abilities being a gift from God, and told Yahoo News, “Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I’m using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I’m happy with that. My faith always has been and always will be important to me.”

Throughout her career that spanned seven decades, Franklin paved the way as one of the most successful female artists in music history. With 18 Grammy Awards under her belt, and 75 million records sold worldwide, she was the first female to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone name her “the greatest singer of all time” in 2012, and she was also inducted into The Gospel Music Hall of Fame along with fellow music legend Elvis Presley (who also died on August 16, 41 years ago).

About the Author

Jeannie Law writes for the Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report – Guess What Justin Bieber Was Just Seen Carrying?

Justin Bieber is one of this generation’s most iconic pop stars. The 24-year-old Canadian singer/songwriter became famous with the release of his platinum album, My World, in 2009. He has already earned 20 Teen Choice Awards and a Grammy Award. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records 14 times. Bieber is now engaged to actress Hailey Baldwin. But it is what he was seen carrying on the streets on New York last week that is making news.

Raised in Christianity by his mother, Bieber describes himself as a strong adherent to the faith. He was baptized by Pentecostal pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong Church in New York on January 9, 2014, after what he described as a “born again experience.” He has given millions of dollars to evangelize the Philippines, as well as to other Christian causes.

Last week, the star was spotted leaving Baldwin’s apartment by photographers. And he was carrying a book by Timothy Keller – The Meaning of Marriage.

Keller’s book, based on his sermons, “draws a profound portrait of marriage from the pages of Scripture that neither idealizes nor rejects the institution but points us back to the relationship between God and man. The result is a vision for marriage that is refreshingly frank and unsentimental, yet hopeful and beautiful,” according to Keller’s website.

Bieber and Baldwin both attend Hillsong. Hailey is the daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin.

It is not rare for famous couples to claim to be adherents to Christianity. What is rare is for them to mean it.

I’ll admit it. I may be the only person in America who has never heard one note or syllable of a single Justin Bieber song. But count me as one of his biggest fans.

The Rushmore Report: Actors You Didn’t Know Were Religious

In the glitzy world of Hollywood, it’s easy to get caught up in all things worldly. From competing for the best dressed title on the red carpet to going for plastic surgery every other month, actors tend to be self-serving and self-aware. Many live compromised lives, filled with controversy. Few have time for faith. But there are some exceptions. Here are ten Hollywood actors whose faith is central to their lives.

1. Katherine Heigl

Fans of Grey’s Anatomy know Heigl as Dr. Izzie Stevens. She is an active Mormon who lives according to her faith. As such, Heigl did not live with her future husband, as most stars would. She considers marriage a sacred bond before God.

2. Steven Colbert

A Roman Catholic, despite his active schedule, the late-night comedian remains determined to continue practicing his faith and instilling it in his children. He is a regular church attender and sometimes even teaches Sunday School classes.

3. Steven Seagal

The action star and martial arts expert has always stood out in Hollywood because of his distinctive looks. While his parents are Jewish, he has Mongolian ancestry. Seagal is a practicing Buddhist.

4. Stephen Baldwin

The Baldwin brothers are an integral part of Hollywood, as the band of brothers are composed of four well-known actors. But unlike his brothers, Stephen is an active evangelical Christian.

5. Angela Bassett

Best known for her role as Tina Turner in the film What’s Love Got to Do with It, Bassett received critical acclaim for her performance. Avoiding the limelight, Bassett is a committed Christian.

6. Mario Lopez

A Roman Catholic, Lopez is fairly private about his faith. He attends church every week, often going by himself. He says church provides close communion with God.

7. Natalie Portman

A converted Jew, the famous actress is raising her son according to her faith. As she considers having more children, she is on record as saying they will all be raised Jewish.

8. Angus T. Jones

Playing many diverse roles, the young actor is one of the few actors who is a practicing Seventh Day Adventist. Not much more is known about Jones’ faith.

9. Alice Cooper

Yes, I said Alice Cooper. He is the ultimate example of why we must not judge a person by his looks. Cooper credits his born-again faith with helping him to overcome alcohol addiction.

10. Mark Wahlberg

As a rapper in his younger years, Wahlberg had multiple run-ins with the law. He has battled drug addiction, and once ended up in jail. It was then that he returned to the faith of his childhood. Now a devout Catholic, Wahlberg takes his wife and four kids to church with him every Sunday.

The Rushmore Report: Jim Carrey Preaches Grace of Christ to Former Inmates

Comedian and Hollywood actor Jim Carrey preached the hope of Jesus to former inmates and said that he’s learned that suffering leads to salvation. The Ace Ventura star attended a Homeboy Industries event in Los Angeles, where he addressed former gang members who had been incarcerated. In his remarks, Carrey went spiritual, telling the attendees that real hope is found outside ourselves.

In his emotional speech, Carrey said, “I want to speak to the fact that I believe that this room is filled with God, and that you are heroes to me and I admire you. You’ve made a decision to transcend and to leave darkness behind, and it takes a champion to make that decision.”

Carrey continued, “I really want to speak to the fact that I’ve had some challenges myself and ultimately I believe that suffering leads to salvation. In fact, it’s the only way. We have to somehow accept – and not deny – our suffering, feel our losses, and then we make one of two decisions.”

The actor said we all must choose between what he called “two gates.” He described one of the gates as resentment, which leads to self-harm. The other gate, he said, is forgiveness, which “leads to grace.”

“Your being here indicates that you’ve made that decision already. You’ve made the decision to walk through the gate of forgiveness, of grace, just as Christ did on the cross. He suffered terribly and he was broken by it to the point of doubt and the feeling of absolute abandonment. That’s all he felt,” Carrey explained.

The comedian explained that in spite of being in such horrible circumstances, Jesus made the decision to look on the people responsible for his suffering with “compassion and forgiveness.”

“That’s what opens the gates of heaven for all of us,” he said.

Carrey added that although he’s suffered many things, he knows those in attendance have suffered greater losses. He then expressed admiration for them all. Before concluding, he went on to say that the concept of omnipresence in the Bible reveals that God is in all, and he encouraged everyone to think about the power behind knowing that.

“When you decide to transcend the negativity and attempt to do something positive for yourself and your family, you are the heart of God, you are the eyes of God. When you speak from that place, you are God’s voice.” He concluded, “Serving the world with your work, that is the Body of Christ.”

In the past, Carrey has expressed his distrust of organized religions. He was raised Catholic, then ventured into Presbyterianism. He has spoken about looking for spiritual answers as a child while being inspired by the Buddha, yet this shows that he is now clinging to Jesus after times of suffering.

It appears suffering turned Jim Carrey’s heart toward God. May it do the same for each of us.

The Rushmore Report: Why Matthew McConaughey Gave His Son a Biblical Name

Actor Matthew McConaughey recently shared how he and his wife chose the name for their son, Levi. McConaughey, who has made no secret of his Christian faith, told the hosts of Good Morning America that he and his wife weren’t sure what they were going to name their now nine-year-old child, but when he was born, they decided on Levi because that name had biblical significance for McConaughey.

“Levi is another name for Matthew in the Bible,” he said. “We had talked about possibly Matthew, Jr. if he was a boy. And my favorite verse in the Bible is Matthew 6:22.”

Matthew 6:22 says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”

McConaughey and his wife didn’t find out the sex of their baby till he was born and they still hadn’t decided on a name, but when the doctor told them the exact time the baby was born, they realized Levi was perfectly fitting.

“We find out he’s a boy when he’s born. You’re not thinking about the name, right?” he continued. “An hour later, the doctor comes up and he hands you that card to fill out: ‘Blank was born at 6:22 p.m.’ So we went, ‘It’s Levi.'”

Christian Today notes that McConaughey also has Matthew 6:22 engraved on his wedding band. The actor has shared that he drifted away from his faith when he first became famous, but he has since returned to that faith, in large part due to his wife’s influence.

About the Author

Veronica Neffinger is editor for

The Rushmore Report: Was Elvis a Christian?

Elvis Presley died 40 years ago this week. As we look back on the King of Rock ‘n Roll, it is a good time to consider his faith. Charles Hughes, a writer on the history of Southern Gospel, has looked closely into Elvis’ past. In his search for answers about his faith, Hughes has made an unexpected discovery. He has found Elvis’ personal Bible – and the notes he wrote in the margins. He has discovered an Elvis many did not know.

“Throughout his career he kept returning to Gospel music,” writes Hughes. “He was always singing Gospel songs, recording Gospel records, and incorporating in his live shows performance techniques that he would have gotten from the church.”

Joe Moscheo, a member of The Imperials, who traveled with Elvis, wrote a book called The Gospel Side of Elvis. He wrote of an Elvis who would often gather other singers into his hotel room and sing Gospel songs for hours at a time. “That’s what he wanted to do. It was like there were two parts. There was Elvis the superstar and he went out onstage in his jumpsuits and then he came offstage and he was Elvis Presley from Tupelo, Mississippi, that was brought up in the church and wanted to sing Gospel music,” he said.

The last time Moscheo saw Elvis, he gave him a Bible. When asked if he thought Elvis was a Christian, Moscheo said, “I believe that he was. He had demons. I mean, he had problems. But, from all indications and just being around him in these intimate settings, I really feel that he was a Christian.”

And here’s where it gets interesting.

Hughes has dug into Presley’s Bible – one given to him by his aunt and uncle on his first Christmas at Graceland in 1957. It was found at the Museum of the Bible. Given the opportunity to review it in private, Hughes thumbed through its pages and discovered several hand-written notes, by which Elvis expressed his true faith

Here are some examples.

Beside Psalm 11:1, he wrote, “In the Lord I place my trust and He will guide me.”

Psalm 43:3 is underlined with a note that reads, “Lord send me light to guide me.”

On page 670, in reference to Psalm 137:5-9, Elvis wrote, “Trust in the Lord, not man.”

Jotted under Psalm 81 are these words: “Sing the Lord’s praises.”

In reference to Psalm 149:3-6, he added, “The highest graces of music flow from the feelings of the heart-soul.”

And under Psalm 149, he wrote, “Sing for the glory of God.”

Was Elvis Presley a Christian? It appear so. Did he struggle with his faith? Certainly. That makes him a lot like most of us.

The Rushmore Report: Remembering Glen Campbell

This week we lost an American icon. Glen Travis Campbell, whose career spanned five decades, stepped into the presence of his God Tuesday morning. He is best known for his 70 albums, 45 million records sold, 12 gold albums, and nine #1 hits, along with his CBS show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour (1969-1972). But this isn’t about Glen Campbell the entertainer. It’s about Glen Campbell the man.

First, let’s get the award stuff out of the way. Campbell’s accolades are nearly unmatched in the music industry: Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Grammy Hall of Fame, Male Vocalist of the Year (country and rock), Entertainer of the Year, actor (True Grit), TV star (Goodtime Hour), and record five Grammys in one year (1967). He was named TV Personality of the Year, Top Male Vocalist, and so much more.

But let’s talk about Glen Campbell the man.

He was my first favorite singer. He released my all-time favorite song, Galveston, on February 24, 1969. Being from Houston, somehow this song made me proud. I was just nine at the time, but I knew the song by heart. I still do. What was once a record in my bedroom nearly 50 years ago is now on my phone, where I can listen to it anytime.

I followed his career through the years. Like most people, I cherish the music I grew up with. That made me a huge fan of Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, and Glen Campbell. I saw all three in person. Beth and I were on the second row of Campbell’s final concert in Texas, in the Dallas area, ten years ago. Already suffering from Alzheimer’s, Campbell forgot the words to some of the songs, and clearly wasn’t sure where he was. But he could still sing. And he could still play the guitar. Man, could he play the guitar! I felt like a teenager all over again, sitting just feet from my childhood idol.

Glen Campbell was not a perfect human being. Maybe that’s why I identified with him. His three failed marriages, occasional jail time, and struggles with drug and alcohol addiction made him seem real. Like the rest of us, he battled his demons.

But unlike many of us, he won those battles. He found strength through his personal faith –  a strength he lacked earlier in his life.

Kim Campbell, his wife since 1983, said in an interview last year, “Faith has always been the central part of our relationship. I’m so pleased that as Glen has entered the later stages of this illness, it’s evident that he has retained his awareness of God.”

Kim continued, “That really comforts me to know that he has that sense of God’s presence in his life, that he’s not alone, even if I’m not right next to him.”

Today – and for all eternity – Glen Campbell is not alone. There is someone right next to him who will never go away.

For 50 years, the Rhinestone Cowboy blessed millions with what Dolly Parton called “one of the greatest voices of all time.” The man Tim McGraw called “special,” of whom Steve Martin said the music world was “in awe,” and who Peter Frampton called “one of the most down to earth people I have ever known” is now at rest with his Savior.

For Glen Travis Campbell, the seventh son of a seventh son, the temptations of drugs, alcohol, money, and fame have passed. But his memory endures.

The words of his most acclaimed song say it best.

“I’ve been walkin’ these streets so long, singin’ the same old song. I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Broadway. Where hustle’s the name of the game, and nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain. There’s been a load of compromisin’ on the road to my horizon. But I’m gonna be where the lights are shinin’ on me. Like a rhinestone cowboy.”

Today, Glen Campbell is walking new streets, where hustle’s not the name of the game, where nice guys don’t get washed away. He has finished the road to his horizon. And at the end of that road, he has discovered lights that will never go out.

For 50 years, it was true. Campbell was “singin’ the same old songs” – Wichita Lineman, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Gentle on My Mind, Dreams of the Everyday Housewife. Today, he is singing new songs.

Glen Campbell blessed millions with his music. But more than that, he taught us to never give up, to value family, and above all, to embrace faith. For now, I’ll keep “singin’ the same old songs.” One day, at the end of my own horizon, I will join Glen Campbell in heaven’s choir.

May we all walk the road to our horizon with the same dignity, grace, and faith as did Glen Travis Campbell.

The music continues . . .