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Bill Moyers Will Get Spiritual In San Diego

Journalist Bill Moyers comes to San Diego this weekend at the invitation of Rancho La Puerta.
Journalist Bill Moyers comes to San Diego this weekend at the invitation of Rancho La Puerta.

Moyers is holier than me. But is he holier than thou?

Broadcast journalist Bill Moyers has a master's degree in divinity and he's plumbed the divine in lots of public TV interviews. On Saturday he'll visit the Bayfront Hilton Hotel for a symposium about spirituality called The Sun, The Butterfly, and The Dove.

Moyers did a These Days interview yesterday in advance of this event. When asked what spirituality meant to him, he described it as an "extra dimension" within us that helps us remain healthy and live our lives.

He decried the reduction of spirituality to dogma, creed and sermon. (I can see why he never became a preacher). He also regretted the fact that we pay little attention to spirituality in America, which he called "materialistic oriented." Of course it didn't take long for Moyers to become materialistic in his own orientation by focusing his energy on discussing the problems of economic disparity in the U.S.


Moyers is a man who's always seemed uncomfortable with the strictures of journalistic objectivity.

This isn't surprising since he came onto the national scene not as a journalist but as a press secretary for Lyndon Johnson. I recall once interviewing Barry Goldwater Jr., the son of the on-time presidential candidate, who said his father hated Bill Moyers for approving the famously negative, incendiary (and effective) "daisy" campaign ad in 1964, which suggested Goldwater's election would lead to nuclear Armageddon.

Moyers may dislike dogma but his Baptist background taught him the language of the apocalypse.

Maybe the most interesting part of that These Days interview was Moyers' admission that he was "a liberal." This was something I don't think he'd have said when conservative politicians were complaining about the TV show he hosted on PBS. Moyers said this, interestingly, while expressing his admiration of the anti-establishment spirit of the Tea Party. Clearly, you can admire a person's spirit while believing their views are entirely nuts.

I don't know how Moyers fits into the patchwork of religious beliefs we have in our country. He's a southern Baptist who talks like an agnostic. I recall his interviews with intellectual Joseph Campbell who described the death of Christ as a "metaphor" for the seasonal death and rebirth of flora that happens in winter and spring. Devout Christians don't believe the resurrection is a metaphor. They think it really happened. I couldn't tell, from his interview, where Moyers came down on that subject.


I will finish by saying he invited all comers to be at the Bayfront Hilton for the the Sun the Butterfly and so forth. If you can make it, let me know what he says.