Seldom do you hear a public figure from any walk of life state that they are doing something because "God told me this is what I am supposed to do." Yesterday I heard Oprah Winfrey make this statement as she explained why she is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the FBI's ten most wanted child molesters.
I read about her offer a few days ago, so I made a point of watching the show yesterday where she paid the first reward. Two of the men on the list have been apprehended since she aired a show publicizing their pictures and information about them to the public. She posted their pictures and information on her website as "Oprah's Child Predator Watchlist. Oprah was molested as a child for several years, so understandably, she has very personal reasons for wanting to stop child predators.
The story the two women told about reporting the suspected child predator after seeing the first Oprah show on the subject was hair-raising. The man lived in an apartment above one of them and her family--which included 3 young children. He had insinuated himself into their lives, despite the feelings of unease that both this woman and her husband had. When she saw his picture among the "most wanted" she immediately recognized him and called the FBI within the hour. He is now in jail awaiting trial on charges of sexual abuse of a child. You won't be surprised to know he has been previously convicted on similar charges.
I recently read a review of a book called The Gospel According to Oprah, thinking that it might be a good subject for a women's study group. The book is published by the PCUSA-related Westminster John Knox press. But the review was not inspiring, so I passed on ordering it. Oprah often seems "New Age-y". I've heard her say things like "listen to what the universe is trying to tell you", for example. Maybe that's a way to avoid controversy by being vague about defining the foundation of your faith. That also made me skeptical about the appropriateness of the book for a church study group and surprised to hear her make a forthright admission of faith in God.
In my previous life as an assistant district attorney many years ago, I prosecuted child abuse cases in an era when there was little attention given to the problem. I know how much law enforcement must appreciate Oprah's support of their efforts to apprehend these dangerous criminals before more children are hurt.
Good for you, Oprah--both for responding to God's call and for acknowledging it publicly. It's no wonder that you are one of the most respected and loved public figures in the country. Perhaps someone will write a better book about you and your faith that includes the "Help Save Our Children" campaign.