Oprah Winfrey Discusses Faith and Religion With Stephen Colbert; Says she Was ‘A Little Preacher’ as a Child


Stephen Colbert is a practicing Christian. He is an ordained minister. He teaches Sunday school. He is a person of deep faith and, more generally, of deep spirituality.

That fact doesn’t come up very often in his work—certainly not when he was playing an arrogant blowhard on The Colbert Report, and not a lot in his new role, playing himself, as the host of The Late Show. Late-night comedy and religion—indeed, late-night comedy and spirituality—have traditionally had very little to say to, and about, each other.

Religion came up last night, though.

The context was this: Oprah was guesting on The Late Show to promote Belief, a seven-night miniseries on her cable network, OWN, that will explore the origins and impacts of different religious—and not quite religious—faiths. Oprah, reverting easily to her days as a talk-show host, was charming and chatty. She joked about how, when she was younger (“I’m talking 7, 8, 9, 12, 15”),she’d been “a little preacher.” Her fellow students used to say, she recalled, “Here comes that preacher girl again.” And their comments seemed warranted. “I was preaching the Gospel, yes, I was,” Oprah said. “I remembered the Bible verses and passages.”

Which was occasion for Colbert to ask her which of those Bible verses and passages is her favorite.

Oprah, perhaps knowing his background, asked him what his favorite verse was.

“Mine’s from Matthew,” Colbert replied. “I like it because Jesus says, ‘So I say to you, do not worry, for who among you by worrying could change a hair on his head, or add a cubit to the span of his life?’

He added: What I like about it is that it’s a commandment to not worry, and I’ll go with that.”

Then it was Oprah’s turn. “Mine is Psalms 37:4,” she said. “‘Delight thyself’—I love that word ‘delight,’ don’t you? I’m so glad that David knew it,” she said (referring to King David, the author of the Psalms).

She continued, quoting the full verse, “Delight thyself in the Lord. He will give you the desires of your heart.”

She added:

Now what that says to me is “Lord” has a wide range. What is “Lord”? Compassion, love, forgiveness, kindness. So you delight yourself in those virtues where the character of the Lord is revealed. Delight thyself in goodness, delight thyself in love, kindness, and compassion, and you will receive the desires of your heart. It says to me, if you focus on being a force for good, good things will come.

Click here to continue reading…

The Atlantic