Secular leftists in the media don't often have use for religion, particularly Christianity, except, it seems, when biblical passages can be isolated out of context to bash religious conservatives over the head as wicked for opposing big government or for standing up for traditional moral values.
Enter Joe Klein, Christian theologian extraordinaire, who suggested in Time.com Swampland blog post yesterday that Jesus would make Fox News host Glenn Beck sweat it out a bit at the pearly gates:
If Jesus were around today, he might say that it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a telecharlatan to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
In a follow-up blog post from today, Klein thanked a commenter for passing along a passage from the gospel according to St. Matthew wherein Jesus taught that "when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men."
"The noisy proclamation of religiosity is usually a sign of the exact opposite," Klein preached regarding the August 28 Beck rally.
CNN on Friday disgustingly advocated for a watered-down, more politically correct version of Christianity.
Highlighted at its website was research from a Princeton theology professor on the state of Christianity among teenagers. The study found that American churches have fallen for PC feel-good morality that's afraid of confrontation - and the result is a generation unable to distinguish Christianity from simple theism.
The author of the study, Kenda Creasy Dean, said the process was "depressing" as she interviewed one Christian after another describing God as a "therapist" who exists to validate their "self-esteem." Worse yet, many of them could not give a coherent explanation of the Gospel, content with a general belief that God wants them to "feel good and do good."
And in MSM newsrooms across the fruited plain, there was much rejoicing. Incessant pressure to water down Christianity has finally paid off.
CNN reporter John Blake wrote a piece on the sad phenomenon with no introspection as to who might be causing it:
Time magazine's Joe Klein yesterday did what he does best: take one paragraph from a neoconservative's column and blow it out of proportion and out of context in order to go on an extended screed bashing conservatives in general and neocons in particular.
Writing for his magazine's Swampland blog yesterday, Klein addressed Bill Kristol's editorial for the August 30 Weekly Standard print edition entitled, "He's No Muslim, He's a Progressive."
Klein started off with a backhanded compliment:
Well, it's good to learn that there are limits to Bill Kristol's tactical skeevery. He clearly states here that Barack Obama is not a Muslim. No winks, no nods, no gratuitous McConnellesque "If he says he's not, that's okay with me."
With that out of the way, Klein dove into his screed:
Grossman explained that the comparison stems from conservatives who pointed out an incident in the early 1990s when Pope John Paul II halted a planned convent near the Auschwitz concentration camp. The nuns had every right to build the convent, but it was unwise and insensitive to do so, leading the pontiff to scrap the plan. By way of analogy, Muslims have every right to build a mosque near Ground Zero, but the insensitivity of doing so blocks from the site of the deadliest radical Islamic terror attack in U.S. history should lead Muslim leaders to call for the project to be scrapped.
But Grossman then went on to quote two liberals who reject the Auschwitz analogy as invalid before she conflated the Ground Zero mosque issue with isolated incidents across the country where other folks are raising NIMBY objections to mosques in their hometowns (emphasis Grossman's):
Daily Show host Jon Stewart has again come to the defense of the Ground Zero mosque-builders, complete with a graphic suggesting the opponents are conducting a “Mosque-erade.” Stewart brought in “senior religion correspondent” John Oliver, and predictably, they launched back into Catholic pedophile humor, as if it were fresh and original and so, well, 2002:
STEWART: Why should religious groups have to bend to people’s worst suspicions about them?
JOHN OLIVER: Because, Jon, there’s a difference between what you can do and what you should do. For instance, you can build a Catholic church next to a playground. Should you? Should you do that, Jon? Should you do that? [Whoops, laughter and applause.]
It's not often you see an obituary as snarky and bitter as the one written by British columnist Johann Hari announcing what he called the "slow, whining death of British Christianity" in the UK edition of GQ and online at The Huffington Post.
Citing an unlinked ICM study, which is not available on the organization's website, Hari called on reader to "put your hands together and give thanks, for I come bearing Good News. My country,Britain, is now on the most irreligious country on earth."
Hari called Christianity, "superstition," "weak," "cruel," and based on "intimidation." He predicted that, "As their dusty Churches crumble because nobody wants to go there" and predicted that "the few remaining Christians in Britain will only become more angry and uncomprehending."
While he mentioned Judaism and Islam twice, Hari focused his ridicule on Christianity and the Church of England. He used the survey to call for an end to government support for Anglicanism.
The atheists at the Daily Kos blog just keeping lobbing bombs. On Friday, the blogger with the handle "Something the Dog Said" protested the protests against the Cordoba Center mosque at Ground Zero. After predictably assigning the anti-abortion shooters to the Christian conservative camp, the Kosmonaut actually said the Muslims are "a pale reflection" of radicalism compared to Republicans:
In the end it is just the SOP of the Republican Party. Find and issue and whip up hysteria, without consideration of the long term affects or what might be lost by the tactic. It is just another of the legion of reasons why the modern Republican Party can not be trusted with the government of the United States or any single state for that matter. The radicalization they claim will come from mosques is just a pale reflection of the radicalization that has occurred in the ranks of their Party. If there is a group to fear, it is Radical Republicans, which is basically to say the most of the Republican Party at this point.
During live news coverage this afternoon, MSNBC's Chris Jansing demonstrated her apparent ignorance of the statistical maxim "correlation does not imply causation." Interviewing the authors of Red Families v. Blue Families, the daytime anchor gleefully reported the finding that states that voted Republican in the 2008 presidential election have higher rates of divorce, teen pregnancy, and unwed parenthood than states that voted for Barack Obama.
"You've heard the term a lot – 'family values' – but are they actually breaking up families?" the daytime anchor inquired enthusiastically. "According to one book, the so-called liberal blue states actually have more stable family units than culturally conservative red states."
Presenting the findings as a nonpartisan analysis of statistical data, Jansing omitted the fact that the authors, June Carbone and Naomi Cahn, are contributors to New Deal 2.0, a blog of the left-wing Roosevelt Institute designed to "discuss how the Great Recession has exposed the fault lines of traditional family values."
Writing for New Deal 2.0 on March 1, Carbone and Cahn lectured:
The "Spirited Atheist" of The Washington Post, Susan Jacoby, predictably trashed Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston as not only "poster children for the dumbing down of America" and as "most middle-class American parents' worst nightmare," but proof of what happens when religious people show off their contempt for book learning:
Although the children of politicians are generally off-limits, Bristol is an exception for two reasons. First, she has made herself into a public figure not only by sharing her personal life with the world but by her loopy performance as a spokesperson against teen pregnancy. (I wonder how it promotes the message that teen pregnancy is a bad idea when a young woman is financially rewarded and glamorized by the media precisely because she was a pregnant teen lucky enough to be the daughter of a famous mom.)
Second, Bristol was used by her mother as an asset to placate the religious right-wing base of the Republican Party during the 2008 campaign. She was a living demonstration of Sarah Palin's opposition to abortion: Look at my teenage daughter, she made a mistake and did the right thing by having the baby. The only more shameless aspect of Sarah's campaign was her constant exhibition of her Down Syndrome son. Look at me, I didn't have an abortion like those terrible elitist women who make fun of me for not reading books.
For all the daily talk on the Daily Kos that conservatives are dictatorial, their cast of bloggers isn't without grand designs for social control. Take this post: "Time to begin working for the death of religion (a rant)." The diarist "BlueMoon" expressed no attempt to disrupt free speech, but the "end of organized religion" must be attempted:
However, the time has come to begin work to actively disrupt official organized religion of all stripes. Yes, I know there are many good christians. But when I hear of another moral pronouncement coming out of the Roman Catholic church, I am ready to splutter.
The church of pedophiles that brought you Cardnal Law and the current head, Ratzinger dares open its filthy mouth again? To preach about morality?
The Reverend Phelps dares picket servicemen's funerals? And tell us all that "Heath [is] in Hell?" And call Lady Gaga a "proud whore"?
A variety of crazy wackos calling themselves the "Tea party" peddle vicious racism masquerading as christian faith.
Time magazine's Tim Padgett, who claims to be a Catholic, used the rose-colored glasses of his leftism to mercilessly bash his own church in an article on Monday where he compared Catholic bishops to "white Southern preachers [who] weren't ashamed to degrade African-Americans," labeled the Church "misogynous," and accused the institution of an "increasingly spiteful bigotry" against homosexuals.
Padgett, who wrote back in January 2009 that the communist Cuban revolution "deserves its due," launched a full-bore attack on the Church in the Time.com article, "The Vatican and Women: Casting the First Stone." Padgett wasted little time in unleashing his rage against the Church, labeling a recent Vatican document, which listed "grave crimes" according to canon law, "Rome's misogynous declaration," since, in his view, was an "avowal, as obtuse as it was malicious, that ordaining women into the priesthood was a sin on par with pedophilia."
The document in question, which revised the Catholic Church's concerning "exceptionally serious" crimes against faith and morals, does no such thing. Philip Pullella of Reuters reported on July 16 that "Monsignor Charles Scicluna, an official in the Vatican's doctrinal department, said there was no attempt to make women's ordination and pedophilia comparable crimes under canon...law....While sexual abuse was a 'crime against morality,' the attempt to ordain a woman was a 'crime against a sacrament,' he said, referring to Holy Orders (the priesthood)."
The Time writer used his mistaken premise to further attack the Church's hierarchy:
Joy Behar is no stranger to anti-Christian sentiments, except in her own mind.
On "The Joy Behar Show" July 15, the host railed against Christians who defended actor and director Mel Gibson in the wake of drunken anti-Semitic comments in 2006, but are silent about his recent racist and sexist comments. Moments later, however, Behar claimed she doesn't hate Christians.
Guest Rebecca Dana, a correspondent for The Daily Beast, explained to Behar that she had tried unsuccessfully to contact conservative evangelical leaders to comment on the latest controversy around Gibson, even though they had defended him for making anti-Semitic comments in 2006 around the time his "Passion of the Christ" movie was released. Dana said the impression Christians have given her is that it's acceptable to bash Jews and gays.
After Behar bashed Gibson for his racist/misogynist comments and Christians for not condemning him, guest Stephen Baldwin, a Christian actor, said people should look for ways to help him get better.
AOL News contributor Paul Wachter launched an inflammatory attack on Pope Benedict XVI in a Thursday post where he also defended recently-fired CNN editor Octavia Nasr for her eulogy of Hezbollah's spiritual leader. After hinting that the network "overreacted," Wachter suggested that CNN should also fire "anyone who speaks highly of the pope, who...has contributed to the deaths of millions from AIDS."
Wachter began his commentary, "Octavia Nasr Firing: Should CNN Also Ax Anyone Who Praises the Pope?," by recounting the former Middle Eastern affairs editor's Tweet where she expressed how she was "sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot." He then echoed Nasr's own synopsis of the Hezbollah spiritual leader: "Fadlallah left a complex legacy. He was staunchly anti-Zionist, a defender of suicide bombings and approved of the suicide attacks on American barracks in Beirut during the United States' ill-fated intervention in Lebanon during the country's civil war. But he also championed women's rights under Islam and spoke out against honor killings."
The writer, who also contributes to left-leaning publication such as New York Time Magazine, The Atlantic, and The Nation, then launched his attack on the Pope, and lumped in Jerry Fallwell, for good measure, at the end:
Marking the death of an atheist by depicting Jesus Christ in sex scenes might seem like a non-sequitur. Somehow, it made sense to the Portuguese edition of Playboy magazine.
The magazine features an actor portraying Jesus in at least four pornographic photos, including the cover, where he cradles an apparently dead - and bare-breasted - woman. Another photo depicts Jesus watching a lesbian kiss, while another shows him observing a topless woman reading a book.
The images are reportedly meant to commemorate the death of Portuguese author Jose Saramago. He wrote, among many other books, "The Gospel According to Jesus Christ," which "explored the psychological motivations that led Jesus to become a prophet." Saramago later wrote that the controversy around the book led him to move fromPortugal to the Canary Islands.
It's not the first time an international edition of the "men's magazine" has caused a stir by depicting a Christian figure. In its December 2008 issue, the Mexican edition featured a model dressed - barely - like the Virgin Mary
It's a curious phenomenon to see what the minds at The Huffington Post deem funny, and at least this one wasn't filed under the category "HuffPo Religion," but a series of images depicting Jesus Christ making unhinged statements wins the HuffPo's "Comedy" classification.
In a June 30 post, Katla McGlynn wrote that mocking Tea Party protestors by "juxtaposing" "hateful, ignorant, or otherwise nonsensical rants" but at the same time mocking a religious figure many hold very is sacred isn't only funny but it is also instructive about what she described as "people who claim to be Christians."
"The concept behind the site Tea Party Jesus is simple: Put the words of conservative Christian social and political figures in the mouth of Christ," McGlynn wrote. "The juxtaposition of hateful, ignorant, or otherwise nonsensical rants with serene photos of JC himself isn't only funny, but says a lot about the people who claim to be Christians."
"He's got the whole world in his hands?" To one atheist, it's more like ‘He's got the whole world under his thumb."
David Smalley, the editor of American Atheist magazine and a self-described "civil rights activist," wrote in a personal blog post June 7 that Christian daycare "a form of child abuse."
"In short, by starting your child off in a Christian environment, you are heading them down a path of forced ignorance," Smalley wrote. "At least let your child begin in a secular world, and if he or she chooses Christianity after an age of accountability, then so be it. But forcing them to learn things as fact that you don't even know to be true is a form of child abuse: inducing psychosis with thoughts of good and evil watching over them, as if they are constantly being graded or evaluated."
Smalley further stereotyped and generalized religion-based childcare by suggesting "it's bad for positive self-esteem, and slows social development later in life."
It’s been two months since Comedy Central censored Mohammed out of their cartoon “South Park.” Even the utterance of the name was bleeped. The blog Revolution Muslim quoted the world’s most notorious terrorist as an inspirational figure. “As Osama bin Laden said with regard to the cartoons of Denmark, ‘If there is no check in the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions.’”
But there has been no ceasefire in Comedy Central’s war on Christianity. The attacks on Catholic Americans just keep coming. On “The Daily Show” on June 17, fake correspondent Samantha Bee interviewed two priests and two nuns who are watchdogging Goldman Sachs for a liberal interfaith group.
Jon Stewart started the Catholic-bashing in his introduction: “Sometimes it’s easy to spot the villain in a story. Sometimes it’s not.”
The Washington Post’s really should consider renaming Anthony Stevens-Arroyo’s column in its “On Faith” blog. “Catholic America” should be “Liberal Democrat Catholic America,” just for the sake of truth in advertising.
On June 23, left-wing hack Stevens-Arroyo again injected his politics into the ostensibly religious column. In “Common good v corp. profits,” he actually wrote that Catholics should “embrace a redistribution of wealth.”
The column sought to explain how Catholics and others should view Judge Martin Feldman’s ruling overturning the Obama moratorium on off-shore drilling. Why, the reader may ask, should this event have Catholic significance, beyond the fact that a liberal writer whose column has “Catholic” in the title was upset about it?
Sometime-comedian Janeane Garofalo never passes up an opportunity to slam conservatives or, apparently, Christianity. The Huffington Post gave her an opportunity June 24 to kill two birds with one stone.
In an interview promoting her upcoming special on a network called EPIX, Garofalo compared the most widely-read book of all time, the Bible, to a Bill O'Reilly autobiography and a children's book authored by former President Bush.
When asked by a Huffington Post reader which of those three publications she'd rather read, Garofalo said, "Actually that's like six and one half, that is six and one half right there." Presumably, she meant to use the popular idiom, "six of one, half a dozen of the other."
"That's just three works of fiction targeted to a child-like audience so any, all, any one, none," Garofalo said. "I don't know how to read either, so that's kind of a drag."
Huffington Post blogger, Frank Schaeffer, has been trying to eradicate elements of the right for quite some time. Katie Bell had a great post on Monday covering his recent call to ‘eradicate' fundamental Christianity.
It's no secret that Schaeffer is very critical of religious elements in society. But on a side note, were you aware that he is a former member of the religious right? Apparently making mention of such information gives him street cred with the non-religious left. He mentions it nearly every time he opens his mouth. Take a drink every time Schaeffer mentions his past participation in the religious right, and you're sure to be hammered in no time.
Not content with attacking the religious right, Schaeffer has also made a career of attacking the conservative voice in general. Last year, he penned a column so bereft of facts that even the Huffington Post should have been embarrassed by the content. More troublesome is that this particular post included the pronouncement of a new Web site campaign that is wrong on two fronts: It incorrectly predicts the rise of violence perpetrated by the ‘far right' (anyone who dares to oppose Barack Obama), and it specifically labels conservative talk show hosts Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck as ‘domestic terrorists'.
Schaeffer states in his October 5, 2009 column that, "The extremism and paranoid delusions of the far, far loony right -- in other words The Republican Party today as led and deformed by Beck/Limbaugh/Fox and the fundamentalist "Christians" --- is now on full display."
Of the more than 300 corporate sponsors who have sponsored Comedy Central in the past, not a single one has indicated their intention to buy advertising time on the planned "JC" program should it ever be set to go to broadcast.
That's the victorious announcement today from Citizens Against Religious Bigotry (CARB), a group co-founded by NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell and a handful of other social conservative activists.
"The sponsors understand what the programming department at Comedy Central does not: Religious bigotry is bad business," Bozell noted in a statement. "With literally zero advertiser support for this program, the only reason Comedy Central would put it on their broadcast schedule is in an effort to offend Christianity and Christians. There is no valid business reason for airing 'JC,'" the Media Research Center founder argued.
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, was The Washington Post’s “On Faith” guest columnist on June 21. Predictably, she used the opportunity to bash the Catholic Church’s abortion policy. In “Should Church control access to health care?” Northup charged that the Catholic Church wields too much influence over policy decisions dealing with abortion.
Northup complained, “This year at home, we saw the U.S. government give the Conference on Catholic Bishops veto power over the health-care reform bill, and in the end, millions of American women were left with a policy that restricts insurance coverage for abortion services even for those who pay for their insurance with their own hard-earned dollars.”
Journalists have long been puzzled over Sarah Palin’s popularity. In November, Newsweek took a stab at the trend with its provocative cover of Palin in running clothes: “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah Palin: How Sarah Palin Hurts the GOP And the Country.”
Lisa Miller’s thesis is compelling if it is true, but journalists usually rely on hard facts, polls, maybe interviews with political scientists to prove their points. Unfortunately, Miller’s article contains none of these to support her theory that Palin is somehow the new leader of the Christian Right. Instead, she strings together a bunch of anecdotes and quotes to prove what she thinks is happening.
Not this again. There is obviously not enough going on in the world for Newsweek magazine this week because once again Sarah Palin is on the cover.
Palin, the former governor of Alaska and the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee was also on the cover of Newsweek back in November 2009, in running shorts. This time she is featured as "Saint Sarah: What's Palin's appeal to conservative Christian women says about feminism and the future of the religious right" in Newsweek's June 21 issue. Palin is depicted with halo on the cover for the story written by Lisa Miller, which attempts to rationalize Palin's convictions about the issue of abortion and her Christian faith.
However, Palin didn't think too highly of Newsweek's gesture. She responded on Fox News' June 11 broadcast of "On the Record with Greta van Sustren."
"Haven't seen it, but if the title and what I hear about the content is any indication of where Newsweek is going, it is no wonder Newsweek is doing so poorly," Palin said. "People are not reading that stuff. It is not relevant. It's not interesting stuff that they are making up and writing and that's why they are going down."
MSNBC’s Savannah Guthrie thinks the Vatican has “minimized” the clergy abuse scandals for months, before Pope Benedict’s Friday apology. And MSNBC seemed to do their level best to “minimize” that, during the 9a.m. EDT news hour.
Guthrie reported that the Vatican publicly apologized for the sex abuse scandals within the Catholic clergy Friday, “after months of minimizing” the scandals.
“I have to ask,” Guthrie said to NBC correspondent Jim Maceda, “what prompted this apology?”
On last night's "O'Reilly Factor," host Bill O'Reilly and guest analyst Arthel Neville discussed the possibly impending Comedy Central show "JC" - as in Jesus Christ.
Given the network's past treatment of Christianity, the portend for this show is hardly positive.
Which is why the Media Research Center has put together a coalition to ask advertisers to publicly pledge to not underwrite/support the show.
Citizens Against Religious Bigotry (CARB) (which Ms. Neville graciously mentioned by name) is made up of many organizations - made up of Christians, Jews and Muslims - who would like to see religion not be the butt of raunchy/tasteless jokes, and who don't think America's advertisers should help fund said alleged humor.
A petition to advertisers (to be found on the CARB website) has garnered more than 115,000 signatures thus far.
And if you aren't familiar with how Comedy Central does Christianity, watch this video and you'll get an idea of what can be expected should JC ever make it to the airwaves.
It's not just members of the media standing up to support disgraced journalist Helen Thomas after her unscheduled retirement caused by anti-Semitic remarks she made on camera last week.
The rabbi that caught her disgusting comments on videotape and put them on the Internet has received 25,000 hate-email messages - and counting.
Hours after MSNBC's Keith Olbermann actually called Rabbi David Nesenoff one of his "Worst Persons in the World," CBS-TV in New York reported the vicious electronic attacks streaming into the rabbi's inbox like a "ticker tape" (video follows with partial transcript, h/t HotAirPundit):
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd, and Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday’s “The Daily Rundown” were in “anguish” over the forced retirement of Helen Thomas, but showed little sympathy for the Israelis that the Hearst columnist so odiously disrespected.
“I think a lot of people feel some anguish about this because the comments were beyond the pale,” lamented Guthrie. “And yet it tarnishes a career that otherwise people would be celebrating because she was indeed a trailblazer.”
Glossing over the longtime reporter’s comments that Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and go back to Germany or Poland, Mitchell lauded Thomas’s career as “storied” and proceeded to hearken back to a time when Washington was an “all-male town” and Thomas was blazing the trail for women.
“When I first arrived here, after dinner, at political dinners, women went to one room, men went to another to smoke cigars and have brandy,” recalled Mitchell. “This was a very traditional place–not like New York or other East Coast cities.”
In an attempt to make excuses for Thomas while appearing to condemn her remarks, contradictions ran rampant. First up, Mitchell:
Editor's Note: The following originally appeared at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.
Sometimes it’s just so easy. I mean if I really wanted to, I could find all the material needed to expose the folly of the far left just by watching Bill Maher every week and picking apart the claims he offers as “fact” while urged on with hosannas by his trained seals in the Real Time audience.
The comedian/pundit is a legend in his own studio—and it appears that his embarrassing stint at the big people’s table on This Week a while back, where he was dissected by George Will wielding the carving knife of the Socratic method, did little to humble Maher into questioning his own command of the issues. “Facts are stubborn things,” said John Adams. Of course, Mr. Adams never met a left-wing zealot with a worldview for whom reality is often an inconvenience to be waved away like curling pot smoke in a back grotto at the Heff mansion.
Well that didn't take long. The folks at the left-wing MoveOn.org are practically in mourning over Helen Thomas's "retirement."
Just a few hours after news broke that Hearst columnist Helen Thomas is calling it quits after a viral video of her anti-Semitic comments led to widespead condemnation of the White House press corps dean.
The abrupt retirement of Helen Thomas from her perch as the ranking member of the White House press corps was essentially accepted as a fait accompli by supporters and detractors alike after her controversial remarks urging Jews to leave Israel surfaced.
Indeed, if there was any defense made of Thomas's comments, it wasn't done persuasively or at an influential level. But that didn't stop the progressive community -- many hearing about her retirement while at the Campaign for America's Future conference in D.C. -- from collectively fretting on Monday about what the loss of her voice bodes for the day-to-day interaction between the White House and the Fourth Estate.
Her absence will be felt "significantly," said Ilyse Hogue, Communications Director of Moveon.org. "The burden will fall on the rest of the press corps to make sure the administration feels the need to be transparent about its plans to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan."