Many journalists recognize that Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has become a lightning rod for religious conflict in America. What some columnists seem less willing to recognize is the intense hatred that he has engendered among those offended by his Christianity.
A Dec. 6 USA Today article by Reid Cherner, "Why Tebow Stirs Debate," acknowledged that Tebow's very public expressions of faith have caused intense religious controversy, and made some people uncomfortable. Cherner also quoted former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer criticizing Tebow for excessively preaching his outspoken religious faith.
With the 2012 elections less than a year away, the liberal media are attacking President Obama's potential opponents on a number of fronts, but especially on religion. ABC, CBS and NBC have used religion in two ways, either painting the field of GOP primary challengers as a God Squad of religious zealots or playing up differences in their faith. Whether they're letting viewers know that "Rick Perry's gonna have to answer some questions about the people" he prays with, fretting that God "told Michele Bachmann," to enter politics, or devoting no less than 40 segments to the question of whether Mormonism is "a cult" or if "Mitt Romney is a Christian," the networks have repeatedly used faith against the GOP field.
Media preoccupation with the GOP candidates' faith is the exact opposite of how they covered (or didn't) candidate Obama's 20-year attendance at the church of a racist, anti-American pastor who subscribed to "black liberation theology," or Obama's half-Muslim heritage. The MRC's Culture and Media Institute studied network news reporting on the GOP candidates and religion from Jan. 1-Oct. 31, 2011, and compared it to coverage of the Democratic presidential primary candidates over the same period in 2007. The discrepancy, in both the amount and tone of the coverage, was striking. Network reporters, so disinterested in the beliefs of Obama and his rivals for the 2008 nomination, took every opportunity to inject religion into their coverage of the GOP field. (CMI's key findings after the jump)
On yesterday's Rainbow PUSH Saturday Morning Forum, broadcast nationally on the Word Network, Jesse Jackson spoke of Christmas. The activist, 1984 and 1988 Democratic presidential candidate, and former Clinton spiritual adviser told (video here) of "non-Christian" merchants who "use Jesus to lure you in to Santa Claus's birthday party." Here's what he said:
Suggest that infrequent churchgoer Barack Obama may not really be a sincere from-the-heart Christian and MSNBC's anchors will be chief among the media pack to denounce you for questioning the president's religious faith.
But when it comes to Herman Cain, MSNBC's Martin Bashir is comfortable not merely charging the presidential contender as a hypocrite but suggesting he's headed to Hell (MP3 audio here; video follows page break).
In an item at the Associated Press datelined early Monday morning not labeled as "analysis" or otherwise characterized as the reporter's point of view, the wire service's Amy Teibel went on the attack against current developments in Israeli politics and society in extraordinarily harsh terms, to the point where her report could easily have been mistaken for a leftist's political stump speech.
Teibel's screed began with the headline ("A battle is raging for the soul of Israeli society"), and went downhill from there (what are in my view deliberately loaded words are in bold):
On the first Sunday of Advent, The Washington Post devoted two stories on the front of its Arts section to revisiting last year's controversy over a gay-left exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery that starred a video with ants crawling on the crucifix of Jesus. The "Hide/Seek" propaganda assembly is now on display at the Brooklyn Museum, and Post critic Philip Kennicott thinks the "right-wing Catholic ire" is already so yesterday: "the pace of cultural change on gay and lesbian issues is so rapid that even a year may have transformed the dynamics."
Whereas last year, museum bureaucrat Wayne Clough removing the ants-on-Jesus video was "a dark day for the Smithsonian, a successful, coordinated attack on free speech," Kennicott is still championing the gay-left curators and their vision of what they now call "the inherent queerness of America." They can't stand the idea that conservatives get to have any say at all.
On November 15 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I compared how two of the leading wire services, Reuters and the Associated Press, covered the announcement by Geron Corp. of its decision to halt the first government-approved clinical trial involving embryonic stem cells. Reuters fairly noted that "teams working with adult stem cells -- a less ambitious area -- are making good progress." While one could quarrel with the characterization of adult stem cell research as "less ambitious" (unless you throw in cloning, which is what sometimes seems to be embryonic researchers' primary area of intrigue), its "good progress" descriptor was fair. Meanwhile, the Associated Press's coverage of the same story failed to even recognize the existence of adult stem cell research.
Wesley Smith, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center on Human Exceptionalism and an influential prolife author, has observed that the establishment press has largely come down where AP did. A Friday Catholic News Agency item elaborates (bolds are mine):
Imagine if a newspaper disproportionately and endlessly harped upon decades-old crimes committed by black people. Even if the stories were all true, people would be rightfully outraged at the paper’s overt racism in consistently and repeatedly targeting the past misdeeds of people of one particular race. The public would never allow such blatant bigotry.
Such a comparison can be applied to the Boston Globe and the Catholic Church, except this bigotry is real, and there is no public outrage.
Time's Tim Padgett regurgitated just about every liberal talking point on abortion in an online column on Thursday which tried to claim that the Catholic Church's pro-life efforts in the U.S. were pointless and out of step with the laity: "Aren't they just wasting our time as well as their own?" Padgett cherry-picked from Church documents and quoted from the infamous pro-abortion front group Catholics for Choice.
The Miami and Latin America bureau chief for the struggling magazine began his article, "Why Radical Pro-Lifers Are Wasting Their Time: Most American Catholics support abortion rights," by all but gloating over the rejection in Mississippi of a proposed personhood amendment: "Now that voters in Mississippi have rejected the so-called personhood agenda — the radical anti-abortion effort to make the moment of conception the legal beginning of human life — the movement says it plans to take its referendum to a number of other states in 2012."
The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn told officials at the Brooklyn Museum that a video depicting Jesus Christ on a cross with ants crawling over him is “disrespectful” to Christians and requested that it be removed, but Bishop Nicholas DeMarzio is not making public the correspondence between him and the museum.
The video, “A Fire in My Belly” by the late gay activist David Wojnarowicz, was pulled from a “gay erotic” exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. last year after CNSNews.com reported on it and Catholic groups and some members of Congress complained that the exhibit should be closed and that the video was offensive to Christians.
The TLC show "19 Kids and Counting" chronicles the daily activities of a loving, responsible Arkansas family of two parents and 19 children navigating their way through life with large clan. But last week, when Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar announced they are expecting their 20th child in April, the media reaction was far from joyous.
To Washington Post religion reporter Lisa Miller, evangelical ministers like Rick Warren and Tim Keller should be applauded for their "clinical frankness" about God's design for sexual pleasure within the covenant of marriage in their sermons, books, and even tweets.
Initiative 26 -- which would have amended the Mississippi state constitution to include unborn children as persons protected under the law -- was rejected by Magnolia State voters last night.
In response, Georgetown professor and Washington Post "On Faith" blog contributor Jacques Berlinerblau quickly hacked out a post celebrating the temporary victory over the "devastating sleeper cell of a law" but warned that in losing, those dastardly villains on the religious right may have actually won (emphasis mine):
The day before Mississippi voters went to the polls to decide whether to amend the state constitution to define "person" to include unborn children as early as the point of conception, Washington Post's Sally Quinn set out to denounce Initiative 26 on the "On Faith" blog that she edits.
Quinn, an atheist, groused that religious voters in the Magnolia State may make a significant change to the state constitution in order to protect unborn children's lives:
The arrest of former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky on pedophilia charges has absolutely nothing to do with the Catholic Church. Neither does an alleged coverup by Penn State officials of repeated allegations of sexual misconduct against Sandusky. Yet religion reporter Cathy Lynn Grossman found a way to shoehorn the Church into the story in a November 6 "Faith & Reason" blog post at USAToday.com entitled "Catholic bishops' lesson for Penn State: Call the cops!":
“[S]ocial conservatives believe that efforts to protect gays from assault, discrimination or bullying impinge on their religious freedom to express and act on their belief that homosexuality is an abomination. That’s stating it harshly, but it is the underlying belief,” Time religion reporter Amy Sullivan huffed in a November 4 Swampland blog post on the magazine’s website.
“[T]he Michigan legislature is doing its best to make me hang my head in shame,” Sullivan, a “transplanted Michigander” groused, explaining that:
Yesterday I noted the unbalanced reporting of Washington Post blogger Elizabeth Flock regarding a Georgia Christian university's new policy requiring all faculty to agree to abide by certain standards of conduct, including not engaging in homosexual acts, premarital sex, or adultery.
Today I found an equally biased and harshly-toned blog post from Nsenga Burton, editor-at-large of the Washington Post-owned website TheRoot.com.
Here we go again. A Christian college is revising its code of conduct for faculty members, expecting a commitment to personal conduct that's in line with biblical ethics, including on matters of sexual behavior.
But, of course, all the liberal media will focus on is a new "ban" on gay or lesbian faculty members at Shorter University, a Baptist institution with campuses in Atlanta and Rome, Georgia.
Those prestigious publishers at Simon & Schuster selected All Saints Day to unleash the book world's latest attempt at mocking Christianity. It’s called "The Last Testament, by God."
The author is David Javerbaum, a top writer for 11 years for "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central, perhaps America's leading religion-hating TV network. Is it any surprise that the critics are loving it?
Outspoken Christian athlete Tim Tebow, now the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos, has been widely criticized by many in the media. NFL analysts are starting to admit that criticism, in large part, has been because of his faith.
''Inside the NFL'' analyst and former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Cris Collinsworth concluded that much of the hatred against Tebow was based on his religious beliefs. Responding to a question from fellow host James 'JB' Brown, Collinsworth showed his disgust for Tebow's treatment: ''It's unbelievable, though, JB, that one of the best kids - just pure kids that's ever come into the NFL - is hated because of his faith, because of his mission work, because of the fact that he wears it on his sleeve, because of the fact that he lives his life that he talks about.''
Actress Susan Sarandon is notorious for espousing liberal causes and bashing conservatives. Now, she is attacking the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI.
In a public interview with Bob Balaban at the Hamptons Film Festival, Sarandon told an audience that she had sent a copy of a book to Pope John Paul II. She then said: “The last Pope, not this Nazi one we have now.”
It was said of Al Smith, a Roman Catholic, that if he won the 1928 presidential election he would take orders from the Vatican and not uphold the Constitution.
John F. Kennedy famously confronted that anti-Catholic prejudice in a 1960 speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. Kennedy said in part, "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the president -- should he be Catholic -- how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote..."
Only at the self-described "Essential Global News Network" could the Sunday deaths in Egypt of 26 people, mostly Coptic Christians, be kept out of a story's headline and their mention deferred until the third paragraph.
But that's what readers will see in the four-paragraph grab which follows from a much longer item by the Associated Press's Maggie Michael yesterday:
Preaching that homosexuality is a sin is "bullying" and akin to "child molestation" and must be stopped, argued Mitchell Gold of Faith in America on today's "MSNBC Live" hosted by Thomas Roberts.
For his part, openly gay host Roberts failed to question Gold's assertion or to hold out that Gold's view may at best border on anti-religious bigotry (emphasis mine; video courtesy of MRCTV's Bob Parks follows page break):
NBC’s series The Playboy Club remains in search of an audience, so some stars are lashing out on Twitter at the Parents Television Council, who’s calling for the show to be cancelled, since it promotes one of the world’s leading pornography brands.
David Krumholtz – who many might remember from CBS’s “Numb3rs”– attacked the PTC on Twitter for “randomly” choosing the Playboy show, but eventually turned to attacking Mormons and Catholics for having “a long history of degrading women.” When someone asked how Catholics currently degrade women, he snapped back “My bad. I should have said little children instead of women.”
NRB conducted a study of "the practices of Apple and its iTunes App Store, Google, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, as well as Internet service providers AT&T, Comcast and Verizon." Its conclusion: with the notable exception of Twitter, "social media websites are actively censoring Christian viewpoints.
NPR's Sylvia Poggioli filed a completely one-sided report on Wednesday's All Things Considered about a radical-left organization, along with a group purporting to represent victims of clergy sexual abuse, lobbying the International Criminal Court to investigate the top leadership of the Catholic Church, including Pope Benedict XVI, for "crimes against humanity." Poggioli played sound bites only from those involved with the effort, and none from anyone sympathetic with the Church.
Host Melissa Block stated in her introduction that "the International Criminal Court in The Hague has dealt with plenty of war criminals and warlords, but it may soon have a different target: the Catholic Church. The tribunal is being asked to investigate top Vatican officials over the global clerical sex abuse scandal....the argument is that the sex offenses meet the legal definition of crimes against humanity, and should be prosecuted."
It sure didn't take HBO's Bill Maher long to make his first hateful remark about the religious right.
Roughly one minute into his opening monologue on Friday's "Real Time" the host said, "In today's Republican Party there's a term for people who hate charity and love killing - Christian" (video follows with transcript and commentary):