Comedian and TV host Stephen Colbert is not often connected with Christianity through his work on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, but as he prepares to take the reins of The Late Show from David Letterman in September, he is reaching out to give a more personal look at his private Catholic beliefs.
In a recent interview with Catholic publication America Magazine, Colbert discusses his faith with host and magazine editor-at-large Father Jim Martin. While he often bills himself as "America's Favorite Catholic" on his own show, The Colbert Report, many believe that line to be yet another part of his schtick. But the truth is, Colbert is a staunch Catholic and isn't afraid to talk about everything from his favorite hymns to his favorite Bible verse in this video interview.
When asked about his favorite saint, Colbert said he likes Saint Peter the best. "He's so flawed," Colbert explains. "I always liked Peter because he's the rock. But the rocks are between the ears because he has the insight -- the grace -- to know that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, and then he denies Christ. He's angry, he's known for anger. I like him because he's super flawed."
"And yet he gets the big job," he states, referring to Peter's role as the first Catholic Pope.
When asked about his favorite Scripture passage, Colbert jumped right into a summary of Matthew 6, Verse 25 that says, "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" He then skips down to Verse 34 and adds, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
"That was actually the reading at our wedding," he continues. "I think it's great because I really like that Jesus isn't saying, 'Try not to worry!' He's saying, 'So I say to you do not worry.' It's a commandment. Do not worry. And I'm not very good at it."
"Fear is the mind killer," he says, while quoting a line from Frank Herbert's Dune. "So 'do not worry' allows you to be mindful and grateful, and ultimately, I suppose, to be joyful, and everything else comes from that."
Colbert explains that this is the reason that he loves comedy so much because you can't laugh and be afraid at the same time.
When the topic came to favorite hymn, Colbert said that he enjoys "Here I Am, Lord" and the advent hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." Father Martin and Colbert break into a few lines of other classic hymns from the 1960s, including an impromptu dance number for a few laughs.
Colbert will be appearing on an upcoming episode of Mindy Kaling's The Mindy Project where he'll be playing a clergyman, but further details aren't available.
Look for Stephen Colbert to take over The Late Show on CBS in September.