Published July 14, 2015
Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from Gretchen Carlson's new book, "Getting Real."
I’d been a working journalist, reporting the news and anchoring broadcasts for fifteen years when I came to Fox News in 2005.
One thing I noticed right away was that Fox was the first place I’d worked where it was okay to talk openly about faith on the air.
I was pleased, of course, but it also made sense to me. For me faith has never been an abstraction, but a real part of my life. I don’t think of faith as a political talking point or a matter of debate, as it is often portrayed. Faith is a meaningful part of the culture, and where our culture is headed is a pretty important topic.
I think if you believe something, you should say something. That’s the code I live by. But the most important thing I have to say about faith is that it’s real, and being a person of faith makes me more real.
I don’t mind that people call me a culture warrior for my stance on faith issues, even though it is often meant in a derogatory way. I think if you believe something, you should say something. That’s the code I live by. But the most important thing I have to say about faith is that it’s real, and being a person of faith makes me more real.
I’ve written before about growing up in a family where faith was at the center. My mother’s father, Grandpa Hyllengren, was a prominent Lutheran minister in our town of Anoka, Minnesota, and our lives revolved around the church.
Grandpa never preached politics from the pulpit. Instead, he talked about values and ordinary life, using homespun parables to demonstrate how faith could help us live more fully and more charitably.
In this way I learned that faith had real meaning to the way I interacted with others. Grandpa taught me that you didn’t have to agree with someone to love them—a lesson we could use a lot more of today.
My parents demonstrated that same practical Christianity. In our household, being a Christian was more than going to church on Sunday. We weren’t Bible thumpers. We practiced a daily Christianity that was grounded in action.
My father always told me, “Gretchen, people will know you’re a Christian by the way you act.”
My parents were perfect examples of that. Mom was a regular volunteer in the church and in the community, participating in Meals on Wheels and making Easter baskets for those in need. Dad belonged to the hospital board and the Kiwanis.
That spirit of involvement is not as prevalent today. People say they’re too busy. But my parents were also busy, running a business and raising four kids.
It comes down to priorities—and to caring. That’s the way I was raised, and that’s the way I’ve tried to raise my children. We have taken special care to see that Kaia and Christian are not swept up in the entitlement culture that is so prevalent today.
Our life in the church gives us a way to practice charity. We are a family that volunteers—whether that’s Thanksgiving dinner at our church, or playing chess and participating in dance parties at homeless shelters.
Whenever I think I’m too busy, I think of my parents and how they always found time to give just a little bit more.
My grandfather has been gone for many years, but I always credit him with being the one who made faith personal for me.
I remember going up to the altar for Communion and kneeling down. He would brush his hand softly across my cheek before giving me the bread and wine, as if to say, “You’re my girl.” In this way he gave me the gift of faith, which I carry in my heart to this day.
In a world of uncertainty, which as a journalist I am often called upon to report, faith is the one oasis of certainty I can rely on.