Consider the following two stories. Pay attention. There will be a quiz.
1. The Obama administration has appointed Kevin Jennings as a "czar" inside the Department of Education. In addition to being the founder of a group called the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Jennings once wrote a foreword to a book called Queering Elementary Education. In that foreword, he wrote, "We must address antigay bigotry ... as soon as students start going to school." In addition, Jennings has admitted that, 21 years ago as a 24-year-old teacher at Concord Academy, he advised a gay student sophomore*, "I hope you knew to use a condom," after the student confided he went home with a guy he had met the night before in a Boston restroom. Jennings has since admitted, "I can see how I should have handled the situation differently." Other controversial episodes have been attributed to Jennings.
It's hard to find fault with such an exemplary young man, but I have.
In a Monday story in USA Today, religion writer Tom Krattenmaker reported these findings:
"Tebow does his missionary trips to the Philippines under the auspices of his father Bob Tebow's Evangelistic Association. The Tebow organization espouses a far-right theology. Its bottom line: Only those who assent to its version of Christianity will avoid eternal punishment. The ministry boldly declares, 'We reject the modern ecumenical movement.'"
If Tebow is selling that, this Lutheran isn't buying.
It isn't often that one can see two decades of history re-written in under ten minutes. But such was the occasion on this morning's episode of Morning Joe. Max Blumenthal, author of "Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party," spent his time on the show demonstrating the combined power of cognitive dissonance, wanton ignorance, and a willingness to re-write historical fact.
Let's take it in chronological order, shall we?
First, Blumenthal is asked to present the major thesis of his book:
Reporting the lead story on CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Martha Teichner touted a new on-line poll conducted by Parade magazine about religion in America: “nearly a quarter of the respondents call themselves spiritual, not religious. And how about this? Half the people polled say they seldom, if ever, attend religious services.”
One supposed religious expert Teichner spoke with about the poll findings was Barnard College professor and Episcopal priest Randall Balmer, who argued: “And so you have all these religious options out there and we Americans are good consumers.” Teichner asked: “So you’re saying that Americans choose their faith or their spirituality in very much the way they shop a mall.” Balmer replied: “I think they do.” In 2006, Balmer wrote Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America.
The Parade magazine cover story about the poll was written by Christine Wicker, author of The Fall of the Evangelical Nation. In addition, Wicker is also a contributing writer for the left-wing blog The Huffington Post. Just days prior to the 2008 presidential election, Wicker authored a post entitled “Evangelical Leaders Using God Like a Hired Gun,” in which she claimed: “They tried branding Obama the anti-Christ. They tried linking him with Islamic terrorists....They’ve used their pulpits to endorse McCain...None of these tactics has brought their errant minions under control. So using God like a hired gun to terrorize the town’s people, the evangelical Christian mullahs are declaring that Obamageddon is at hand.”
In a Chicago Tribune article today that appears to open as an attempt at humor but quickly devolves into nastiness, NPR-dependent radio host and author Garrison Keillor, among other things, attacks social conservatives, blames them and not those who have brought legal actions for years-long fights over keeping religious symbols right where they are, and -- while conveniently forgetting that Republican Mitt Romney gave us the Massachusetts disaster known as CommonwealthCare that current Bay State Democratic governor Deval Patrick considers the model for ObamaCare -- ponders the pros and cons of cutting Republicans "out of the health-care system entirely."
There are few if any indications in the last 2/3 of his column that Keillor was attempting anything resembling humor. If he was, he failed.
According to the October 2 issue of Entertainment Weekly, advertising for The Invention of Lying, the new film from comedian Ricky Gervais, carefully conceals the atheistic subject matter of the movie. Writer Adam Markovitz explained that in the film, set in a world where everyone tells the truth, "The people...have no concept of heaven, faith, or God- until Gervais’ character fabricates ‘the man in the sky’ to placate them.’"
Markovitz observed, "What you don’t know- thanks to a carefully crafted marketing campaign- is the movie’s actual subject: religion." (The film’s distributors are Universal and Warner Bros.) The EW article quotes Gervais, who is himself a non-believer, insisting that the film is "not atheist propaganda." However, the comedian also added that Invention of Lying "shouldn’t affect [believers] or their God. From what I’ve heard of God, he’s tough."
ABC's "World News" is supposed to be above the fray, right? According to "World News" executive Jon Banner, his program didn't jump into covering the recent ACORN scandal because it is "not in the business of noise."
Earlier in the day, on four Sunday morning network news programs, President Barack Obama had urged the media not to engage in Taibbi's specialty. The networks shouldn't air rude, angry political behavior, because that only encourages it, the president said. ABC must have missed that memo.
Bonnie Erbe, contributing editor to U.S. News and World report and host of PBS' "To the Contrary" recently compared conservative Christians to terrorists.
A soon-to-be published study in the journal Reproductive Health that found states with a high level of residents who subscribe to conservative religious beliefs also have high teen birth rates sparked Erbe's September 18 observation that Christianity and radical Islamic terrorism share distinct similarities.
Erbe did not find this conclusion "surprising," and noted that "most of these ‘religious' states are also so-called red states." From there she bashed red states as uneducated and poor, and argued that those factors combined with "increased religiosity tend to intertwine and build on each other." Erbe offered as proof the following example:
An article in the Albany Times Union promotes a controversy brewing in local schools in upstate New York. A controversy in that schools are willing to close their doors during Christian and Jewish religious holidays - but not Muslim holidays.
Tucked away within the article is a supporting statement from Jay Worona, counsel for the New York State School Board Association (NYSSBA), in which he promotes a possible alternative to canceling classes. Worona states, "One request we have seen is for a room during Ramadan for students to pray in, and many districts are attempting to provide those."
What the reporter fails to note is that Worona, who apparently is in favor of separate prayer rooms for Muslim students, opposes the inclusion of a display containing the Ten Commandments in New York schools.
Interesting. A prayer room for Muslim students. What happened to the separation of religion and education, church and state? Or did that only apply to the assault on Christianity in our schools, the elimination of nativity scenes, the conversion of labels such as 'Christmas Break' to 'Winter Break', or the deletion of the phrase 'under God' from our Pledge of Allegiance?
Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League, has said, "Penn & Teller's Nazi-like assault on Catholicism that took place on August 27 will go down in history as one of the most vile, obscene programs ever aired in any nation." However, will the show also go down in history for airing the most number of lies, falsehoods, and misleading statements in a single half-hour show?
Not counting credits, the guilty episode runs less than 26 minutes. Here's a lie-by-lie list of the falsehoods that Penn Jillette and his guests aired in that time:
1. Before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, in 2001, issued a "confidential order to every bishop" and "ordered the cover-up" of sex abuse.
I was stunned to read on Life Site News that a new movie is being planned about Our Lady of Guadalupe, so-named for an appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531 that’s credited with converting nine million indigenous Mexicans to Christianity. The film, still untitled, will be produced by Mpower Pictures, the company that was launched with the pro-life movie "Bella" in 2006 and founded by "The Passion of the Christ" producer Steve McEveety.
That a movie would be made about Our Lady of Guadalupe is amazing, but that wasn’t half the surprise. The movie is being written by Joe Eszterhas. Yes, the same Joe Eszterhas responsible for screenwriting filthy movies like "Basic Instinct" and most infamously, "Showgirls," a movie so pornographic even the late Jack Valenti condemned it.
What I didn’t know until now is the story of the conversion of Joe Eszterhas in 2001, powerfully captured in his 2008 memoir entitled "Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith."
What would Jesus do? Well, Ed Schultz thinks he knows - that is on health care reform at least.
Schultz, on his Sept. 2 MSNBC program, "The ED Show" told viewers he believed Jesus would vote for a government public option. That, he said, was to the dismay of some on religious right, or what he used the pejorative "Bible thumpers" to describe.
"Now, I have been referring to the health care reform deal as the real moral issue of our time," Schultz said. "I believe Jesus would vote yes for a public option, but some Bible thumpers don't see me eye to eye on this one."
Schultz later elaborated on his statement, likening "fixing health care" to a moral obligation.
ABCNews.com republished a bigoted attack against a famously large Christian family on Tuesday. Amelia McDonell-Parry of gossip website TheFrisky.com snarked about Michelle Duggar's latest pregnancy in the post, stating that it "can't be good news...if you're at all concerned about overpopulation." She also hinted that Mrs. Duggar's daughter-in-law was forced to have a baby of her own.
"When you have a party that claims to speak for God or claims that God is on its side, the rhetoric heats up and the anger heats up because it's not just a battle about ideas and positions and what's good for the country or bad for the country," Savage said. "It's a battle about what God wants and what God doesn't want. It's easier to demagogue about your enemies and to despise them and to dehumanize them in this really personal and vicious way."
Following last night's episode (Thu. 8/27/09) of Penn & Teller's show on Showtime, Bill Donahue, founder and president of the Catholic League said, "I have never seen a more defamatory, obscene and vicious show on TV." Folks, that is saying a lot. The man has dedicated his career to exposing anti-Catholicism.
According to Donahue, the foul-mouthed Penn Jillette billed last night's episode as "payback" for 2,000 years of alleged "crimes" by the Catholic Church. Wrote Donahue:
What do you call an excommunicated Catholic priest, ignorant of the sacraments, who openly calls for the ordination of women? If you're the Boston Globe, you call him a "prominent priest" who is "in good standing." Then, for good measure, you entitle the article about the priest, "Priest takes church to task for not ordaining women." Good ... grief.
The paper profiles dissident ex-priest Roy Bourgeois, a man ignorant of the teachings of the Church to which he was ordained. And the author of the slanted piece, Globe religion reporter Michael Paulson, fails to fully "take Bourgeois to task" for being so oblivious of such a fundamental facet of Church teaching.
There are an awful lot of people I know in the world of public policy, many of whom I respect and admire. But beyond respecting his wisdom and admiring his courage, I just plain like Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League. I like his Irish feistiness. I like his sense of loyalty. I like his sense of humor. Most of all, I like how he drives his opponents mad. And with his new book, "Secular Sabotage: How Liberals are Destroying Religion and Culture in America." he could be expected to be stricken from all manner of Christmas card lists -- except the people he skewers don’t believe in Christmas.
Disclaimer: I’m on the Board of Advisors of the Catholic League. I’ve been involved with this terrific organization for many years because Bill Donohue invited me, and I’ve never been able to refuse Bill Donohue anything.
"Secular Sabotage" is serious business. Donohue insists the United States should be considered unequivocally a Christian country. Eight out of ten Americans consider themselves as such. Indeed – and I didn’t realize this – the United States is the most Christian country, in quantitative terms, in the world.
If you only read the Associated Press, New York Times, and Washington Post obituaries of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who died last Tuesday at age 88, you would have no idea that she was one of the last of the old Guard, pro-life Democrats who went down fighting in 1992.
That was when the party's presidential nomination of Bill Clinton moved the party firmly into the pro-abort camp, a position from which it has never returned. Barack Obama's presence in the White House virtually guarantees that Democrats in most quarter will either condone, support, and in some cases even celebrate the 1,000,000-plus unborn infants who perish each year.
That was not where Ms. Shriver stood, as many prolife publications noted shortly after she died. The Catholic News Agency obituary called her "distinctively Catholic," recounting that she was "an early supporter of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. She and her husband also supported Democrats for Life of America and Feminists for Life."
Life News recounted three key moments when Shriver demonstrated her pro-life commitment:
Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, more popularly known as "Rev. Ike", has gone to his reward. The 74-year old prosperity gospel huckster died on July 29 in Los Angeles.
But in covering the story, the Associated Press and the Washington Post have carelessly tarnished legitimate preachers of the Christian Gospel by association, by lumping in Eikerenkoetter with more biblically orthodox Protestant preachers as an "evangelist."
Newsweek took their criticism of Pope Benedict XVI to the next level on Thursday- not only did guest columnist Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend affirm that the pontiff could learn from President Obama (something Newsweek and their partners at the Washington Post agreed upon back in April), but also blasted the Bishop of Rome and the Catholic hierarchy for their supposed “disdain” towards women and homosexuals.
The former lieutenant governor of Maryland began her column, titled "Without a Doubt: Why Barack Obama represents American Catholics better than the pope does," with the context of the pope’s upcoming meeting with the American president, and how it was “much anticipated and in some circles frowned upon by American Catholics in the wake of Obama’s controversial Notre Dame commencement speech in May.” She then laid out her central thesis about these two leaders: “In truth, though, Obama’s pragmatic approach to divisive policy...and his social-justice agenda reflect the views of American Catholic laity much more closely than those vocal bishops and pro-life activists...[T]hey’ll politely disagree about reproductive freedoms and homosexuality, but Catholics back home won’t care, because they know Obama’s on their side. In fact, Obama’s agenda is closer to their views than even the pope’s.”
Twisted Hollywood and its twisted parade of tastemakers known as television critics are forever in search of another "black comedy," and if audiences don’t embrace one, then they can always make another one. Showtime didn’t succeed with "Secret Diary of a Call Girl," so now they’re trying a different brand of prostitute. "Nurse Jackie" is an addict who has daily sex at noon with her hospital pharmacist in exchange for Oxycontin and other drugs. She’s married and a mother of two little girls. She is a filthy degenerate.
And the critics love it. Matt Roush of TV Guide calls it "a perfect companion piece to the increasingly twisted ‘Weeds,’" as it "straddles the worlds of drama and comedy with confidence and gutsy gusto." For those who don’t waste their money on Showtime, "Weeds" is a "comedy" where a suburban housewife is a drug dealer pushing marijuana instead of Avon.
There is no doubt these two shows are a match in blackness.
The Public Broadcasting Service recently announced it will not allow new religious programming on their taxpayer-subsidized airwaves. The handful of stations that have shown a Catholic Mass or Mormon devotions will be allowed to continue, but the other 300-plus stations have been instructed to avoid any kind of evangelism.
Welcome to Barack Obama’s new world order.
News reports explained that the PBS station services committee insisted on applying a 1985 rule that all PBS shows must be "noncommercial, nonpartisan and nonsectarian."
To everyone who’s watched a pledge drive or contemplated a toy store stuffed with "Sesame Street" toys, the idea that PBS is following any "noncommercial" policy is absurd.
To everyone who’s watched two minutes of "Bill Moyers Journal," with its panels unanimously screaming for Bush’s impeachment, or more recently, for a single-payer socialist health-care system, the idea of PBS being devoted to a "nonpartisan" stance is several miles removed from ridiculous.
For example, Ann Coulter is responsible for yesterday’s tragic shooting at the Holocaust Museum.
Bill O’Reilly is responsible for the shooting of well-known abortion doctor George Tiller.
Oh, and the coup de grace: Sarah Palin and all of her supporters are raging racists.
That’s not to mention the implication that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, and all of Fox News were the favorite news sources of James von Brunn, now-infamous shooter at the Holocaust museum.
Idiotic though these claims most certainly are, liberal bilge of this magnitude demands confrontation. First, examine what Rowe wrote on Ann Coulter:
Wasn't it just a couple of days ago that the crew over at the Daily Kos was fretting about how conservatives as a whole are equally as complicit in the murder of George Tiller as the shooter himself? And of the details being reported to better understand the background of the actual killer, Scott Roeder, doesn't one major detail involve the posts that he left on anti-abortion Web sites?
With that in mind, how concerned should we be with a blog post that fantasizes about the death of conservative columnist Michelle Malkin?
In a posting titled ‘Michelle Malkin - The Book', an individual using the handle cousinavi, creates a story which refers to Malkin's husband in a derogatory manner more than once, and eventually fantasizes about her choking to death.
Should this story, which appears to be written at a third grade level, be taken for what the ‘writer' intends - a ‘total work of fiction'? Or should it be taken for what it really is, an attempt to get Kos readers to indulge in the ‘writer's' imagination, inciting equally provocative death fantasies about Malkin?
Excerpts below the jump (Warning! Offensive language, equally offensive to those with an education)...
Rob Thomas, singer/songwriter and front man for the band Matchbox 20, has successfully proven an old adage: Don't keep quiet and let people think you're a fool. Open your mouth and remove all doubt. He has also shown us all that the American system of education is in pretty sorry shape. But, one thing is sure, Mr. Thomas "feels good" about himself, so he's got that whole self esteem thing down nicely. Sadly, he lacks some basis for the conceit.
In a Huffington Post entry from May 27, Thomas made to ingratiate himself with the cool, the hip, and the terminally liberal by tooting his I-love-me-the-gay horn. Most of his entry is banal, uninventive, and prosaic, but the part that most needs to be addressed is his horrible understanding of American history. Of course, his lack of historical understanding is also pretty commonplace for his ilk: those in the Hollyweird/entertainment field. Unfortunately, it is also common among far too many other Americans, ones not trying to sound perpetually hip because they loves them the gays.
On Friday night’s Real Life with Bill Maher on HBO, the host typically assaulted the Bible and the God of the Old Testament. He said of the Bible and the Koran "These are two books that are filled with hatred and wickedness and all kinds of immorality. I mean, I can’t think of a character who is less reliable as a role model than the God of the Old Testament." Newsweek editor Jon Meacham could only respond with pandering humor for liberals: "He’s kind of Cheneyesque actually – that runs through the God of Abraham...He didn’t shoot anybody. He smited them."
As Maher suggested he was too bright to believe in Jesus the "Jewish Zombie," Meacham also lauded how America has moved beyond a "public piety," as symbolized by Mel Gibson’s 2004 film The Passion of the Christ. "It doesn’t feel to me that we’re in the same place in terms of public religiosity and public piety that we were when Mel Gibson released The Passion of The Christ five years ago, when basically, he made an anti-Semitic film, and the only thing you can say about it is it’s the best film ever made in Aramaic." Surprisingly, Maher said he liked the movie, and he didn’t find it anti-Semitic, but that "the priesthood" had Jesus killed because he threatened their power.
As you can see from the 94 results returned in this Google News archive search on "Reagan declassified" (not entered in quotes) for 2008 and 2009, there is no shortage of establishment media interest in previously undisclosed historical information that is made public for the first time.
That makes it odd, to say the least, that only a couple of Catholic publications have picked up on a remarkable disclosure contained in information released early last week that in late 1980, Pope John Paul II personally intervened to save the life of a South Korean political dissident sentenced to death by a government military tribunal.
The person spared, Thomas More Kim Dae-Jung, became that country's president almost two decades later. He credits the late pontiff with saving his life.
Since when is the media so interested in keeping America abreast of the latest news coming out of Ireland? A commission in Ireland just released a report detailing awful abuse of children who attended Catholic schools "from the 1930's to the 1990's, when the last of the institutions closed." And what's ensued is practically an all-out media frenzy.
The AP, Reuters, the New York Times, the LA Times, Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and many others are all over the story. At Google news, the story returns "about 1,531" results.
Yes, the stories of abuse are quite troubling, but it sure seems that the media is singling out the Catholic Church's misdeeds - again.
Today - not decades ago - there is egregious abuse happening with far-greater occurrence in our nation's schools. Yet where's the coverage?
After promoting the controversial, religion-baiting film "Angels & Demons" for a combined 19 minutes last week on "Good Morning America," ABC finally featured a Catholic priest to object to the movie. Unfortunately, the interview was relegated only to the network's website, not the ABC morning show. (Considering the four days of fawning coverage to the film's stars last week, this hardly seems fair.) Father Edward Beck appeared on the internet-based "Focus on Faith" to talk to Chris Cuomo and point out the inaccuracies.
Beck critiqued the filmmakers behind "Angels & Demons," which falsely features the Catholic Church participating in a brutal massacre of a secret society, asserting that they should be more responsible for "doing their homework, even with a work of fiction." Cuomo bizarrely responded by claiming Beck needed to consider "the atheistic [position], which is, 'It's all fiction.' So, the church doesn't have any right to hold its own truth when it is a fiction in and of itself." He reiterated the disbelievers take, stating, "Anything you say you believe in is based on a fiction, because God is a fiction. So, what's wrong with having a fiction about fiction?"
Beck quickly retorted, "No. Whether or not the church kills people is not fiction. Either they do or they don't." Beck went on to note other offensive elements of the movie, such as the fact that the deceased Pope in the movie turns out to have fathered a child through artificial insemination. The New York-based priest complained, "Now, I mean, how unrealistic do we really want to make this?" Appearing to miss the point, Cuomo replied, "You taking yourself too seriously in the organized church?" (It should be pointed out that some of the tone was light-hearted as Cuomo and Beck are apparently friends.)