Republicans are likely to go with Tampa, Florida, as the venue for their 2012 presidential nominating convention in part because evangelicals hate Mormons. That's the gospel truth, at least according to Chris Matthews, who yesterday went on a loopy rant that was pure bluster and completely unsubstantiated in its assertions.
[MP3 audio available here; click play on the embedded video at right for video]
Matthews informed viewers that an RNC selection committee had submitted its recommendation of Tampa -- the RNC still has to give its formal approval -- over other finalists Phoenix, Arizona, and Salt Lake City, Utah. The "Hardball" host than gave his theory behind why the latter two cities were rejected, failing, of course, to cite any sources nor to add the caveat that this was purely his own speculation.
[Update, 6:06 pm Eastern: CNN ran a slanted commercial promoting Tuchman's report on Anderson Cooper 360 on Monday afternoon, touting how then-Cardinal Ratzinger apparently "resisted" Bishop Cummins's requests to expel the abuser from the priesthood. (see video at right).]
CNN's Gary Tuchman revisited a three-week-old story on a priest abuse case in California during a segment on Monday's AC360, and did his best to cast Pope Benedict XVI's handling of the priest's removal from priestly life (laicization), when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, in the worst light possible. Tuchman omitted key details about the case which clarify the then-cardinal's conduct in handling it.
Anchor Anderson Cooper gave a slanted introduction to the correspondent's report, which aired 46 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour: "Protecting predator priests instead of their prey- that is at the center of the growing sex scandal rocking the Catholic Church. And as we've been reporting, questions surrounded Pope Benedict XVI...Well, tonight, an accusation from survivors of abuse in California, that the future pope delayed the removal of a pedophile priest, and as you'll see if in our '360' investigation, the most damaging evidence may have been put in writing."
As Father Daniel Coughlin marks 10 years of ministry as the chaplain to the U.S. House of Representatives, the Washington Post found an occasion to suggest to readers that Republicans who now praise the priest's service as the first-ever Catholic to hold the post have overcome a prejudice against the Catholic Church.
"In the beginning, there was partisanship," staff writer Ben Pershing began his April 27 article with a clever homage to the opening line of Genesis, but flash forward to last week and behold, "lawmakers from both parties streamed onto the House floor to honor [Coughlin's] of service."
Pershing explained to readers that back in 2000, another Catholic priest, Timothy J. O'Brien, "had more support on the [bipartisan chaplain search] committee" than Presbyterian minister Charles Wright, the candidate whom then-House Speaker Denny Hastert (R-Ill.) picked to replace outgoing House chaplain, Rev. James Ford, a Lutheran.
"Democrats suggested that Hastert's choice might reflect an anti-Catholic bias among Republicans," Pershing noted, adding that a "furious" Hastert then "urged Wright to withdraw" and then named Father Coughlin, a priest who had not been among the finalists, as the new House chaplain.
But Pershing left out a more plausible and decidedly less sinister explanation for why Hastert picked Wright in the first place, something that Post staffer Bill Broadway noted in his February 19, 2000 article, "Holy War in the House" (excerpt below via Nexis, emphasis mine):
Newsweek continued its campaign against the Catholic Church on Friday by letting one of the leading atheist (not to leave out anti-Catholic) voices internationally, Christopher Hitchens, spout half-truths and smears about Pope Benedict XVI and the Church. Most egregiously, Hitchens inaccurately stated that Vatican City "was created by Benito Mussolini," thus trying to tie Catholicism to fascism.
Whatever your view on homosexuality might be as it pertains to Christianity, there's probably one place one wouldn't go to seek clarity on the issue - a Jewish TV host that's in his seventh marriage.
However, CNN, the so-called most trusted name in news, had "Larry King Live" host Larry King tackle this issue on his April 23 program in a special broadcast entitled "Can You Be Christian and Gay?" King's special featured recently-out Christian singer Jennifer Knapp, embattled former evangelical preacher Ted Haggard and Horizon Christian Fellowship Senior Pastor Bob Botsford.
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
(Updated with anti-Catholic "New Rules" jokes below.) Liberals complained this week when Rep. Michele Bachmann complained about "gangster government." But do they mind if the Catholic Church is compared to (and prosecuted like) the Mafia? So said former Gov. Jesse Ventura on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday.
MAHER: You did a movie called Predator. Let's talk about the Vatican.
VENTURA: That's a predator, too. Never got me, though, the Vatican. An alien did.
MAHER: My crazy radical friends Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins say that if the Pope travels to England, as he is scheduled to in September, he should be arrested when he hits the tarmac. Now do you think that's going too far?
VENTURA: ...I have another alternative, a question I've asked here in the United States. Why hasn't the Catholic Church been prosecuted under the RICO laws of organized crime?
It's quite clever and misleading for Newsweek and The Washington Post to name their religion site "On Faith." It's a little like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals starting a website simply called "On Meat."
Author Donna Freitas, called "The Stubborn Catholic," is absolutely thrilled with the idea that two very publicly vicious atheists want to arrest the Pope when he visits the United Kingdom. She declared "warm and fuzzy" feelings for them.
Have you heard? Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins want to arrest the Pope when he visits England! I know it's more or less a publicity stunt and that theoretically I should be shaking my head in disapproval because it sounds so off the charts outrageous to do such a thing.
But to be honest: I'm kinda excited about it. I kinda want to be shouting, "You go, boys!" A part of me is chuckling about this. In a Mwa mwa mwa sort of tongue-in-cheek way.
Jessica Yellin continued CNN's biased coverage towards Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church, and the sex abuse scandal on Friday's Campbell Brown program. After replaying a report from Tuesday on one dissenting priest's call for the Pope's resignation, Yellin misleadingly asked, "Why is he [the Pope] having such a hard time saying he's sorry?" She also brought on two liberals to discuss the scandal.
Before the replay of correspondent Mary Snow's report on Father James Scahill's public call for Benedict XVI's resignation at 26 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour, Yellin, who was filling-in for anchor Campbell Brown, noted that "just yesterday, in a rare reference to the scandal, the Pope called for penitence for the Church's sins. But for some, penitence is not enough." After Snow's report, the substitute anchor read a promo for the upcoming segment, which included the "why is he having such a hard time saying he's sorry" claim.
Another day another anti-religion piece from Huffington Post Religion. On April 14 columnist Derek Beres wrote “Why Arresting the Pope is a Great Idea.” Not only that, but Beres actually compared Pope Benedict to director Roman Polanski, who raped a young girl. He also, of course, couldn’t resist ranting against the Church’s teachings on priests remaining celibate.
Atheists Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have called for Pope Benedict’s arrest when he travels to Britain. Beres labeled this idea as “common sense.”
“If Roman Polanski can be arrested on sexual abuse charges after 32 years of hiding,” Beres wrote, “so can the Pope, holy or not.”
Double standards are often nothing of the sort, and charges of double standards are often dodges by the disingenuous designed to convince the sophomoric that adhering to any kind of standard is inherently unjust. But then there are some actual double standards that are so shamelessly transparent that one should be embarrassed to even utter them.
Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere.com does not seem to be embarrassed. He recently unleashed the full power of his ire upon the Pope over the recent child abuse accusations. And his ire is awesome to behold, as we can learn from the plugs and testimonials his website continuously flashes – plugs testifying to his influence from the very same Hollywoodoids whose toes he claims to be willing to tread upon with abandon.
In short, Wells supports the wacky idea that a couple of well-known atheists should somehow arrest Pope Benedict on his trip to England:
"The Divine Mercy Care Pharmacy in Chantilly proudly and purposefully limited what it would stock on its shelves. But it turns out that no birth control pills, no condoms, no porn, no tobacco and even no makeup added up to one thing: No customers," Dvorak wrote.
"John T. Bruchalski, president of Divine Mercy Care and the doctor who opened the pharmacy, then had to close it, said he wanted a place where pharmacists ‘could bring their conscience into the store, rather than hang it up at the door when they entered,'" she continued.
"Shoppers in Northern Virginia apparently weren't clamoring for a place to pick up cough medicine that also didn't sell porn, cigs and mascara. Selections of these wicked products (especially mascara - have you seen the array recently? Glittery! Lengthening! Stiletto lashes! Such naughtiness!) are available in just about every supermarket and big-box store across the country."
Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church are now competing with Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi as Jack Cafferty's favorite subject of ire, as the CNN personality devoted yet another commentary to attacking the Pontiff and the institution on Tuesday's Situation Room. It was fifth commentary in 20 days where Cafferty devoted a segment to bashing the two.
The commentator first derided Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, during his Cafferty File segment 13 minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour: "The Pope's number two, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, insists the abuse is linked to homosexuality, not celibacy. Gay rights groups are outraged, saying it's a perverse strategy by the Vatican to shirk its own ethical and legal responsibility. Bingo- that's spot-on." He continued that "this official made the ludicrous claim in Chile, where one pedophile priest had sex with young girls, impregnating at least one teenager."
Editor's Note:What follows is a statement Mr. Bozell released earlier today wherein he declared the intentional disparaging and false reporting of the Catholic Church and its leader Pope Benedict XVI an atrocity, and demanded the media immediately end their exaggerations:
The Catholic Church has always endured unfair characterizations from the left-wing media, but the most recent and phony ‘news’ coverage of the sexual abuse scandal has reached a new and alarming low.
Last week dozens of news outlets – including the Associated Press, Reuters, Washington Post, New York TimesCBS, MSNBC– reported that the abuse scandal is ‘widening.’ That is absolutely and unequivocally false. The scandal isn’t growing. As Catholic League President Bill Donohue aptly noted, citing evidence from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, abuse is shrinking in the United States, with an even more rapid decline over the last five years.
The media often portrays evangelicals as brainwashed, simpleminded and angry. My book isn't the story of falling in love with everybody. There were some people who seemed to sit perfectly into the picture that I'd always had of evangelical Christians. For me what was missing from the media portrait was complexity.
The death of Jerry Falwell affected her, and again she felt the hostility [like this?] didn't capture the whole picture:
For some reason, washed up celebrities simply cannot resist weighing in on the Catholic Church's ongoing abuse scandal.
The latest is Roseanne Barr, who last weekend wrote on her personal blog that Catholics who bring their children to church should lose custody. "Taking your kid where you know sex offenders hang out is inexcusable!!!"
This is but the latest example of vitriol directed at the Church in recent days, and just the most recent demonstration of Roseanne's deranged anti-Catholic views (h/t Big Hollywood headlines).
On her April 5 satellite radio show, Rosie O'Donnell took her anti-Catholicism to a new level by likening the Catholic Church to the Jonestown cult. As Brian Maloney of The Radio Equalizer put it, "in Rosie's twisted world, there's really no distinction to be made between the Pope and Jim Jones, murderous cult leader responsible for the deaths of more than 900 people in the Guyanese jungle."
O'Donnell certainly has a past of Catholic/Christian bashing. On the April 19, 2007 edition of ABC's The View, she expressed her concern that having five Catholic Supreme Court justice somehow violated the separation of church and state (Barbara Walters actually defended these justices in response). Later in 2007, the Catholic League placed an ad in the New York Times complaining about O'Donnell and her then-colleague Joy Behar's anti-Catholic remarks on the ABC daytime program.
On Monday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty continued his attack on Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church, devoting his fourth commentary in 12 days on the Church sex abuse scandal. Cafferty spun a recent comment by a high-ranking cardinal who denounced the media's campaign of innuendo against the Pope as "petty gossip," falsely portraying it as being about the abuse itself.
The commentator devoted his 5 pm Eastern hour "Cafferty File" segment to the scandal. After detailing the impact of the scandal in "the Pope's native Germany," Cafferty launched his latest spin on the Church hierarchy's reaction to the issue:
CAFFERTY: Meanwhile, Easter Sunday has come and gone with little from the Church. The Pope passed up yet another opportunity to address the scandal in his address. But we did get this: while defending the pope, one top Vatican cardinal denounced- quote, 'petty gossip,' unquote. That's what he called the accusations of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests- 'petty gossip.'
On CBS's Sunday Morning, host Charles Osgood marked Easter Sunday by proclaiming: "For many Roman Catholics, the joy of this Easter is mixed with sadness over continuing charges of child abuse and of cover-ups within the Church's hierarchy." In a report that followed, correspondent Dean Reynolds declared that the scandal was "like a heavy blow to the soul."
Reynolds went on to cite the latest accusations of abuse by a Milwaukee priest in the 1960s as mounting evidence: "damming stacks of court exhibits, documenting the abuse of predator priests...Documents, the victims say, leave a long and shameful trail." A clip was played of attorney Jeff Anderson, who was representing one of the victims: "That all trails involving the cover-up and the concealment of sexual abuse by Catholic clerics lead to Rome and the Pope."
Remarking on the "corrosive effect" of the accusations, Reynolds pointed to poll numbers on the Pope: "A new CBS News poll finds only 27% of American Catholics view Pope Benedict XVI favorably now; 55% gave him poor marks for the way he's dealt with the priest abuse scandal." The poll appeared on screen, showing that 36% were undecided, a number Reynolds failed to highlight. He also failed to mention – and the on-screen graphic did not show – the 19% who "haven't heard enough" to have an opinion on the Pope.
Of all the images to accompany its Facebook feature on "Easter observances and celebrations from around the world," MSNBC chose the one displayed here. As it turns out, the man hooded in white is a participant in a traditional Easter procession in northern Spain. But how many readers will click through all the images to discover that? How many more will assume, as did I until informed otherwise, that it was a Klansman? H/t reader Michael G.
On Thursday's Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan went after the Vatican for criticizing the slanted New York Times reporting on the priest sex abuse scandal: "Blame the messenger. The Vatican blasting the New York Times for telling the truth about Church – the Church and its harboring of sex abusers. It's the paper's fault."
Ratigan spoke with Democratic strategist Steve Hildebrand, an openly gay ex-Catholic, who ranted: "the bottom line is, the Catholic Church for the last couple of decades, has preached hatred, bigotry, discrimination against gay people. But they don't take ownership of their own homosexual problems that exist and have existed for decades. And they need to stop blaming everybody else." An on-screen headline read: "Killing the Messenger; Cardinal Slams NY Times for Vatican Coverage."
Meanwhile, on Thursday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Mark Phillips declared: "The Church, though, has been more direct in its response to the stories being printed and broadcast of child abuse in its institutions. It's attacked the messenger." Phillips later concluded that "The Church is faced with making an argument that is very difficult, that it has changed from the bad old days, at the same time as evidence keeps coming out, showing just how bald those old days were."
CNN's Jack Cafferty slammed the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI during his regular commentaries on Wednesday and Thursday, for a total of three times during the course of a week, as he also targeted them on March 25. On all three occasions, Cafferty also read mostly Catholic-bashing e-mails from viewers.
During the March 25 "Cafferty File" segment, the CNN commentator wasted little time in trying to cast the Church in the worst possible light, forwarding the NY Times's recent slanted coverage of the abuse scandal: "Here we go again. Time now for another chapter in the tawdry tale titled: The Pope and the Pedophile Priests. The New York Times reports that top Vatican officials - including the future Pope Benedict XVI - refused to defrock a Wisconsin priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys." He later asked as his "Question of the Hour" if Benedict XVI should resign. The five responses he read at the end of the hour all criticized the Pope and the Church.
No, hell hasn't frozen over but, yes, the Huffington Post now has a religion blog. The Huffington Post, a Web site devoted to rankling conservatives and pushing a liberal agenda, announced on Feb. 24 that it was launching HuffPost Religion.
Huffington Post's co-founder, Arianna Huffington, claimed it would simply be "a section featuring a wide-ranging discussion about religion [and] spirituality," but the numbers prove that it is more of an attack on traditional Christianity than a discussion.
The site didn't waste any time throwing punches. In its first two weeks, it churned out articles by a liberal nun calling Catholicism sexist; a Rabbi claiming that Judaism will "stagnate and cease to be meaningful" unless it participates in the "green movement;" an avowed atheist comparing those who believe in God to a 7-year-old still believing in the tooth fairy; a science writer warning being religious could lead to "dangerous side-effects" such as "the crusader jihadist mentality;" and a neuroscientist calling those who believe in "obsolete religious ideas" a "lunatic fringe."
HuffPost Religion is the religion blog that hates religion, but the faith it abuses the most is Christianity.
Editor's Note: In a statement released today, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell denounced CNN for relying on bigoted anti-Catholic singer Sinead O'Connor as a credible source to discuss recent allegations brought against the Catholic Church in the cable network's repeated interviews with her. Those comments are posted below.
Sinead O’Connor is a despicable, hate-filled person who has no business being portrayed as a reasonable voice to discuss the Catholic Church that she has disgraced for the past twenty years.
CNN’s decision to have her on as a credible source to bash and criticize the Pope and the Catholic Church is like having the KKK on to criticize President Obama, or Nazis on to criticize Jews. It’s disgusting, unacceptable, and disgraceful.
When CNN decides to have legitimate, non-bigoted guests on, perhaps Americans will begin to trust them again as a viable news source.
Newsweek religion editor Lisa Miller has two big articles in this week's issue. "The Bad Shepherd" is another piece trashing Pope Benedict over the sex-abuse charges emerging in Europe. But Miller even trashed Jesus Christ as a "typically cranky" religious figure. This came in an excerpt from Miller's new book on Heaven, as she explained how implausible the religious concept of resurrection is:
Resurrection presented credibility problems from the outset. Who, the Sadducees taunted Jesus, does the man who married seven wives in succession reside with in heaven? The subtext of their teasing is obvious: if the resurrection is true, as Jesus promised, then in heaven you must have your wife, and all the things that go along with wives: sex, arguments, dinner. Jesus responds in a typically cranky way: "You just don't get it," he says (my paraphrase). "You are wrong," he said in Matthew's Gospel, "because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God."
It's easier to pitch Jesus as "typically cranky" when one paraphrases the Bible in contemporary lingo. Miller concluded that she doesn't buy this tall Easter tale:
How dare pro-life activists have an unassuming Web site and advertising campaign that doesn't explicitly condemn abortion!
That was the message Susan Dominus conveyed in her March 26 New York Times article, "In Subway Ads on Abortion, a Pretense of Neutrality."
Dominus attacked recent ads for abortionchangesyou.com, a Web site in which anybody touched by abortion can anonymously share their feelings and learn that they are not alone. Dominus began her story by noting the innocuous nature of the advertisement, but turns on the Web site after revealing its association with Project Rachel, a Catholic initiative.
After describing the advertisement, Dominus disparaged all pro-lifers by saying, "as anti-abortion strategies go, it is relatively oblique - a far cry from a brick in the window or a death threat to a member of Congress."
CNN's Anderson Cooper brought on anti-Catholic singer Sinead O'Connor on his program on Friday to discuss the Church sex scandal. Unsurprisingly, O'Connor, who infamously tore up a picture of then-Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live in 1992, has engaged in lesbian relationships, and went on to be "ordained" in a schismatic dissident church, spent much of the interview blasting Pope Benedict XVI.
The anchor aired the first part of his interview with O'Connor 15 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour. Cooper never brought up the celebrity's open dissent with Church teaching and practice during the interview, and only referred to her as a "singer." In his first question to his guest, he referenced her recent Washington Post column (in it, she actually urged her fellow Irish to stop attending Mass, but Cooper never raised this controversial proposal): "Sinead, in The Washington Post, you talk about this letter of apology that Pope Benedict wrote to the people of Ireland, and you say the letter is an insult to the people of Ireland. Why?"
All three broadcast networks reported allegations of abuse by Catholic priests during their nightly news programs on March 25. But none of them provided an objective report.
ABC, CBS and NBC ran a combined total of 13 sound bites from victims and victim advocates, who claimed the Catholic Church, and Pope Benedict XVI in particular, covered up sexual abuse by Father Lawrence Murphy.
They alleged that Murphy abused 200 boys at a school for the deaf in Milwaukee, WI, throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Only NBC's report included a defender of the church: George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
CNN's Kyra Phillips brought on three heterodox Christians on Friday's Newsroom, all of whom endorse leftist "reforms" inside the Catholic Church, such as women priests and acceptance of homosexual behavior. Phillips didn't bring on any guests who defended the Church's positions, and actually egged on her guests: "I think all three of you need to head to the Vatican and institute some change."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, news reader Betty Nguyen continued the media barrage against the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict as she proclaimed: "They are circling the wagons at the Vatican, defending the Pope amid new charges that he helped cover up cases of sexual abuse when he was a cardinal."
In the report that followed, correspondent Allen Pizzey treated the Holy Father like a corrupt politician: "The abuse scandal, highlighted with pictures of the Pope, glared from the front pages of every major newspaper in Italy today. And in a clear sign of just how much trouble Benedict is in, only two of them defended him." Later in the report, a headline appeared on screen that read: "Catholic Abuse Cover-up? New Allegations About Pope's Role."
Pizzey noted how the Pope recently "told a Vatican youth rally...that the word of God would show them how to prevent falling into what he called 'the abyss of drugs, of alcohol, of addiction to sex and to money.'" He then added: "But victims of abuse...say the Pope failed to heed his own advice."