It's apparently all the rage this week among mainstream media religion features to hype the unorthodox views of Boston University's Jennifer Wright Knust.
On Monday, Newsweek's Lisa Miller uncritically presented her readers with a summary of arguments from the professor's new book. The next day "On Faith," -- a joint Newsweek/Washington Post online religion news/comment feature -- published the first of a multi-part series of guest columns by Knust.
Yesterday, CNN's Belief Blog joined in, granting Knust a "My Take" blog post focused on attacking Scripture's teachings on homosexuality.
To be fair, CNN offers a disclaimer that "[t]he opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jennifer Wright Knust," but the writer's claims are so suspect that one wonders why editors didn't hold off on publication until they had a counterpoint ready to go.
For example, Knust reads present-day cultural assumptions backwards into scriptural text when she sees homoeroticism in biblical accounts of the close friendship between King David and King Saul's son Jonathan:
Despite common misperceptions, biblical writers could also imagine same-sex intimacy as a source of blessing. For example, the seemingly intimate relationship between the Old Testament's David and Jonathan, in which Jonathan loved David more than he loved women, may have been intended to justify David’s rise as king.
Jonathan, not David, was a king’s son. David was only a shepherd. Yet by becoming David’s “woman,” Jonathan voluntarily gave up his place for his beloved friend.
Thus, Jonathan “took great delight in David,” foiling King Saul’s attempts to arrange for David’s death (1 Samuel 19:1). Choosing David over his father, Jonathan makes a formal covenant with his friend, asking David to remain faithful to him and his descendants.
Sealing the covenant, David swears his devotion to Jonathan, “for he loved him as he loved his own life” (1 Samuel 20:17). When Jonathan is killed, King David composes a eulogy for him, praising his devotion: “greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women” (2 Samuel 1:26).
It reminds me an awful lot of how a small minority of historians have tried to argue that Abraham Lincoln may have been gay, citing his close friendship with his former roommate, Joshua Speed.
Hopefully CNN will seek out and publish a counterpoint, but Belief Blog's quickness to jump on the bandwagon in hyping Knust's loopy views points to the mainstream media's liberal bias in religion reporting.