ABCNews.com, reporting on the Catholic Diocese of Rome refusing permission to Ron Howard’s plans to film the movie prequel to Dan Brown’s "The DaVinci Code" in two historic churches, used loaded wording in the headline: "Church Cracks Down on New ‘Da Vinci’ Film."
The lead for the report, written by Phoebe Natanson and Luchina Fisher, also used similar imagery to describe the Catholic Church’s refusal: "Once again, the Catholic Church is coming down hard on writer Dan Brown, the author of ‘The Da Vinci Code.’ The producers of Brown's latest thriller to be made into a film, ‘Angels and Demons,’ have been banned from filming key scenes inside any church in Rome, on the grounds that the book is "an offense against God," according to a church spokesman.
Speaking of "coming down hard," wasn’t Brown doing just that in "The Da Vinci Code" by depicting the Catholic Church as a nefarious organization?
Using the sexual abuse scandal as a backdrop, a dissident former bishop from Australia, Geoffrey Robinson, has penned a book on the Catholic Church. As a Statement from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference clearly articulates, Robinson's book is riddled with serious theological and doctrinal concerns. The Conference also concluded that Robinson's book ultimately questions a number of Catholic fundamentals, including:
On the one hand, I have to give the Washington Post some credit for its biased June 16 story about a new pro-life pharmacy set to open in northern Virginia this summer. Even with its less-than-fair treatment, it informs pro-life readers of a new pharmacy they may wish to patronize. Of course the store opening is worthy of news coverage for a number of reasons, such as the intersection of faith and professional ethics in health care, but unfortunately, staffer Rob Stein started right off the bat slanting coverage in a way to disparage the enterprise.
When DMC Pharmacy opens this summer on Route 50 in Chantilly, the shelves will be stocked with allergy remedies, pain relievers, antiseptic ointments and almost everything else sold in any drugstore. But anyone who wants condoms, birth control pills or the Plan B emergency contraceptive will be turned away.
Robert Koehler of Variety is upset at Director Mark Pellington over his new film, "Henry Poole Is Here." He can't believe the audacity of a movie with religious themes actually having religious themes in it. Why it's a crime, you see. Koehler is so upset that he blurts out the memorable critique of, "not since 'The Passion of the Christ' has a mainstream Hollywood product insisted so firmly in faith"!
Wow, "insisted" firmly in faith? Oh, the humanity. Why there oughtta be a law!
You can just feel the anguish that Koehler has that this director dared to feature religious conversion, religious discussions, and a serious attempt to legitimize faith in his film. Of course, to Koehler, that fealty to faith absolutely must be at the expense of science. In fact, he sees "jabs at science" at every turn in the flick. Koehler is entirely incensed that anyone dare make a movie that presents belief in God in a positive light as a force that can affect "growth" in people. The outright hostility that Koehler has for religion is shocking. It has to be seen to be believed.
[Update (16:33 EDT): The AP has changed its lede to read "The Vatican insisted Friday that it is properly following Christian tradition by excluding females from the priesthood as it issued a new warning that women taking part in ordinations will be excommunicated." (h/t Damian G. of Conservathink).]
According to the Associated Press, the Vatican is "slamming the door on attempts by women to become priests in the Roman Catholic Church." But it's rather hard to slam shut a door that was never open, which is what Catholic Church teaching holds about women serving in the priesthood.
From a May 30 article entitled "Vatican: excommunication for female priests" (paragraph break removed):
VATICAN CITY - The Vatican is slamming the door on attempts by women to become priests in the Roman Catholic Church. It has strongly reiterated in a decree that anyone involved in ordination ceremonies is automatically excommunicated. A top Vatican official said in a statement Friday that the church acted following what it called "so-called ordinations" in various parts of the world.
Yet far from "slamming" shut the possibility of female priests, the Catholic Church holds that God, speaking to His people through the words of Scripture -- not the Pope or the Church -- bars women from clerical office. This, however, by no means diminishes the role of women in the life of the church, as Catholic apologist Jason Evert explains (emphasis mine):
Los Angeles Times media critic Tim Rutten, in his latest column titled "The rebirth of abortion," voiced his dismay that social conservatives are reviving the issue of abortion in the 2008 presidential campaign. "If there's one issue that epitomizes the culture wars that have so deeply divided American politics over the last eight years, it's abortion. That's why those who benefited most from those wars are desperate to revive abortion's single-issue virulence in this presidential cycle." He continued that "some on the right think they see an opportunity to hammer once more on the abortion wedge."
Rutten also launched an attack one key member of the so-called "hard cultural right:" Robert Novak. At one point, Rutten suggested that if Novak used a phrase like "abortion industry" to describe abortionists and their supporters, it would be legitimate to use a term like "under the sway of neo-fascist clericism" to describe Novak and his pro-life fellow travelers.
A major child sex abuse scandal has erupted in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Where's the national media?
Steve Thomas Rooney faces 13 felony sex-related counts, including charges that he had unlawful sex with two female students, ages 13 and 14, during the time he was an assistant principal at a middle school. And here's the kicker: In August 2007 LAUSD assigned Rooney to his job even though it knew that police had investigated him about an alleged sexual relationship with a student at his previous job at a high school. The former high school girl has since testified that Rooney impregnated her. (LAT coverage)
KNX 1070 Newsradio has reported "21 teachers and administrators have been yanked from schools in the past year because of allegations of inappropriate sexual contact with kids." Most of the cases happened since only January of this year.
Two LAUSD administrators face criminal charges for failing to report suspected child abuse by a substitute teacher. Yet LAUSD has sent the pair back to work at school! (LAT)
A new movie called "Bloodline" purports itself to be a documentary that claims to have found evidence that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and their "bloodline" has been kept secret by the Catholic Church and a group called the "Priory of Sion." (NB's Scott Whitlock and Mark Finkelstein have written on this as well.)
But the truth is that the film's premise is based on a complete fabrication. The "Priory of Sion" was founded in 1950's France as a hoax by a known trickster. Yet the group's fictions continue to be forwarded by those despise Christianity and seek to degrade the Church. The Priory and its related claims have been debunked over and over and over and over and over and over again.
“OMFG” is text-speak for the unspeakable. It's also the tag line for a new ad campaign aimed at teens and featuring a jumble of sexual situations, including teens undressing each other and two girls kissing. The campaign blitz is appearing in print and television, all aimed at drumming up eyeballs for the CW network's teen-themed soap "Gossip Girl."
For the uninitiated, “OMG” translates to “Oh My God” in the language of email and text messaging. The addition of the “F” means … well, it’s the word that can cost broadcasters a hefty government fine if someone actually says it on TV.
Now, of course, executives at the CW could never admit that they were actively targeting teens with such a "provocative" ad. Nor would they ever admit they were intentionally dodging an FCC fine by using the letter "F" instead of the unspeakable word. Nor would they ever consider that "F" used next to "G," which stands for "God" would be blasphemous. In fact they've gone out of their way on these subjects. But reality has a way of well, keeping it real.
Over a three day stretch, ABC devoted almost 15 minutes of air-time to a documentary filmmaker who asserts in his movie "Bloodline" that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a massive hoax perpetrated on humanity. Additionally, on Friday's "Nightline," reporter Elizabeth Vargas left out any mention of the bizarre interests of the film's director, Bruce Burgess. He's directed and written documentaries on Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51 and a secretive look at a U.S. government's supposed cover-up of the alien landings at Roswell.
Wouldn't it be relevant to know that Burgess seems to be fascinated with every weird conspiracy imaginable? (And hasn't the mainstream media mocked bloggers for not being restrained journalists? How serious is Bigfoot and the the subject of the Bermuda Triangle?) On Sunday's "Good Morning America," Burgess's second stop on his ABC tour, co-host Bill Weir at least asked about his extravagant interests: "I do have to point out the fact that some of your other documentary work includes the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51, looking for Bigfoot in Oklahoma." (NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein blogged this appearance.)
This is a much more serious sin than the folly I noted earlier today from ABCNews.com coverage of a Bill Clinton visit to a "Pentacostal" church.
On May 1, Christianity Today's Sarah Pulliam took to her magazine's Liveblog to address ABCNews.com's numerous errors in reporting on a faculty matter at evangelical Wheaton College:
ABC's report of Wheaton College professor Kent Gramm's resignation was an example of sloppy journalism and weak analysis.
The original headline was simply false: "Professor Fired for Getting a Divorce." Gramm was not fired. He resigned because he declined to talk with the college about his divorce. (The image to the right is a screen shot of an earlier version)
Later today, ABC changed the headline to "Professor Loses Job Over Divorce." The headline is still not quite accurate. To lose your job generally indicates that someone took it away from you. However, Gramm voluntarily resigned. And according to the Chicago Tribune, the college offered him another year of employment while he searched for another job.
At Smith College, it was a few dozen student activists screaming, chanting and banging pots and pans. With the American Psychiatric Association, it was angry letters from adult activists and bitter stories in the homosexual press. The bottom line is the same: far-left homosexuals successfully intimidated a few cowardly officials and silenced voices they don't want the public to hear.
Not a bad way for neo-Marxist ideologues to celebrate May Day, but you'd think America's watchdogs of liberty, the free press, might raise an objection. Sadly, the liberal media haven't written a word about either story.
Yes, that was the headline and subhead for Mark Moford's column in the San Francisco Chronicle today. Not only does the very title of this screed of ignominious proportions rip into the first lady for no worthy reason, Moford also says that being a Catholic woman is "unfortunate." Shamefully, he also calls the Bush daughters their "twin Styrofoam peanut daughters," so it isn't just Laura Bush he unduly attacks. It's been a long time since a major newspaper has published a so-called editorial with this much vitriol contained within.
Moford tries to explain why conservative women find themselves raising an eyebrow at loudmouthed women like Teresa Heinz Kerry and Hillary Clinton (when she was first lady) but he completely mischaracterizes why people react to them the way they do as mere distaste of their gauche personalities as opposed to opposition to their ideologies and a feeling that such women overstep their boundaries.
Religion and the military shouldn't mix. That's the take away message that both CBS and ABC touted when their Sunday morning news programs publicized the plight of an atheist who is suing the Army for religious discrimination.
On April 27th CBS's Sunday Morning and ABC's Good Morning America Sunday each featured the story of Jeremy Hall, an Army specialist who claims he was denied promotion and persecuted because of his atheism. Both interviewed Hall and Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a co-plaintiff in Hall's lawsuit.
Weinstein was described as a loyal patriot (by CBS) and a defender of the religiously oppressed (ABC). Neither network bothered to mention that on the Military Religious Freedom Foundation's Web site American military members are compared directly to Islamic jihadists. A video runs on the homepage of the site which juxtaposes a suicide bomber holding a rifle and Koran with a group of American soldiers holding rifles and Bibles.
How perfect. The director of some of Hollywood's most revoltingly violent, sexually explicit, culturally corrosive movies has an even more destructive hobby on the side: iconoclasm.
Paul Verhoeven, director of "Basic Instinct," "Robocop" and "Showgirls," turns out to be a member of the academically suspect Jesus Seminar, and in September he will publish a book attacking the foundational Christian doctrine that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
For the past twenty years, the Dutch filmmaker has reportedly been attending meetings of the Jesus Seminar and researching his biography, "Jesus of Nazareth: A Realistic Portrait." Fox News quotes a spokesman for Amsterdam publishing house J.M. Meulenhoff saying Verhoeven "hopes it will be a springboard" for making a movie about Jesus' life.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, film director Paul Verhoeven is soon to release a book that is claimed to be a new "biography" of Jesus Christ. In this new publication, Verhoeven feels that he successfully proves that Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was raped by a Roman soldier during the Jewish uprising in Galilee and the boy Jesus was the result of that attack. No virgin birth for Christ, but instead a rape.
Verhoeven is best known as the director of the films "Basic Instinct," the Arnold Schwarzenegger film "Total Recall," as well as the spectacular flop "Showgirls." The Dutch director reports that he's had a "lifelong ambition" to make a movie about Jesus and hopes this book will spur interest in his film ideas. Verhoeven spent 20 years writing the tome and this has led Catholic League President Bill Donohue to scoff at the claims as being overwrought and unproven even with 20 years of research. Donohue says they are "laughable" claims and wonders why 20 years of research only led to a claim that Christ is "probably" descended from a rapist.
Over the years I have come to expect that atheists and secular humanists would take advantage of the anonymity provided by the internet to further their world view at the expense of those that lead a life based on faith in God. With little exception unmoderated discussion boards, internet based news outlets and blogs that bear any sign of religious content end up attracting those who seek validation by attacking the faithful.
Erick Erickson over at RedState tells us all of an anti-Christian video recently introduced with great frivolity by Internet philosopher and Obama technology advisor Larry Lessig. The video introduced at a Google Author series seminar shows Jesus singing the Gloria Gaynor tune "I Will Survive" in a very effeminate, theatrical way. As the song ramps up, Jesus throws off his robe and strips down to a diaper-like covering, then he sashays through a modern city until he gets hit by a bus in an intersection.
The worst thing about this is that this is also another scandal involving a Barack Obama campaign associate showing his disdain for the American mainstream, this time a disdain of Christianity. It turns out that Lessig is a somewhat secretive Obama campaign advisor, serving to assist the campaign on Internet and technology policies. As Erickson points out, Lessig hosts Obama's tech policy on his own lessig.org website.
So much for camaraderie. New York Times movie reviewer Jeannette Catsoulis found fellow Times writer Ben Stein's "Expelled," his new documentary on evolution and how the concept of Intelligent Design is being stifled in academic circles, "an unprincipled propaganda piece."
(Catsoulis's politics are pretty easy to peg; witness her simplistic left-wing raves over the 2005 documentary "Waging a Living," based on a book by socialist writer Barbara Ehrenreich.)
Catsoulis not only doesn't buy "Expelled"'s premise that scientific debate is being squelched in academia in favor of Darwin-worship, she calls the movie names:
One of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" is a conspiracy-theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry.
When John Paul II traveled to Syria in 2000, he became the first pope ever to visit a mosque. He stood in Damascus's Umayyad Masjid, kissed the Qur'an and stated, "For all the times that Muslims and Christians have offended one another, we need to seek forgiveness from the Almighty and to offer each other forgiveness." It's no wonder many Muslims look back on John Paul's reign as the golden days of interfaith relations--and as Pope Benedict XVI's first few years as anything but.
The police estimated that 750,000 people saw Mr. Mandela at one point or another - 50,000 in Queens at Kennedy International Airport and along the route, 100,000 as he passed through Brooklyn, 400,000 along the ticker-tape parade and 200,000 in the ceremony at City Hall. Hundreds of thousands more saw the events broadcast live on local television.
Based on early returns from the Washington Post and the New York Times, we may not see such an estimate regarding the pope, unless some enterprising non-media types come up with one on their own. It also seems that we will have to brace ourselves for other descriptions designed to minimize the impact of his visit.
Just a puny personal pronoun, yet one that perhaps spoke volumes about MSM attitudes toward religion. On the occasion of the Mass that Pope Benedict XVI will be celebrating later day at DC's Nationals Park, Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Father Thomas Williams, a Roman Catholic priest who also serves as a CBS religion analyst.
For the liberal media, even a subject as seemingly innocuous as a nice spring day can suddenly turn into a PC minefield should it put an MSMer in the position of having to recognize God's work, as this exchange suggests.
Thank heavens. Pope Benedict XVI has finally stepped off of Shepherd One onto American soil to begin a six day visit that is sure to be everything the American left hopes to make it out to be. The media is working overtime to resurrect old wounds, create some new controversies and repeat liberal talking points that so perfectly judges a man as only the selective memory of liberal hypocrisy has the ability to do.
And just in time too. What better way to take the pressure off of Barack Obama’s Rev. JeremiahWright controversy than to reignite the flames of the Catholic Church priest sex scandal? Finally, a target has appeared that is worthy of the left’s criticism and utter disdain. If only he had visited 2 or 3 weeks back.
I had at one time thought that the mainstream media had been pretty well represented by articles filled with your typical leftist anti-Christian/anti-Pope Benedict slant. To see examples of such bias we need only stop by the magnifying glass of Wikipedia. Their archive and discussion pages are unique in the way in which they channel common themes that circulate in the public realm of the left; a sort of lib-cyclopedia if you will.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to liberal priest, Fr. Thomas Reese, who also appeared on Monday’s show, and asked about the sex abuse scandals in the American Catholic Church as well as the comments of Pope Benedict XVI regarding the issue: "We heard from some victims' families that a mea culpa is not enough. That merely saying you're "deeply ashamed" is not enough. Do you think anything more will come of this?"
This question followed a report by correspondent Jeff Glor, who began by declaring:
It's believed the Pope could address the issue even further on his visit, either here in Washington or in New York, but some are wondering, why not Boston? For Gary Bergeron, the Pope not going to Boston on this trip is like saying the Pope's not Catholic. It just doesn't make sense... Bergeron was abused and still lives in New England, the epicenter of the scandal.
Glor also played clips of Bergeron, who said of the Pope: "I think it's an opportunity he missed...I would hold out my hand to him so that he could shake it, understand that I'm not the demon here." Of course, the Pope has not "demonized" any victims of abuse, but Glor still decided to use the quote for his report. Despite Rodriguez’s claim that "not enough" had been done, Bergeron actually helped win an $85 million dollar lawsuit for church abuse victims and met personally with Vatican officials.
In an interview with Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George about the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith was concerned about the reaction of the American people to the new pontiff: "Explain the difference between the private man and the public Pope that some Americans are maybe even a little unsure or fearful of."Monday’s "Early Show" identified the Pope as a "hard liner" numerous times. [Audio available here]
Smith went on to ask about the priest pedophilia scandals and if the Pope’s mission was meant to "heal" those scandals: "The Pope was talking to reporters about priest abuse in the Catholic Church in the United States, and he said, quote, "we are deeply ashamed and we'll do whatever is possible so that this does not happen in the future." Is this -- this trip to the United States, would you say that this -- part of the mission of this church is some healing?"
Finally, Smith concluded the interview by asking Cardinal George about the Pope’s opposition to the Iraq war: "He is going to be addressing the United Nations, he's going to be speaking to the President of the United States in private chambers. Among the messages of the Catholic Church is an anti-war message. Will he deliver that to President Bush?" The Cardinal responded by explaining: "He is eager, however, that whatever happens next is good for the Iraqi people, that they can live in peace and that we don't leave a very violent Iraq behind. So I'm sure the conversation won't just be anti-war or pro war, it'll be what do we do next?"
At the beginning of Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith exclaimed: "Coming to America. Pope Benedict XVI arrives on American soil tomorrow. How will Americans receive his hard line and soft style?" In the later segement, correspondent Allen Pizzey continued the "hard line" theme: "Since becoming Pope Benedict XVI three years ago, the man who used to be the Vatican's chief hard-liner has undergone an image makeover...when Americans see him next week, they may get a pleasant surprise."
Pizzey went on to describe the Pope’s "makeover":
Benedict has made what one ambassador to the Holy See called a smooth transition from scholar to universal pastor. It may not quite fit the miracle category, but it is nonetheless an extraordinary transition for a man who was once known as God's Rottweiler. As Pope he has not gone out of his way to appease the more liberal wings of the Catholic Church in the U.S., but Benedict's chief image maker is unfazed.
Following Pizzey’s report, co-host Julie Chen interviewed left-wing priest, Father Thomas Reese, who was editor of the Catholic magazine "America," until the Vatican pressured him to resign for allowing numerous liberal opinion pieces critcizing the Church to be published.
Can it be a coincidence that just hours after Bob Novak published his column reporting that it's unclear just who is directing Hillary's campaign--Mark Penn or Geoff Garin--the latter dashed off an email to supporters claiming to be in charge? But if Garin really does have the reins, why is the campaign employing tactics that Novak suggests would be worthy of the "kamikaze" Penn?
Bill Maher, true to form on his "Real Time" program on HBO on Friday, went on a tirade against Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church, only days before the Pope’s visit to the U.S.. He stated that the Pope "used to be a Nazi" and compared him to a cult leader. He then went on to call the Church a "child-abusing religious cult" and "the Bear Stearns of organized pedophilia." "And that’s the Church’s attitude: 'We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it,' which is fine, far be it from me to criticize religion."
Following a profanity-tinged one-liner concerning the raid on the Texas compound of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Maher quipped, "In fact, whenever a cult leader sets himself up as God’s infallible wingman here on Earth, lock away the kids. Which is why I’d like to tip off law enforcement to an even larger child-abusing religious cult. Its leader also has a compound, and this guy not only operates outside the bounds of the law, but he used to be a Nazi and he wears funny hats. That’s right, the Pope is coming to America this week and ladies, he’s single!" At the "funny hat" line, Maher displayed a picture of Pope Benedict wearing a wide-brimmed hat called a saturno
Clarification: Apparently the Thursday night "Idol" included the "Jesus" lyric. In a somewhat-related item of interest to our readers, my colleague Tim Graham reminds me that West Coast viewers of ABC's "The View" in May 2002 heard a bleep when co-host Joy Behar said the word "Jesus."