Maybe Joy Behar should apologize for this joke — but not to Mike Pence.

Mike Pence and conservative activists want Joy Behar to apologize on behalf of "offended" Christians everywhere, but it turns out that outrage is manufactured purely to score political points.

It all began back in February when "The View" co-host took part in a segment on whether the vice president's religious views are good for the country.

After two of her co-hosts mocked the VP for reportedly claiming to speak directly with Jesus Christ, Behar quipped, "It's one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That's called mental illness, if I'm not correct — hearing voices."


Pence said that Behar and ABC should apologize to all Christians for using "The View" as "a forum for invective against religion like that." Behar apologized to Pence in a private phone call after poking fun at him.

Behar's manager claims Pence told her he wasn't personally offended. "The vice president was very gracious and very understanding. He understood that Joy wasn’t attacking anybody and that there was some miscommunication."

Photos by Nick Step/Flickr and Gage Skidmore/Flickr.

The apology demand appears to have been a manufactured campaign from a right-wing interest group.

Why did Pence allegedly strike such a different tone in private versus his harsher public comments?

It might have something to do with the Media Research Center, a conservative advocacy group whose function seems to be to attack people and institutions in the media it feels reflect a bias against conservative views. Since Behar's comments last month, the group has been organizing a petition campaign among its members and has reportedly made 30,000 complaint calls to ABC.

All of which seems a little odd, given that Pence accepted Behar's apology weeks ago.

Nonetheless, it's possible Behar still owes an apology — but it's not to the conservative media activists now trying to create a controversy around a perceived persecution.

If Behar owes anyone an apology, it's to those affected by mental illness.

Behar's joke did lack good taste, but not because she supposedly offended Christians. After all, no faith leaders or organizations have publicly complained about her comments. Behar's joke did lack good taste, but not because she supposedly offended Christians. After all, no faith leaders or organizations have publicly complained about her comments. Instead, Behar was insensitive to those with mental illness. These sorts of jokes and offhand comments create stigma and prop up an culture that inflicts suffering and even death upon people with mental illnesses.

Whether she was right or wrong, it was a decent move on Behar's behalf to offer Pence a public apology. And if the reports are accurate, it sounds like Pence also was gracious during their call.

But let's not lose sight of the fact that her joke was absolutely not an attack of Christians or any of faith for that matter. Generating false outrage to score political points doesn't seem like the good samaritan thing to do.

Instead, the next positive step could be for Behar and Pence to agree that jokes referencing mental illness should remain off-limits, and they can take their political disagreements elsewhere.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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