Nik Wallenda's death-defying high-wire walk across the Grand Canyon (technically the Little Colorado River Gorge) nabbed 13 million viewers on Discovery Channel and generated more than a million tweets. But while many aspects of the event, the coverage and Wallenda were being discussed, one aspect seemed to capture more attention than the others: Wallenda's prominent profession of faith during the 23-minute walk across the 1,400-foot wire.
As Wallenda inched across the cable suspended 1,500 feet in the air, he near-continuously offered up public testament of his strong Christian beliefs. That became especially important when the rising winds over the gorge began to sway the cable Wallenda stood on.
At one point, midway across the chasm, Wallenda had to stop and sit on the cable to steady it, saying aloud on the microphone, "Golly, wind. Go away, in the name of Jesus. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for calming that cable, Lord. Oh, yeah. That's my savior. That's Jesus."
That was just one religious moment of the stunt, which began with a prayer with Wallenda's family and Christian televangelist Joel Osteen and featured Wallenda giving up praise multiple times.
Actor Neil Patrick Harris poked fun at the constant faith-talk, writing, "Proud of Nik Wallenda for his epic high wire walk. Less proud of agreeing to drink a shot every time he said 'Jesus'. I can’t feel my face."
Conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch loved the prominent display of faith, writing, "Evangelism via entertainment on a tightrope and a major cable network. Brilliant."
However, comedian and noted atheist Ricky Gervais came at the incident from the opposite perspective, saying, "Well done Jesus for getting that bloke across the Grand Canyon safely. I bet he feels silly for wasting so much time practicing now."
"Breaking Bad" and "Under the Dome" star Dean Norris stated, "Regardless of religious belief or not,feel little happier bout life then had #wallenda kept saying thank you nihilists, life is meaningless."
And comedian Doug Benson raised a legitimate question, writing, "Do you think Discovery Channel knew how Jesus-y Wallenda was gonna get on that wire? #HelpMeToRelaxLord #GodYouAreSoGood."