Updated at 22:51 EST (see bottom of post) | Wiley Miller's "Non Sequitur" strip is syndicated in newspapers throughout the country, including the Washington Post. To the extent Miller delves into politics and social or religious critique, it's generally from the left.
Today, the day before Ash Wednesday, Miller's February 21 cartoon was entitled "Divine Intervention" and depicted a bishop in ecclesial dress at a bar, with five empty communion chalices in front of him, being cut off by his bartender (see cartoon below).
"Birth control has become a surprise obsession among the GOP presidential candidates this year."
That's the misleading teaser headline on page A1 of the February 21 Washington Post. After all, it was a liberal Democratic Congress that passed and a liberal Democratic president who is enforcing provisions of ObamaCare that will force religious institutions to provide contraceptive coverage in insurance plans, even if doing so violates religious conscience. Yet to the liberal media, it's social conservatives who are waging "culture wars."
By now you’ve likely read or seen Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum talking about Barack Obama’s “phony theology.”
Unfortunately, in their attempt to accuse the former Pennsylvania Senator of impugning the President’s religious beliefs, America's media collectively cherry-picked from a 41 minute speech to completely misrepresent what Santorum actually said (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In "How Obama should fight the ‘war on religion,’" Post religion correspondent Lisa Miller waited all of two paragraphs to mock the Catholic Church. "It seems far-fetched, from my perspective, to think that God should have any opinion at all about contraceptive technology, let alone about which corporate entity should pay for it," Miller snarked. "Yet that is the argument the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops made last week. God doesn’t like birth control, they said. To force Catholic organizations to pay for birth control goes against God and so against the consciences of right-minded Catholics who believe in God."
The TV musical “Glee” has a long history of pushing the envelope on sexual matters and promoting the homosexual lifestyle. The Valentine’s Day episode of Glee, titled “Heart,” marked a new low in Glee’s campaign against traditional sexual morality, by mocking the Bible.
A lesbian student, Santana, asked a group of Christians called the “God Squad” to sing for her girlfriend as part of a “singing telegram” performance. The idea didn’t sit well with a new homeschooled student, who conveniently fit all the stereotypes liberals have of homeschoolers (the unsocialized, barefoot son of a Bible salesman who listens to talk radio but doesn’t own a TV). His reluctance sparked a conversation among the so-called “God Squad” about the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality.
The MSM loves Jeremy Lin for now. But how long before he gets the Tebow treatment? Check out the video of the opening of today's Morning Joe. In just over two minutes, the show ran clips of Knicks player Jeremy Lin hitting a three-point buzzer beater last night . . . no fewer than 10 times.
But Morning Joe was far from finished. I counted a total of 28 Lin clips during the course of the show. Donnie Deutsch opined that "this is one of the few things where the 1% and the 99% can agree." Mike Barnicle later expressed a similar sentiment. Clearly the Lin story is moving America. But query how long he will remain a uniting figure should the MSM, as in the case of similarly-inspirational Tim Tebow, start mocking his devout Christianity? Video after the jump.
In an attempt to be “edgy,” singer Nicki Minaj did the most banal thing possible at the Grammys on Feb. 12. She mocked the Roman Catholic Church in a live performance of her new song “Roman Holiday.” Her anti-Catholic mishmash of a performance came with the support of the group that produced the Grammys, The Recording Academy.
Rapper Nicki Minaj gave a sacrilegious performance mocking a host of Catholic rituals and practices, including the sacrament of confession and the rite of exorcism. Her performance began in a confessional, snarling at a “priest” as if she were possessed. (Video available here)
When it comes to culturally liberal policy positions, MSNBC has been repeatedly eager to portray conservatives as engaged in a "war on women" with Democrats and the Obama White House being the white knights riding to the defense of damsels in distress everywhere.
But when one program dared to deviate a little from the party line earlier this week to voice concerns about the Obama administration treading on religious liberties, it left a pair of liberal Democratic senators rather irate, reported BuzzFeed late Thursday evening:
Suffer me to begin with a suggestion: if you ever have the chance to hear the Rev. William Dailey of Notre Dame law school speak, jump on it. Dailey is a stunningly brilliant advocate, among the best I have ever encountered on any issue.
Dailey appeared on today's Up With Chris Hayes on MSNBC, where he masterfully made the case against the Obama administration's order forcing Catholic institutions to provide services that violate their moral principles. Predictably, the panel resorted to an ad hominem argument against him. Panelist Michaela Angela David implicitly, and Hayes himself explicitly, argued that celibate Catholic priests lack the moral authority to make arguments on the issues at hand. Dailey deftly turned the tables. Video after the jump.
On Monday, MSNBC's Martin Bashir tried to obscure the real policy issues in the contraceptive mandate row by harping on Newt Gingrich's past infidelities. On Wednesday, the afternoon host stocked his program with liberals who backed the Obama administration's position and complained Republicans were engaging in a "toxic waste of time" by calling for congressional debate on the contraceptive mandate.
A "breaking" email I received from USA Today this morning is a definite sign of establishment press scrambling to give deceptive cover to an Obama administration mandate whose unpopularity continues to grow as more people become aware of it. It also shows the lengths to which the press will go to keep the relatively disengaged, which would include those who only primarily informed via email and other brief alerts without digging further, from encountering basic facts.
The email pretends that the president is about to announce a "decision" (as opposed to changing one), and refers to a "rule" without saying where the rule came from, or why:
Filed from CPAC 2012 in Washington, D.C. -- Shortly before noon Eastern today, Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) walked through the bloggers lounge here at CPAC, answering a few questions from reporters and bloggers.
I asked Gov. Perry if, in light of the Obama administration's move to force Catholic institutions to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees, he felt vindicated about his claims of an Obama administration war on religion. His response:
“Stop Compromising,” pleaded New York Times Editorial Page editor Andrew Rosenthal on his “Loyal Opposition” blog Wednesday morning.
Rosenthal was aggrieved to hear Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod suggest the president was open to “compromise”on the administration’s plan requiring religious institutions to violate their beliefs and cover birth control in their employees’ health insurance plans. (Apparently compromise is no longer a good thing in Washington.)
Rosenthal (pictured) urged Obama to make a more full-throated defense of the rule, pointing out that “this isn’t a theocracy.”
Even Chris Matthews, who famously gushed about the "thrill" Barack Obama gave his leg, is troubled by the President's "frightening" decision to force Catholic charities to provide birth control through health care. Discussing the issue on Tuesday's Hardball, the host sputtered, "...How can you make the [religious] teacher pay for birth control without losing their authority, their moral authority?"
Matthews didn't seem sure how to broach the subject. Talking to E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and Susan Milligan of U.S. News and World Reports, he warned, "It gets to that interesting point to me, which is frightening, when the state tells the church what to do." (Interesting?)
Media critic Mollie Hemingway, a contributor to GetReligion.org, has an excellent post up today at CNN's Belief Blog about how the liberal media did a horrible job when it came to objectively reporting the implications of the recent Komen for the Cure/Planned Parenthood row. In fact, the media have shown themselves "effective partisans" by telling only "half the story," the half spoon-fed by socially liberal lobby groups like Planned Parenthood.
Be sure to check out the whole thing here, but below the page break I've appended some key excerpts (emphasis mine):
Of course, true to MSNBC form, Bashir ignored the legitimate policy and religious liberty implications of Gingrich's complaint to dredge up Gingrich's past moral failings, namely his adulteries, as a way of fatally wounding the messenger and hence, Bashir hopes, negating the message [MP3 audio available here; video posted below page break]:
Editor's Note: What follows is a letter that NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center president Brent Bozell sent to the presidents of the news divisions of ABC, CBS, and NBC as well as to CNN president Jim Walton. It has also been carbon copied to 10 leaders representing various Catholic and Protestant faith organizations.
The broadcast and cable television networks need to report the current, unprecedented assault against freedom of religion in this country, as well as the millions of Americans who would be left out in the cold by the Obama administration if it does not rescind HHS’s recently issued insurance mandate requiring contraceptive coverage. As our statistics and analysis below outline, they are not, and it’s a glaring double standard.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, appearing on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, told host David Gregory, "You just managed to precisely repeat the Obama administration's line."
The subject being discussed was the new edict from the Department of Health and Human Services requiring religious organizations to provide contraception to their employees (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
Mormon fear at the New York Times. The paper’s online “Room for Debate” section, which “invites knowledgeable outside contributors to discuss news events and other timely issues” on Monday asked “What Is It About Mormons?," inspired by the prospect of Mitt Romney winning the Republican nomination for president. The fact that the Senate has for the last five years been led by a Mormon, Democrat Harry Reid, has failed to trigger similar concerns at the Times. The Times also shows it feels free to shower at least some religions with derision and mockery.
President Obama and his radical feminist enforcers have had it in for Catholic medical providers from the get-go. It's about time all people of faith fought back against this unprecedented encroachment on religious liberty. First, they came for the Catholics. Who's next?
This weekend, Catholic bishops informed parishioners of the recent White House edict forcing religious hospitals, schools, charities and other health and social service providers to provide "free" abortifacient pills, sterilizations and contraception on demand in their insurance plans — even if it violates their moral consciences and the teachings of their churches.
As part of Obama-care “reform,” the administration is requiring religious organizations include free birth control in their employee insurance plans. Monday’s front-page story on the controversy by Denise Grady took the perspective of supporters of the rule change, which Catholics and others call an attack on religious freedom: “Ruling on Contraception Draws Battle Lines at Catholic Colleges.”
The jump-page photo featured Fordham law student Bridgette Dunlap (pictured right), who organized an off-campus clinic to provide birth control for students, and the story both began and concluded from her perspective, in defense of the change.
A noted Christian religious expert is the latest to confirm something careful watchers of the media have known for years: The American media is peddling New Age spirituality to its viewers as a substitute for traditional religion.
The Brian Williams MSNBC debate in Florida was not only dreadfully boring – I never thought I could ever long for commercials – it was pathetic. Freed of the fear of triggering an avalanche of applause against loaded questions, Williams and his co-moderators couldn’t bring themselves to utter one single question asking the Republican candidates to respond to Obama mistakes. For almost two hours, not one Obama failure was cited. Apparently, his record is spotless.
Instead, the candidates (especially Rick Santorum) were thrown four questions surrounding the 2005 legal battle in Florida over pulling the feeding tube of Terri Schiavo, which pushed all the liberal media hot buttons about “far right” religious conservatives throwing their religion around where it didn’t belong. This isn’t breaking news. But like the ABC debate fixated on contraception, it’s evidence that liberal networks are focused on their agenda, not on the voters’ concerns.
You have to give McKay Coppins credit. The Buzzfeed writer today managed to work in hints of anti-Mormon skepticism and the complaints of the gay rights lobby into his January 24 story -- "What's With Mitt's Mormon Money?" -- on Romney's tax records.
A group of conservative evangelical leaders met in Texas last weekend and endorsed a Roman Catholic for president. Given the history of evangelical antipathy toward the theological underpinnings of the Roman Catholic Church, that in itself signals a remarkable evolution (pardon the word), along with a considerable amount of political pragmatism.
The blessing of what was once called the "Religious Right" fell on the once-married Rick Santorum and not the thrice married and more recent convert to Catholicism, Newt Gingrich.
Clay Waters at NewsBusters and the Media Research Center did a great job Monday of exposing the ugly, vindictive, know-it-all and snotty write-up on Tim Tebow generated by Harvey Araton at the New York Times after Tebow's Denver Broncos were unceremoniously eliminated from the NFL playoffs on Saturday by the New England Patriots.
Perhaps the most offensive element of Araton's work was its headline: "Curtain Closes on Tebow’s Season, but His Sideshow Goes On." It is more than clear from Araton's text and tone that he considers Tebow's pre- and post-game charitable activities part of that "sideshow." Apparently, a New York Times sportswriter believes he is in a better position than team executives, Coach John Fox, and Tebow himself to decide what is and isn't a distraction from team unity and focus. To show that Araton's twisted outlook isn't universally shared among sportswriters, I give you excerpts from Rick Reilly's outstanding Friday column at ESPN, which I selected as a Positivity Post at my home blog on Sunday:
Check out the following alarming headline for a story from National Public Radio (NPR):
“Catholic Church Still Hiding Sexual Predators?”
Wow. That is a provocative and disturbing headline, indeed. The thought that the Catholic Church is “still hiding sexual predators” in 2012 is very troubling. It surely seems to be an article worth investigating.
We can forgive Pittsburgh Steelers for avoiding the mention of the name of a certain quarterback who plays for the Denver Broncos in the coming days.
Related forgiveness does not extend to Jesse J. Holland at the Associated Press concerning his coverage of the Supreme Court's u-u-u-unanimous ruling today that religious workers cannot sue for job discrimination. As seen here at a Weekly Standard excerpt, the unanimity of the ruling was in the first sentence of the wire service's initial report. Now look how deep it's buried in the 4:10 p.m. version of Holland's report, and how the AP writer attempted to water down the ruling's significance in the interim (bolds are mine):
During Saturday's GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire hosted by ABC, after two of the moderators - World News anchor Diane Sawyer and local ABC affiliate anchor Josh McElveen - had devoted six minutes to a discussion of what the candidates would say to a gay couple "sitting in your living rooms" about same-sex marriage and adoption, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich highlighted the double standard in the media's left-leaning sympathy toward gay rights issues but lack of concern about anti-Christian "bigotry" from the left. Gingrich complained: (Video below)
At the same time that the nation's leading networks can't call Obama a "liberal" more than about once a year, NPR's religion reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty on Monday announced Rick Santorum was "very, very conservative" on the social issues, in addition to being "very pro-life." He even -- horrors! -- home-schools his seven children.
"He's Catholic. He's billed himself very much as the family values candidate," the reporter announced on NPR's afternoon show Talk of The Nation. "His wife Karen has homeschooled all seven of their children. He's surging in the polls because he's been very, very conservative on these issues." They also discussed if white conservative Christians dislike Obama because they're racists.