In Sunday's edition, the Washington Post perhaps unintentionally did conservative critics of Reza Aslan a favor by printing liberal religion scholar Stephen Prothero's review of the UC Riverside creative writing professor's new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.
"Aslan is more a storyteller here than a historian" who doesn't bring "much new here other than [his] slick writing and cinematic sensibilities." "In the end, 'Zealot' offers readers not the historical Jesus but a Jesus for our place and time — an American Jesus for the 21st century, and more specifically for a post-Sept. 11 society struggling to make sense of Christianity’s ongoing rivalry with Islam," Prothero argued, adding in closing that in Aslan's eyes:
The media has proclaimed that conservatives and proponents of religious liberty are engaging in a “war against women.” Conservatives, so the narrative goes, fired the first shots by opposing taxpayer funded contraceptives and abortofacients under the HHS Mandate, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014. Nancy Pelosi first claimed Republicans were engaging in a “war against women” in 2011, and the networks have followed suit, claiming that the GOP was trying to “limit women’s access to contraceptives and abortion.”
But hundreds of women met to host a “Women Speak for Themselves (WSFT) rally outside the White House on Aug. 1, 2013 to protest the HHS Mandate and what the media says about women’s rights.
You knew the warm fuzzies for Pope Francis couldn't last that long. While the media initially went gaga over Pope Francis, hoping beyond hope he was some liberal reformer who would open up the Catholic Church to all kinds of heterodoxy, the reality is slowly setting in. The first-ever Latin American pontiff is warm, genial, charismatic, and an excellent communicator with both the public and the press, but he's solidly conservative in doctrine, particularly the issue of biggest concern for the liberal media: sexual ethics.
The other day, it was TIME's Tim Padgett, blasting the pope over the Church's teaching on homosexuality. Today it's Vanity Fair contributing editor Janine di Giovanni, who penned an attack on Francis in a "world news" feature at the Daily Beast that was not tagged as commentary and headlined, "What About Women, Pope Francis?" Out of the gate, di Giovanni went after the bishop of Rome (emphasis mine):
Author Reza Aslan was disingenuous about his biases in his weekend interview with Fox News Channel's Lauren Green, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell told FNC's Shannon Bream on the July 31 edition of America Live. Aslan, as a Muslim, denies the divinity of Christ, and should have been straightforward about how his religious beliefs would necessarily color his view of Jesus, which he protests is purely a scholarly inquiry.
Besides proudly insisting he has no biases, Aslan got a number of basic things about Christ wrong, Bozell said, including the absurd claim that Jesus is never quoted in any biblical account as claiming divinity. Additionally, the MRC president noted, Aslan "also said, more than once, that he had a history degree in religion" when "in fact, he doesn't." [to watch the full segment, view the embedded video below the page break]
While most liberal media outlets have been positively giddy about Pope Francis's off-the-cuff remarks to the media about gay Catholics, Tim Padgett is having none of it, complaining, accurately, that the media have misconstrued the pontiff's comments. But Padgett's beef is not with inaccurate secular media outlets but with the church itself. "Catholic doctrine still vilifies homosexuality, and no amount of priestly 'love' makes that okay," huffed the sanctimonious headline to Padgett's July 30 story, "Pope Francis and Gays: 'Loving the Sinner' Is Still Intolerance."
"As TIME’s Stephen Faris has noted, while the Pope’s remarks might be a welcome and humane sentiment, they hardly represent a break with Catholic church doctrine, which still condemns homosexuality. The Vatican’s catechismal stance regarding the LGBTs in our midst remains the same: The church may love the sinner, but it hates the sin," complained Padgett in a post on the Time Ideas blog. Visitors to the main Time.com page were greeted this morning with a huge teaser headline which prompted readers to check out the piece, tagged as a "viewpoint" entry, not an objective news story [see screen capture below]:
Last year, Entertainment Weekly magazine honored the arrival of a viciously anti-Catholic tilt on the FX show “American Horror Story: Asylum,” promoting how actress “Jessica Lange returns, this time as a terrifying nun."
Bigotry sells – big – in Tinseltown. This year, after that “Asylum” season aired, Hollywood has honored the show again by showering it with 17 Emmy nominations. There’s a reason Hollywood revels in Catholic-bashing. The Catholic Church best represents for them an ancient organization with a creed which refuses to genuflect before the modern god of La La Land: untrammeled whims of lust and greed.
Bill Maher has said some disgusting things about religion before.
Possibly the most disgusting came on HBO’s Real Time Friday when the host actually said, “God in the Old Testament is a psychotic mass murderer” (video follows with transcript and commentary, file photo):
It seems as though some media personalities never miss an opportunity to slam the Catholic Church. Take for example the July 18 Imus In The Morning on Fox Business, in which host Don Imus took an unnecessary swipe at Pope Francis and the sex abuse scandal surrounding the Catholic Church.
Speaking with Father Jonathan Morris, a regular Fox News contributor, Imus suggested that, “because of all the problems the church has had, he [should] get an ice cream truck," presumably making that crack because ice cream trucks are quite the draw for children. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
One might think that with the constant barrage of liberally-slanted news and commentary on NPR news shows, NPR game shows would give the liberal bias a rest. That is certainly not true for the top NPR game show “Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me,” a show based on current events. That humor sometimes goes beyond the pale, as it did Saturday.
During the show’s “Lightning Fill in the Blank” segment Saturday, NPR game show host Peter Sagal asked a question about KFC considering a lawsuit against a Thailand restaurant that used an altered version of the Colonel Sanders logo -- one that had an image of Adolf Hitler superimposed over Sanders. After advice columnist Amy Dickinson provided an incorrect answer to Sagal, he said that the restaurant would just use Chick-fil-A’s logo the next time.
Controversial sex columnist and liberal political activist Dan Savage was treated to a hero’s welcome—courtesy in part to taxpayer funding— by NPR’s mega-affiliate (staff of 55) WBEZ in Chicago. He appeared June 28 on WBEZ’s interview program "Afternoon Shift" to promote his most recent book on politics, "American Savage." WBEZ business reporter and interim Host Niala Boodhoo acted more like an adoring fan than an impartial journalist.
Even though the 24-minute interview was primarily about political matters, never once did Boodhoo challenge the incendiary Savage. She didn’t ask him about his many outrageous actions and statements over the years (such as wishing cancer on Sarah Palin, calling the Pope obscene names, and calling for political opponents to perform sexual acts on him; see NewsBusters' archive for a partial list), or about him then broadly painting all opponents of same-sex marriage as “haters.” In fact, Boodhoo sympathetically brought up what Savage calls “Bigot Christmas,” where Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage went to Savage’s house for dinner (and debate).
Readers are advised to prepare themselves for a rare dose of sanity and reality on television.
On CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday, journalism professor Steve Roberts actually said, "What's missing often in TV newsrooms: there are plenty of gays, there are very few people of faith and very few evangelical Christians who in their own beliefs would be against gay marriage. And this has always bothered me" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Offending gays or speaking ill of Muslims is a cultural taboo, but mocking the Blessed Virgin Mary is just good clean fun.
That was the approach the Santa Fe Reporter took when it published its 2013 Summer Guide. The New Mexico weekly’s cover featured a full-page cartoon of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a strapless yellow bikini and sunglasses, sipping a margarita, accompanied by a beer-drinking hiker and a shirtless cowboy.
Brightening up my Monday morning (not) is an item carried at CNN.com last Friday whose headline basically tells loyal, faithful spouses that they're nature-defying freaks who in the vast majority of cases are ignorantly honoring an institution which doesn't make any sense.
Meghan Laslocky doesn't have the gumption to use those words. But what else are we supposed to conclude from a column entitled "Face it: Monogamy is unnatural"? Not that there isn't some inadvertent humor, which I'll get to after excerpting her column (HT Hot Air Headlines; bolds are mine):
Those paranoid Christians. Always thinking someone is persecuting them. Pro-gay violence? Christians bullied for supporting traditional marriage? Puh-leeze. Just grow up already. That stuff never happens. Only gays get bullied.
That was the sarcastic approach of comedian Samantha Bee in a fake reporting segment she filmed for “The Daily Show.” Interviewing (controversial) right-wing evangelical pastor Matt Slick, she scoffed at his claim that gay agenda activists are “not tolerant,” and mocked the idea in a satirical exposé of anti-Christian bullying.
In Tuesday's Washington Post, Tom Hundley of the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting gave Post readers a textbook example in biased reporting freighted with loaded language. The target was a predictable bogeyman of secular liberal reporters: the Catholic Church.
Hundley painted the constitutional court battle over a "reproductive health law" in the Philippines as a struggle "pit[ting] the entrenched power of the Roman Catholic establishment against a rising tide of modernization and economic aspiration." You read that right. It's progress and prosperity against repression and Romanism according to Hundley.
And Rabbi Joshua Hammerman thought he had a “Tebow Problem” before. Back in 2011, the columnist at The Jewish Week fretted that the Tim Tebow-led Denver Broncos might beat his “beloved” New England Patriots in the upcoming AFC championship game. But his wasn’t a fan’s normal pre-game nervousness. It was the hand-wringing of a liberal bigot.
Hammerman imagined that the rubes in fly-over country regarded the “blue-clad Patriots, from the bluest of blue states” as the “Sons of Darkness, with their perfectly coiffed Hollywood quarter back” their “diabolical hoodie-clad coach” and “the most identifiably Jewish owner in sports.” Against Tebow, the “poster boy of the Christian right,” they’d be “playing the role of Pilate.” (In the event, the Broncos lost, forestalling Tebow’s Christian fans from “burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants” in celebration, as Hammerman had warned.)
On Comedy Central’s Colbert Report Monday, the anti-bullying advocate said that Vatican City’s healthcare plan doesn’t include birth control “because altar boys can’t get pregnant” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The New York Times may have rebuffed Attorney General Eric Holder’s off-the-record meeting with journalists about leak investigations, but they displayed how they really weren’t angry by burying an actual account of that meeting inside Friday’s paper, while the front page carried stories like “A New Step in Wrestling With the Bra.”
Perhaps the most surprising judgment of what was front page-worthy was an obituary for Father Andrew Greeley, as if he were the Cardinal of Chicago. The Washington Post summed him up well: “an iconoclastic priest and sociologist who irked the Catholic hierarchy by writing best-selling novels that featured churchly misdeeds and graphic sex.” He was also a liberal newspaper columnist. Greeley's “New Deal liberalism” equals newsworthy?
The New Republic has easily demonstrated just how ridiculous The Washington Post's book review of the new Dan Savage is to claim that “reconciliation is at the heart of everything Savage writes and says.”
In "The Waning Power of Dan Savage," Daniel D'Addario dismisses the new book as "a very public act of self-love." Later, he explained "The nadir of American Savage comes when Savage prints a one-act play called 'Jesus and the Huge A--hole,' about religious objectors to Obamacare." Jesus swears like a Savage:
NPR could stand for Not Pro-Religion. It’s the taxpayer-subsidized network with the Wiccan-priestess reporter. On Friday’s All Things Considered, NPR promoted a new horror movie in which “it’s not the Devil that’s scary.” Instead, “the religious horror is religion itself.”
NPR is pushing an “atheist’s take on Catholic horror.” Those teachings can be “terrifying.” (Disclaimer: NPR reserves the right to spare Muslims all of these criticisms.) The director’s name is Rodrigo Gudino, and reporter Beth Accomando explained the plot:
Police haven’t pinned responsibility on anyone yet for the alleged “hate crimes” against gays in New York, but “Social Justice Activist” Murray Lipp has already decided who’s to blame for the violence: religion, patriarchal society, and too many straight people.
That’s right. Writing on the Huffington Post’s “Gay Voices” page, Lipp insisted the blame for violent hate crimes be laid at the door of traditional groups or beliefs he claims “create and fuel homophobia in society.” Catching the crime’s culprits isn’t enough, Lipp protested; it’s time to raze traditional societal structures and rebuild society from the ground up. “Homophobic beliefs drive homophobic conduct,” he opined.
Pope Francis made waves on Wednesday when he said that atheists can do good; but some media headlines jumped on the chance to portray the new pontiff as bucking Church teaching.
Preaching on Christ’s words that “Whoever is not against us is for us,” Pope Francis emphasized that Christ died to redeem all men, “even atheists,” and insisted we can’t assume non-believers cannot do good. Such people can do good, he said, and “must,” because of “this commandment at heart: do good and avoid evil.”
The Washington Post made a fool of its corporate self by starting a website called “On Faith” and putting at its head the secularist Sally Quinn. Oh, she claims to be interested by religion – just as King Herod thought Christ’s miracles sounded amusing, like he was a hippie magician like Doug Henning.
In Saturday’s paper, Quinn turned dead serious about sexual assault in the military, even asserting that “sexual assault is part of the military culture.” Naturally, Quinn puts a huge part of the blame on Christians, and the infection of their organizing groups in the military:
"Pope Francis canonized more than 800 Catholics in Saint Peter’s Square Sunday – the largest number to be elevated to sainthood at once in the history of the Catholic Church," Lavanga noted. But alas, "The choice of some of the new saints was also striking, touching on the already-fragile relationship between Christianity and Islam" because the "new saints included hundreds of laymen from the southern Italian port town of Otranto who were slain in the 15th century by the invading Ottoman Turkish army after they refused to convert to Islam."
The 2012 annual report on priestly sexual abuse in the Catholic Church featured an audit done by StoneBridge Business Partners, and the data were gathered by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).
The report on sexual abuse, part of an annual audit, is available on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Apparently, almost no one has read it. Not a single secular newspaper in the United States reported on it.
The revelation that the IRS was being used by liberals as a political weapon against conservative groups like the Tea Party makes NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman's 2009 call on the tax agency to investigate Catholic bishops even more chilling.
During an MSNBC November 12, 2009 segment about Catholic bishops' opposition to abortion funding in ObamaCare, Snyderman joined NOW President Terry O'Neill in calling on the IRS to investigate them. (video after the jump)
Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise was obnoxious enough when he was mocking the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments, but in Sunday's paper, he tries to be humorous by suggesting how Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper at age 20 is greater than most of our greatest humans when they were 20: better than Thomas Edison, better than Albert Einstein, better than Gandhi, and better than Franklin Roosevelt.
That may be true in history, but then Wise had to drag in Jesus Christ. How do you compare God to a baseball star? But Wise just thinks religion is something he can pick on weekly:
On his HBO Real Time program, during a discussion about sexual assaults in our armed forces, the host said, "The reason why more rapists go into the military is the same reason why predators go into the Catholic Church: it’s a place they know they can get away with it" (video follows with transcript and commentary):