While most of the mainstream media yawned at news that former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon was refusing Notre Dame's Laetare award due to the university honoring pro-choice President Barack Obama, USA Today's Cathy Lynn Grossman sure hasn't.
The religion reporter/blogger found her own unique, passive-aggressive way to slam Glendon's stand on principle by suggesting she's a self-righteous hypocrite.
In her April 30 post, "Who's a good enough Catholic for Notre Dame's top honor?", Grossman delighted in excerpting a satirical open letter by Jesuit priest Rev. James Martin, who penned a blog post for America magazine making light of the university's pressing need to find a new person to honor with the coveted Laetare Award (emphasis mine):
Jessica Valenti, founder of the vaguely pornographic sounding Feministing.com, has decided that there is no such thing as virginity in America's young girls and the Today Show is entirely pleased with itself to give her a national TV venue from which to say so. Never mind how silly it all sounds.
On April 23 Valenti and Today pushed the idea that sexually active girls should not be thought of as a problem, that an expectation of virginity is harmful, and that religion is a baneful influence on young women today. Valenti says that if young men can have their sexual exploits given a wink and a nod, then so should the sexual activity of young girls.
Naturally, being a good left-wing, feminist, Valenti draws all the wrong conclusions and advocates all the worst solutions to address the real problems in American society. Just as naturally, NBC gives a legitimate stage for her absurd proclamations and ill-thought-out prescriptions.
As millions of Christians attend church every Sunday without attracting much attention in the New York Times, it’s a little surprising to see it defined as front-page news when an "overflow audience of more than 100" showed up at an atheist event in South Carolina. "More Atheists Are Shouting It From the Rooftops" read the headline on Monday’s front page from religion reporter Laurie Goodstein. Whenever the godless gather in a Southern state, it’s apparently time to wake the neighbors:
More than ever, America’s atheists are linking up and speaking out — even here in South Carolina, home to Bob Jones University, blue laws and a legislature that last year unanimously approved a Christian license plate embossed with a cross, a stained glass window and the words "I Believe" (a move blocked by a judge and now headed for trial).
They are connecting on the Internet, holding meet-ups in bars, advertising on billboards and buses, volunteering at food pantries and picking up roadside trash, earning atheist groups recognition on adopt-a-highway signs.
1. A former Catholic priest comes forward Monday (4/20/09) to claim that another priest abused him as a teenager nearly 30 years ago. (The accused priest has no other similar public complaints and denies the allegations against him.)
2. A former school teacher was sentenced Wednesday (4/22/09) after pleading no contest to eight felony counts, including having sex with two girls under the age of 16. The man "admitted to having intercourse with the girls, performing oral sex with the teens and taking extremely explicit nude photographs of his victims -- including pictures of him with one of the girls - before sending the images over the Internet."
Now it's quiz time! To which story did the Los Angeles Times devote two generous color photos and a 640-word article? Which story did the Times totally ignore?
Want to see the bitterness of media elitism? Take a look at what San Francisco Chronicle's environmental blog, "The Thin Green Line," thinks of the public's attitude about global warming.
According to an April 17 Rasmussen Reports poll, only one out of three voters believes global warming is caused by human activity. For Cameron Scott of the Chronicle's "The Thin Green Line," this isn't due to the public's ability to discern a hoax when they see one, but a so-called "disinformation campaign," as he explained on an April 18 post.
"This is the most successful disinformation campaign in the history of the world (it's largely financed by fossil fuel companies)," Scott wrote. "There is virtual scientific unanimity on the issue: Natural planetary trends alone cannot account for the rapid changes we are currently witnessing."
With a rich history of giving unprecedented coverage to alternative sexualities and gender identities, it’s no surprise that ABCnews.com features 1,100 + word article about a small town transgendered mayor.
Stu Rasmussen is the mayor of Silverton, Oregon. He made national headlines as the first transgendered mayor in the nation after he won his November 2008 election. Rasmussen, who is sixty, has spent “50 years to get comfortable in [his] body” and in 2000 “adopted the twins,” as he called it, and got breast implants.
But Rasmussen may be making more headlines as RDF USA, the production company that shot hit ABC shows such as “Wife Swap” and “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” confirmed that they were shooting Rasmussen in Silverton the week of April 6, according to the abcnews.com article by Sarah Netter.
Happy Easter, Catholics. Your pope is not much different from a secular politician exercising damage control. Fortunately, President Obama is helping him "repent faster" when he steps into controversy.
That's the message being sent by the "On Faith" editorial staff with their excerpts "From the Panel" published in the April 11 print edition of the Washington Post. A partnership with Newsweek, "On Faith" is edited by the magazine's Jon Meacham and the Post's Sally Quinn.
"What's Behind Pope's Apologies?" asks the headline. An editorial note gives readers the question asked "On Faith" panelists:
On this Good Friday, many churches will be offering screenings of Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ, now five years old. It's easy to forget how feverishly the liberal media insulted the film and its maker. Three days before the film came out on Ash Wednesday 2004, CBS "humorist" Andy Rooney railed on 60 Minutes:
“I heard from God just the other night. God always seems to call at night. ‘Andrew,’ God said to me. He always calls me ‘Andrew.’ I like that. ‘Andrew, you have the eyes and ears of a lot of people. I wish you’d tell your viewers that both Pat Robertson and Mel Gibson strike me as wackos. I believe that’s one of your current words. They’re crazy as bedbugs....Mel is a real nut case. What in the world was I thinking when I created him?’”
In our 2004 Special Report on religion coverage, Ken Shepherd and I reported on how the number of stories on religion increased, due in part to controversy over The Passion. But then we explored the tone of that coverage, a tone hostile to Christian orthodoxy:
ABC reporter Bill Weir didn't exactly grill "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane when he interviewed him for "Nightline's" ongoing "Seriously Funny" segment on Monday. The journalist failed to bring up some of the most egregious examples of MacFarlane's cartoon vulgarity, including a March 8 episode that featured bestiality jokes, a gay-hating Jesus Christ and an 11-way gay orgy.
Instead, Weir only vaguely alluded to such instances and asserted, "But, like those other cartoons, his shows raise the most ire with religious and parental watchdog groups. If there is a taboo line, chances are MacFarlane has leaped over it." He did read off a list of topics the show has skewered and then wondered, "Where is the line for you? Is there a line or is that the point?" Once again, however, Weir had no specifics to follow-up. Did he ask about the October 19, 2008 episode in which the program's baby character, Stewie Griffin dressed up as a Nazi and wore a McCain/Palin button? No. MacFarlane, a Barack Obama supporter and liberal Democrat, wasn't forced to talk about that particular low blow.
The University of Maryland recently decided that prayer is not allowed during commencement addresses, but pornographic films are allowed on campus. University officials cited “academic free speech” as the reason to allow the film. Occurring nearly simultaneously, both incidents have garnered extensive media coverage. The question is, will the media question the University’s inconsistency in applying First Amendment principles?
In an arbitrary sweep of political power, the University of Maryland Senate voted to eradicate the practice of prayer at graduation ceremonies. According to the university paper The Diamondback, “The senate approved a proposal that eliminates a prayer invocation at the university's annual commencement ceremony in a 32-14 vote after a lengthy debate that touched on the controversial issue of the separation of church and state.”
The university has a tradition of allowing an “all-inclusive” invocation to be given at the beginning of each commencement address by any one of the fourteen university chaplains.
The hubbub over conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh proclaiming he hoped the policies enacted by President Barack Obama fail has gone on for months. It has drawn scorn and condemnation from voices in the media and on the left.
However, one committed and very controversial lefty isn't as up in arms about it as one might have thought he would be. HBO's "Real Time" host Bill Maher told the Orlando Sentinel on April 6 Limbaugh's remarks weren't as outrageous as some of his allies on the left have alleged. However, he did manage to take one shot at the conservative radio host.
"Maher says he is surprised the Republicans didn't give Obama more of a honeymoon," Hal Boedeker, the television critic for the Orlando Sentinel, wrote. "His take on Rush Limbaugh? ‘We all say crazy stuff when we're high,' Maher says, with a laugh. But Maher doesn't criticize Limbaugh for a line about hoping Obama will fail."
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford always seems to be trying really hard to be the left-wing atheist equivalent of Ann Coulter. His Friday column seems designed to shock and appall traditional Catholics on the occasion of Pope Benedict's apparently unforgivable statement that condoms don't help with the AIDS epidemic. (He makes no attempt to square his argument with the Harvard research scientist who wrote "The Pope May Be Right" in The Washington Post.)
His headline? "Pope, extra ribbed: Benedict says condoms make AIDS worse; God recoils in shame." This is an odd headline for a man who really doesn't believe in a god, at least not one that he can't get caught in his zipper. He began:
What sort of wretched deity is this? What sort of tormented, clenched God must you believe in to cause you to openly promote ignorance and death for the sake of power and ideology and fear -- always, always a deep fear -- of love and sex and basic human connection?
“People are looking for something to criticize.” Yes, Barbara they are. And you were once among them.
Barbara Walters took exception to complaints from some that the Obamas made a royal mess of British protocol when meeting the queen of England. However, just over a year ago, Walters herself sniffed at the Bush White House for sending her a Christmas card containing [gasp!] “Scripture.”
On the April 2 episode of “The View,” the co-hosts discussed the murmurings that the president and first lady broke protocol when meeting the queen of England. Walters got visibly upset, waving her hands and speaking in a high, mocking tone saying, “And then people criticize because you know people are looking for something to criticize,” she said. “It makes me unhappy we are always looking for something to criticize, ‘Why did she put her arm around the queen?’.”
The article begins by slamming those who oppose Obama's appearance at Notre Dame as "seem[ing] to believe they are more Catholic than the pope." It also besmirches the Cardinal Newman Society, a leading voice in opposition to Obama's appearance, as "a self-appointed guardian of orthodoxy."
The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.
“Viewer Discretion is advised.” That’s right. Tuesday night’s debut of Fox’s new reality show “Osbournes: Reloaded” was not suitable for anyone who believes marriage is sacred.
The Osbourne family’s new variety show made light of the covenant of marriage as Ozzy Osbourne walked the real-life bride down the aisle. Ironically, the preacher warned that marriage is “not something to be entered into lightly.”
Any show involving the Osbournes is sure to have its fair share of f-bombs and inappropriate humor and the March 31st unveiling of Fox’s ”Osbourne’s: Reloaded” was no exception. But it was the strange marriage ceremony held on-stage before an audience of thousands that was the true head-scratcher.
PBS "To the Contrary" host, staunch feminist, and Pope-basherBonnie Erbe has now taken to preaching vegetarianism on the Thomas Jefferson Street blog at US News & World Report. Fortunately for everyone, Erbe wouldn't dream of joining vegan supermodels in skin-bearing protest. All the same, she threw out this ridiculous claim to Christian readers in a March 27 post:
Even if you believe in the Christian god, there is ample evidence that Jesus Christ was a vegetarian.
Of course, the Bible records that the resurrected Jesus not only ate but on one occasion personally prepared a tasty breakfast of broiled fish for his disciples. Perhaps that's why Erbe hedged her bets by adding:
Erbe began by expressing her glee at the opportunity to write about this: “The controversy over Notre Dame University’s invitation to President Obama to deliver this year’s commencement address is too tempting for me not to join, so here goes.” Not to nitpick Bonnie, but you got the name of the institution wrong. Notre Dame University is in Lebanon. The Catholic school in South Bend, Indiana is the University of Notre Dame. The difference does matter.
An offended Chris Matthews, on Thursday night's "Hardball," was so shocked by Sarah Palin's claim that there wasn't anybody to pray with on the McCain campaign, that he hurled multiple insults Palin's way, calling her, "a little scary," and asked if Palin thought McCain was, "the Anti-Christ?" Matthews was appalled by Palin's recent revelation that she had trouble finding someone to pray with before her vice presidential debate and the MSNBC host worried such talk about "The Deity in a political environment," wasn't "normal."
Matthews' guest panelists also joined in the fray as the Washington Post's Lois Romano declared, "I think it's bizarre and I think it's judgmental," and Mother Jones magazine's David Corn cackled it was "mean and catty." RNC chair Michael Steele was also knocked for a recent profession of faith, as Matthews blurted: "Why does everything sound like the '700 Club,' with this party now? I mean everything seems to be a religious discussion."
Matthews and his panel didn't just stop at insulting Palin's religious beliefs, they also belittled Palin for her hand gestures and attractiveness. Over video of Palin waving at a campaign rally Matthews ridiculed: "You know, doing that windshield wiper wave though is not serious. That's not a serious wave. I'm sorry that's not what you do when you want to lead the free world. That's, that's more like, 'I'm a celebrity and people like me.'
And just before that snide comment from Matthews, Romano and Corn dismissed Palin for her looks:
Major media began shielding Barack Obama from criticism early in the presidential primaries. It's no surprise, then, when they continue to do so today. However, the media's collective, instinctive tone-deafness in regard to grassroots activities continues to stun and amaze.
NewsBusters has so far noted several grassroots efforts that have been ignored – despite similar left-leaning efforts getting fantastic coverage. For example, there was Noel Sheppard's initial entry on the Chicago Tea Parties, and the tiny amount of coverage they received. Then, there was Warner Todd Huston, noting the San Francisco Chronicle's preferential treatment of an anti-Wall Street protest. For the magnum opus, however, we turn to the entire mainstream media's blind eye – pointed squarely at the University of Notre Dame.
The three largest mainstream media wire services all agreed that supporters of Pope Benedict XVI who dared to stand up to anti-Catholic leftists in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Sunday were extremists of the right of some sort. The Associated Press used the “right-wing” label to describe the faithful Catholics. Both Reuters and the French Agence France-Presse both used the term “far-right youths,” with the AFP going so far as describing the pro-Benedict protesters as “far-right militants” in another report.
ACT-UP Paris, joined by communists and “green” activists, protested in front of the famed Gothic cathedral to voice opposition to the pontiff’s recent remarks against condom use during his visit to Africa. In addition to holding signs which labeled Benedict XVI an “assassin,” they threw condoms on the ground while giving others to passers-by as people were leaving Mass. The radical left-wing activists skirmished with the supporters of the Pope, leading to the arrest of eleven people by police.
Rock stars are rarely controversial for acting like rock stars. A decadent lifestyle of sex, drugs, and alcohol abuse are the expected menu. In our upside-down popular culture, rock stars create controversy only when they advocate an alternative lifestyle – when they wear purity rings and abstain from sex until marriage.
Some dream of being rock stars just for the selfish fantasy of organizing an assembly line of casual sex partners. In the minds of those with no moral brake on their sex drive, rock stars favoring abstinence are wasting a national resource, akin to monks pledging a vow of poverty while living inside a gold mine.
Last September, the Disney-boosted teen rockers known as the Jonas Brothers were a rich target for mockery at the MTV Video Music Awards for their purity rings. The emcee, a British comedian named Russell Brand, sneered that the Jonas Brothers were "a little bit ungrateful because they could have sex with any woman they want. That is like Superman deciding not to fly and go everywhere on a bus." Tee-hee, and all that.
Time magazine's Jeff "The pope's a Scrooge" Israely is at it again, lecturing Benedict XVI on his "inflammatory rhetoric."
Israely joins CNN's Jack Cafferty, Washington Post/Newsweek's "On Faith", and PBS's Bonnie Erbe in the bash-Benedict choir's latest oratorio. His March 19 article evaluated the pontiff's recent comments on condoms and HIV/AIDS as "candor over P.R.", lamenting Benedict's word choice and seeming lack of concern about how liberal secular media outlets parse his statements (emphases mine):
Amidst the outrage and consternation lies the question: Why? If we already know the basic tenets of church teaching — not to mention the extent of the AIDS epidemic and disproportionate ignorance about condom use in Africa — why did the Pope say what he said, when and where he said it? What do this and other recent episodes tell us about how the modern papacy operates at that unique nexus where philosophy meets public relations? And why, nearly four years into his reign, does this hyper articulate and well-versed Pope continue to see his attempts at mass communication blow up in his face?
Seemingly not satisfied with bashing the likes of former President Bush or Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, CNN commentator Jack Cafferty took aim at a more international target on Wednesday’s Situation Room -- Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church. He joined PBS’s Bonnie Erbe and the Washington Post’s On Faith webpage in attacking the pontiff’s recent comment against the effectiveness of condoms in reducing the spread of HIV in Africa. Cafferty used the standard left-wing talking point that the Church is stuck in the Middle Ages: “It’s time -- it is past time for the Catholic Church to enter the 21st century, or at least try to drag itself out of the 13th century.”
After quoting the pope’s remark, Cafferty summarized the Church’s overall message of “encouraging sexual abstinence as the way to stop the disease from spreading.” He then actually blamed this message indirectly for the spread of the virus: “Obviously, the message has not delivered the desired results in Africa -- 22 million people in Africa infected with HIV. Not to mention right here in our nation’s capital -- a new report shows that three percent of Washington, DC’s residents have HIV or AIDS....One official says Washington rates are higher than parts of West Africa, and on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya.”
Hell hath no fury like a feminist writer directing a hissy fit at the pope.
Bonnie Erbe -- the US News & World Report contributing editor and PBS "To the Contrary" host who argued that Bristol Palin is more "mature" than her abstinence education-advocating mother -- finds the pope "horrifically ignorant" when it comes to HIV/AIDS.
What exactly did the pontiff say that set Erbe off? Try, "AIDS cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms," hardly a controversial, implausible statement, but one that, to Erbe, showed the pope has "no sympathy" for women in Africa.
CBS merely brushed off the controversy that upset many members of the Mormon Church when interviewing HBO’s “Big Love” star Bill Paxton on March 16, 2009.
The TV series about a Mormon polygamist has not surprisingly gotten plenty of attention in its three years on air. This time, however, “Big Love” is causing trouble because the March 15 episode showed a highly sacred Mormon temple ceremony. CBS’s The Early Show host Chris Wragge mentioned the controversy during an interview with gave to Paxton:
WRAGGE: Yeah, I want to talk a little bit about last night's episode. There was some controversy there. The show depicted, uh, I guess one of the secret elements of the Mormon Church, an endowment ceremony which is not something that's been widely publicized. A lot of people don't know about it … Bill, I know you weren't in the scene. HBO had issued a preemptive apology. Obviously the episode still aired, but it caused a little controversy. As an actor, with something like this when you're on such sensitive territory, how, I mean, you really have to stay right on script here. There's not a lot of variation you can take or any creative liberties, but how tough was a scene like that?
As a social liberal, Frank Rich is feeling his oats. The New York Times columnist has declared the culture wars (one-sided affairs waged only by conservatives) to be over. But in his March 14 New York Times column, he couldn’t resist a last gloating shot at the “ayatollahs” and “family-values dinosaurs” that have the temerity to suggest there’s a place for traditional morality in the American public square.
"Here, at last, is one piece of good news in our global economic meltdown," wrote Rich. "Americans have less and less patience for the intrusive and divisive moral scolds who thrived in the bubbles of the Clinton and Bush years. Culture wars are a luxury the country — the G.O.P. included — can no longer afford."
Family Guy – talk about a misnomer. The animated Fox television series crossed sexual, moral and religious boundaries on Sunday evening when it aired content inappropriate for its young target audience.
The controversial material was not limited to one subject, or isolated in a single scene. Images of gay men kissing, a baby eating semen, physical abuse, sexual touching and a half naked male were just a few of the disturbing images viewers were treated to in the March 8 episode.
The Parents Television Council has issued a press release regarding the indecent content. Tim Winter, President of the PTC has alerted the Federal Communications Commission to the controversial content aired at 8:00pm CT, during the so-called family hour.
The rage among some Italian dioceses is to call on Catholics to shut off the Internet connection, put down the I-pod and chill out on texting for the Lenten fast.
This may contradict the pope, who just recently extolled social networking to forge worldwide understanding and approved a Vatican channel on YouTube. (I wonder if they shut that down for Lent?)
Grossman apparently has trouble reconciling the Vatican's desire to engage social media outlets to reach out to young Catholics and evangelize potential converts with the pastoral counsel from priests and bishops that fasting from too much of a good thing -- such as text messaging -- may help sharpen one's spiritual devotion during the Lenten season:
The Oklahoma senator gave a lengthy floor speech and mentioned that Sen. Jim DeMint's effort to force an up-or-down vote on the Fairness Doctrine issue, which passed 87-11 in the Senate, was a good beginning.
"Last week's vote was the first nail in the coffin of the Fairness Doctrine, but it was not the end of the attempt on the part of some people to regulate the airwaves," Inhofe said. "Now, I have long been outspoken on this issue, and it gives me great satisfaction that so many of my colleagues voted in favor of free speech over government regulation last week, but the debate has changed."
He warned that an amendment offered by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., which passed 57-41, was equally as threatening.