Christmas: a season of generosity, good cheer, preparation for Christ’s birth – and a swarm of lawyers seeking to purge any mention of Christianity from the public square.
Every Christmas, the so-called secular community starts shrieking whenever any mention of religion is brought into the public eye. Lawyers successfully targeted a school’s performance of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’ Even Christmas trees have too much religious content to suit the self-appointed censors.
As we at NewsBusters have noticed, Advent and Lent seem to be the times of year that the liberal secular media loves to tweak devout Christians with attacks on historic, orthodox Christian teaching. The latest example is the media being abuzz over Irish playwright and novelist Colm Toibin's "The Testament of Mary."
The "silent, obedient, observant" Mary of Scripture that has "echoed down" through church history is ripped apart by "the masterful Irish writer Colm Toibin" who "puts a jackhammer to the cozy, safe, Christmas-card version" of the Mother of God, gushed Karen Long of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in a December 7 Religion News Service piece accessible at the Washington Post's "On Faith" section.
[Update, Saturday, 9 pm Eastern: Ranger Up also promoted the vulgar image on their Twitter account.]
On Friday, Ranger Up, an apparel company that sells "shirts for the military and the patriotic Americans who love the men and women of the Armed Forces", inexplicably posted a crude rendition of Pope Benedict XVI on their Facebook page, which has over 82,000 fans. The graphic invokes a famous Marilyn Monroe scene in the movie The Seven Year Itch. Instead of standing on the streets of New York City, the Pope is in the middle of a park in the tropics, and a little girl appears to be running away in horror of the sight of the pontiff's bare legs. [image below the jump]
So far, over 350 people have "liked" the image on Facebook, it's been shared 122 times, and several anti-Catholic posts have been left on its comment thread, with no reply or comment from the anyone at the company.
As if a puffy seven-minute-plus story on Morning Edition wasn't enough publicity for Irish novelist Colm Toibin's abrasive takedown of the Virgin Mary, NPR's Terry Gross offered another promotional 45 minutes on Monday's Fresh Air. There's nothing NPR likes better than taking this humble, devout disciple and transforming her into some sort of bitter Real Housewife of Nazareth.
Toibin was encouraged to read passages from this vicious little Bible-shredding screed, about how Mary couldn't stand the sound of her own son's preaching: "my son would insist on silence and begin to address them as though they were a crowd, his voice all false and his tone all stilted, and I could not bear to hear him." Gross asked the obvious softball. Ahem, you know this sounds like you want to push Christianity down and steal its lunch money?
Reuters reports the Pope is entering the world of Twitter at "Pontifex." On Monday morning's Bill Press show, the former seminarian mocked the 85-year-old pontiff: "What do you think the chances are that the Pope has any idea how to access Twitter?" By the way, hip Bill Press is 72.
Press producer Peter Ogburn mocked the plan for the Pope to answer tweeted questions at #askpontifex. He read some favorites, which ranged from Jesus-and-microwaved-burrito questions to the assertion that the Catholic Church is causing "millions to die in the Third World" by opposing condoms: [ relevant video follows the article ]
When the word "God" becomes inappropriate in public schools, America really has ceased to exist.
Consider the story of a first-grade girl in West Marion, North Carolina, who had the word "God" stripped from a poem she wrote and was going to read at her school's Veterans Day assembly earlier this month.
You may recall when CBS fired Charlie Sheen early last year from the popular Two and a Half Men series for a string of "felony offenses involving moral turpitude." In the weeks and months that preceded this decision, an increasingly erratic Sheen received an inordinate amount of media attention for his drug-induced rants. To this day however, Sheen's bad boy persona is received warmly by the media, and he's been rewarded for it with ad spots for Fiat and DirecTV and even another show on the FX network that jokingly plays off his history of reckless hedonism.
By contrast, Sheen's former co-star, Angus T. Jones, the titular "half man" on the sitcom, has been castigated by the media for his recent religious conversion and subsequent YouTube testimonial in which he urged folks to avoid his popular TV series. Perhaps pressured by producers, Jones has since apologized for coming across as indifferent and unappreciative for the lucrative opportunity, but that hasn't stopped the media for characterizing Jones's video as another celebrity meltdown. [ video below the page break ]
Current TV's Joy Behar on Monday compared religion to drug addiction.
This occurred during a discussion on her appropriately named Say Anything show about Angus T. Jones's plea that folks not watch the "filth" on his hit program Two and a Half Men (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MRC president Brent Bozell ripped The New York Times and the Washington Post in his November 17 column for their positive reviews of Colm Toibin's short novel "The Testament of Mary," which distorts the biblical Virgin Mary into an angry woman bitter at her son Jesus' crucifixion and filled with contempt for His followers. But these left-leaning rags weren't the only media outlets boosting Toibin's iconoclastic re-purposing of the Mother of God.
NPR boosted the Irish writer in an interview on the November 13 episode of Morning Edition. Correspondent Lynn Neary could have been mistaken for a publicist for Toibin as she unquestioningly forwarded his talking points on the book. Neary acknowledged that Toibin's warped version of Mary is a "controversial figure," but barely touched on how Christians - especially Catholics and Orthodox Christians - might be offended by his novel.
The media in Fargo, North Dakota were scandalized when a nearby Minnesota priest informed the parents of Lennon Cihak that he would not be confirmed in the local Catholic church after he posted a picture on Facebook supporting gay marriage (or a No vote on the traditional-marriage ballot initiative). Naturally, the liberal parents – who agree with their son – were shocked, shocked that the church would stand for something.
“You kind of know the Catholic beliefs, but I never thought they would deny somebody confirmation because you weren’t 100 percent. I guess that’s what shocks me,” Shana Cihak said. That’s exactly how the Fargo Forum sold it:
A Christian can be crushed gazing at the picture of Mary standing at the foot of the cross, watching her beloved son suffocate, and die. But in that vision she stands there for hours, patiently enduring her suffering. For two millennia, she has been a role model for Christians, a woman who practiced obedience in the most difficult of human circumstances, with fervent hope for what this sacrifice will offer all mankind as it struggles with sin.
This is why it seems so hard to reflect that vision of patience when black-hearted “artists” practice character assassination on the Blessed Virgin Mary to strip her of every virtue: her patience, her obedience, her courageous love, and her prayerful faith in God. On November 13, Simon & Schuster launched a vicious little 96-page novella titled “The Testament of Mary.”
When the first season of Ryan Murphy’s twisted blood-and-sex fest premiered on FX in 2011 Entertainment Weekly put “American Horror Story” at the top of its “Must-Watch” list.
The original “American Horror Story” pushed explicit content on cable television with voyeurism, dual masturbation, graphic sex and an unhealthy dose of murder, blood and gore. It even featured a child taking vengeance on a bully by slashing his face to bloody ribbons for 43 seconds.
Thirteen Catholic church abuse articles made the front page; just one BBC piece did
Lead sentence linked Pope to scandals 20 times; linked new Times boss to BBC scandals just once.
It’s a horrifying and tragically familiar story: A beloved and trusted institution is rocked by allegations of sexual abuse of minors over many years. Intrepid reporters dig to learn how the crimes could have gone on so for so long, who knew about them, and if officials kept it quiet. Story after newspaper story leads with speculation that corruption may be systemic and the cover-up may go all the way to the man at the top.
In his page A51 November 7 column, "Voting on same-sex marriage, with the Book of Leviticus ringing in my ears," the Washington Post's Courtland Milloy explained how, as a child raised in the "Bible Belt during the 1950s with that Old-Time Religion," he's still haunted by "Leviticus, that strong-arm book of the Bible that for years has tried to dictate my thoughts and actions through fear and guilt and on Tuesday dogged my every step to the polls."
What followed was Milloy recounting his consultations with two liberal theological influences in the local African-American community who helped convince him that voting for same-sex marriage was biblically kosher. He also tossed in a conservative black pastor who was quickly derided as a biblical literalist who is "not literate" in the estimation of a Howard Divinity professor. But at the very close of his column, Milloy rather gratuitously dropped in something that suggests he was struggling with lusting in his heart after President Obama's wife:
Shortly after 1:00 a.m. during MSNBC's election night coverage, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell ridiculously claimed that Democrats are more tolerant of Mormonism than Republicans and blamed the "Bible-thumping side of the Republican party," which he asserted is "where anti-Mormon feeling resides," for political analysts discussing Mitt Romney's Mormon religious beliefs, in spite of polls showing Republicans more inclined to accept a Mormon President than Democrats. O'Donnell:
In the quadrennially important swing state of Ohio, one of the Toledo Blade's featured front page stories on Sunday wondered if Mormonism would shape Romney's policy. Following an endorsement of Obama last week in which there was no mention of the president's beliefs, religion editor Timothy Knox Barger's penned a 2,500 word piece that resorted to scare tactics and conjecture.
Among them was a seemingly legitimate concern that Romney might try to impose a ban on certain things that he's known to abstain from himself -- like coffee for instance.
Remember the good ol' days when folks in the media were fond of telling us that conservative evangelical Christians would exhibit anti-Mormon bigotry and fail to vote for Mitt Romney simply because of his religion?
Appearing on the Conan O'Brien show on Wednesday night, talk show host Chelsea Handler started laughing at the most inopportune time. Judging by the somber look on O'Brien's face, the comedienne hadn't just cracked a joke. No, the unfortunate reason for her giggling was in remembrance of a child who was deprived the chance to live.
Asked to recollect her adolescence, Handler couldn't resist oversharing. Her rebellious lifestyle resulted in an unplanned pregnancy as a teenager, but apparently there was nothing to think twice about. That's when the laughing started. She tried to stop herself, admitting the subject wasn't funny. Yet she continued, trying to justify the humor of her abortion by saying her baby would've been biracial. [ video segment below the page break ]
Back in April, MSNBC's Martin Bashir charged Gov. Mitt Romney with being a liar, went on to quote Mormon doctrinal texts, and strongly hinted that the Republican presidential candidate was in danger of hellfire. In early December 2011, Bashir hinted at a similar pronouncement of anathema on GOP candidate Herman Cain.
But now with just five days left until the election, Bashir is infuriated by a TV ad cut by former Baptist minister and ex-governor Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) which simply reminds Christian voters that God is watching their vote and that their choices at the ballot box ring through to eternity. "Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire?" Huckabee asks in the spot. Bashir, no biblical illiterate he, erroneously took this to be a suggestion that Huckabee was suggesting the "unpardonable sin" was casting a vote for Obama. Both a review of the full context of the ad [embedded below the page break] and a basic understanding of the relevant biblical text Huckabee alludes to shows it's nothing of the sort. [MP3 audio of segment here; video excerpt of Bashir segment also follows page break]
Updated below | An election season mailer linked to Focus on the Family and sent out to evangelical Christian voters in Iowa unfairly quoted President Obama out of context, CNN's Political Tracker blog complained this morning.
Yet in Peter Hamby's blog post -- Anti-Obama mail piece: ‘We are no longer a Christian nation’ -- the CNN.com staffer glossed over the fact that the other charges waged in the mailer are spot-on about areas in which the president is sharply to the left of religious conservatives on abortion, same-sex marriage, and a religious exemption for the contraception mandate (emphasis mine; see mailer photo below page break):
NBC’s sitcom “The New Normal” isn’t just trying to remake society for the Gay Left. It’s trying to remake Christianity, which is to say, destroy it. For its October 22 episode “The Godparent Trap,” NBC ran promos with the gay character Brian in the confessional, and the priest sneering, “If you’re not going to take this seriously, I’m going to go back to playing Angry Birds.”
As the plot unfolds, we’re told Brian was raised Catholic, and as he sits in a pew and looks around at religious pictures, he cracks gay jokes in his mind. He sees the Apostles: “Twelve dudes sitting around gossiping and drinking wine. You call that the Last Supper? I call that a Tuesday night.”
Not content to restrict the ongoing firestorm surrounding Senate candidate Richard Mourdock to the media, CNN's Newsroom turned to liberal comedienne Tina Fey to bash the Indiana Republican some more this morning.
"Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock better watch out," CNN Newsroom anchor Carol Costello warned, teasing the story at the top of the program. "Tina Fey is coming after them. Why the comedian says their rape comments will make her lose her mind." [ video below, MP3 audio here ]
According to the PR “experts” in USA Today's rolodex, it’s downright unnatural that Chick-fil-A is a successful and thriving business. Who knew that so many people supported traditional marriage?
In a piece headlined “Surprise: PR nightmare didn’t damage Chick-fil-A,” Bruce Horovitz was shocked that the popular chicken chain’s markets share and awareness increased after President Dan Cathy told a religious publication his company was “guilty as charged” in supporting the biblical definition of marriage.
You know Obama supporters are getting desperate about their candidate’s electoral prospects when they start to play the anti-Mormon card.
In an October 23 opinion piece in the Washington Post, Barbara Reynolds launched a broadside against Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith, arguing that he has become the “face of Mormonism” in America and complaining “I find it strange that the media are not opening up a dialogue concerning Romney and his faith.”
Leave it to MSNBC to set the record straight, where a defense of conservativism is strictly forbidden. With no one to dispute such claims, one would think the GOP's "war on women" has never been more overt or frightening -- especially after watching News Nation's host Tamron Hall discuss these issues of inequality with her openly liberal guests.
On the Oct. 17 edition of News Nation, Hall invited Salon's fiercely feminist staff writer Irin Carmon and Democratic strategist Keith Boykin on her show to 'fact check' everything Mitt Romney had said the previous night. Hardly a non-partisan duo, their agenda was clear from the beginning. Voting for Mitt Romney could potentially be dangerous for women everywhere. [ video below, MP3 audio available here ]
Pastors -- almost all of them conservative Christian ones -- who participated in "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" on October 7 are not free-speech crusaders but rather simply "rebels" against sensible U.S. tax policy, Yale law professor Adam Cohen complained in an October 16 TIME Ideas blog post. Cohen groused that The participants are trying to bait the IRS into coming after them so they can mount a legal challenge to the politics ban. So far, no luck, though they show no signs of quitting.
Cohen -- who once insisted the First Amendment's free speech guarantees are "vague"-- complained that pastors of tax-exempt churches issuing approval or condemnation of political candidates or legislation from the pulpit would in some way constitute a government subsidy of that political view. That's a popular view among liberals but it is a fundamentally-flawed premise that only makes sense if you believe that tax monies fundamentally BELONG to the government in the first place.
The book industry seems to be collapsing, at least that hallowed old paper-and-glue industry that promoted serious ideas. Even talk-radio and TV hosts are spending less time with authors. There are exceptions – but they won’t make you feel optimistic about books.
Exhibit A of today’s kind of author: Jenny McCarthy, the former Playboy centerfold who’s parlayed her nudie shots into a long list of TV gigs and six best-selling “humor”/advice books (which absolutely no one might guess were written by someone else). Her latest must be her lamest. It’s called “Bad Habits: Confessions of a Recovering Catholic.” She’s wearing a nun’s habit on the cover. Original, huh?
As far as Joe Kernen of CNBC's Squawk Box is concerned, the word 'virgin' and Tim Tebow are synonomous. Apparently, there can be no conversation about Tebow without bringing it up in a mocking manner for what is essentially a deliberate and faith-based decision.
In an interview with New York Jets owner Woody Johnson on Wednesday morning, the conversation transitioned from politics to football. Co-host Becky Quick asked about the backup quarterback, wondering what the future may hold for him. As complimentary as he could be, Johnson was adamant that Tebow will be on the team for at least three seasons.
That's when Kernen perked up, posing an innappropriate question for the team's boss without a second thought. [ video below the page break, MP3 audio available here ]