On Friday, the NPR chat show Fresh Air with Terry Gross (aired on over 400 stations from WHYY in Philadelphia) carried two interviews on science and religion. They might claim the discussion was balanced, but not when you consider the time allotted, as listed on the NPR web page:
Apparently, an almost three-to-one time difference is a fair fight on NPR.
In case that's not imbalanced enough, the Dawkins page also helpfully links to another 30-minute NPR interview with Dawkins about his book The God Delusion on the show Talk of the Nation. The interviews are repeats from last year, but NPR doesn't generally tell listeners about that when the show airs.
The Washington Post’s Sunday Style & Arts section spotlights Satanic music on the Lord’s day. The headline is “Going Down-Market: Satan Rules the Night at Jaxx.” Religion reporter Michelle Boorstein begins by reproducing the lyrics of a band called Dark Funeral: "Sin stands for beauty, sin stands for life. Sexual sin is every man's right!! He will exalt the wicked of man: our king the Antichrist!"
The ugliness continues as Boorstein explained:
Most common T-shirt of the night: "The day you die is the day I smile." Most common adjective: brutal (in a good way). Most common piece of jewelry: It's a tie between chains and upside-down crosses.
In the past few decades, as political correctness has taken hold of virtually every industry, folks involved in sports and sportscasting that have made racist or sexist remarks on camera have typically been fired or forced to make public apologies.
Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder's termination by CBS back in 1988 is a fine example, with the recent two-week suspension of Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman being another.
Yet, given what happened on an Atlantic City dais on January 11, where a high-profile ESPN anchor went on an alcohol-induced tirade which included a vulgar reference to Jesus Christ, it appears public antitheism is not politically incorrect.
After all, until this moment, you probably hadn't heard about this incident, and the person involved apparently has not been publicly admonished for her behavior by her employer.
While you consider such a double standard, Press of Atlantic City reported on January 12 (h/t NB reader Andy Traynor, readers are warned that vulgarity and blasphemy appear after the jump):
People that watch HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" are infinitely aware that the host is not only an atheist, but is also an antitheist, meaning that he hates religion.
No finer example of Maher's disdain for theism and Judeo-Christian principles occurred on Friday's installment of "Real Time" when he actually declared, "At least half of the [Ten] Commandments are stupid!"
This came moments after Maher proudly stated, "If I had a child, the last book I would ever give to teach morality would be the Bible, especially the Old Testament." This led one of his guests to say that Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain should be stoned for committing adultery.
How left-wing is taxpayer-supported radio? WBAI-FM, the New York City home of the radical Pacifica Radio network that gets roughly $1 million each year in federal funds, is asking for contributions and offering a premium for $100 donors: a President Bush trash can that says "White Trash" on it.
For a short time only, WBAI offers a signed and numbered limited edition replica of New York artist, Robert Cenedella's "Basket Sculpture." This round metal construction is functional as a waste basket. Each measures 12" x 10".
For $100, which includes both shipping and a donation to WBAI, you can have the pleasure of trashing the President every day just as he has trashed the United States Constitution.
Update (Jan. 7 | 14:30): This was mentioned earlier in the comments thread. You can see Maher's offensive comments beginning about 1:35 into the video posted on YouTube here.
Appearing on the Friday "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," comedian Bill Maher took repeated swipes at the Republican Party and conservatives as idiotic, bigoted, homophobic, you know, all the usual epithets.
Although his material was registering mostly nervous laughter from the audience, Maher plunged further into his assault on traditional values, attacking Christians, particularly Catholics, by insisting that one has to be "schizophrenic" to go about life normally for six days a week only to, on the seventh go to church and believe that when drinking communion wine one is drinking "the blood of a 2,000-year old space god."
In his signed editorial today, "Campaigns Like These Make It Hard to Find a Reason to Believe," New York Times reporter turned editorial board member Eduardo Porter came out as a proud atheist and concluded with a bizarre comparison between Saudi Arabia's harsh rules against adultery and the GOP presidential fields' feelings toward gays.
"As I watched Mitt Romney tie himself into a constitutional knot as he argued that religion should provide a guide for public policy but not be used to choose a president, it made me suspect that all the candidates in the race -- Republican and Democratic -- must believe that I lack some essential virtue.
"The Golden Compass" did not produce box-office gold during its first weekend.
While ranked #1 for the weekend, the movie which opened in 3,528 theaters, was lavishly produced and promoted, only took in in $26.1 million, according to Boxofficemojo.com. Studio New Line Cinema was hoping for returns in the $30 to $40 million range.
"Compass" drew the ire of many Christians because the movie is based on the first book in a trilogy called "His Dark Materials" by avowed atheist Philip Pullman, who has said publicly that his books are about killing God. In "USA Today," Rolf Mittweg of New Line Cinema conceded that the "religion controversy might have had an effect."
The mainstream media have been fawning over the atheist inspired film "The Goldan Compass" and ignoring the fact that the author (upon which the movie is based), Phillip Pullman, has bragged about killing God in his novels. Well, according to CNN, the real focus should be on the fact that the film raises "awareness" about the plight of polar bears. No, really.
In 2007, ABC's investigative reporter Brian Ross has provided hard-hitting looks at Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani. He's focused only one such segment on a Democrat, Hillary Clinton. And, unsurprisingly, each of his investigations into a GOP candidate has been accompanied by snarky, sarcastic comments.
Pat Buchanan was very moved. Chris Matthews "heard greatness this morning." Joe Scarborough said Romney "hit it out the park." But with his speech on faith this morning, Mitt clearly didn't make a believer out of Sally Quinn, doyenne of the DC establishment and wife of former WaPo editor Ben Bradlee.
SALLY QUINN: I have to say that I'm really stunned because I think it was an obliteration of the idea of the separation of church and state. He eliminated anybody who was a doubter, an atheist, an agnostic, a seeker. It's like, if you believe in God or Christ, if not, you're not.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show,"co-host Hannah Storm, who tvnewser.com reports will soon be leaving the show, teased an upcoming segment about the controversy over the atheist-inspired movie, "The Golden Compass": "And Nicole Kidman on why the Church doesn't want your children to see her new movie." Of course, the "Church" has said no such thing, but rather the Catholic League has called for a boycott of the movie.
Later during the segment, Storm talked with Catholic League President, Bill Donohue, as well as Ellen Johnson, the president of American Atheists. To Storm’s credit, she challenged Johnson by quoting the atheist author of the "Golden Compass" book trilogy, Phillip Pullman:
STORM: Now let's talk about some of the things that Pullman has said. Back in 2003, he was comparing himself to the Harry Potter series, he said "Hey, I've been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor Harry has said. My books are about killing God." Is he promoting atheism? Does he have an agenda here?
ELLEN JOHNSON: Killing has nothing to do with atheism. I think that the movies are about questioning authority, and I think that's a good thing. Questioning the authority of the state, questioning the authority of the Church. I think that if more children were taught to question authority, maybe a lot fewer of them would have been sexually molested by priests. Questioning authority is a good thing.
Will Time magazine come and cover MY Sunday school class? You know, the one where I teach my kids that their Christian faith is under attack on a weekly, if not daily, basis from the mainstream media?
I think its a valid question because Time just did a lovely send-up to a Sunday School for ..... atheists. Yep. Seems the atheists, or rather humanists, in Palo Alto, California think believers have something going on with the whole Sunday School thing.
Time's reporter Jeninne Lee-St. John promotes the atheist program, atheist summer camps and a new Carl Sagan-named Humanist public charter school in her Nov. 21 story. The fact that the piece was put up on Time.com on the eve before Thanksgiving, when millions of Americans gathered to give thanks to God, is delectable irony.
A recent episode of Nova about the high-profile 2006 Kitzmiller v. Dover intelligent design trial has been cited for numerous false facts and false insinuations. The episode, entitled "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on trial," contains "blatant misrepresentations" and "misinformation," according to the Discovery Institute, the leading think tank of the intelligence design movement.
The November 15 edition of Rolling Stone, the talky 40th anniversary issue, is stuffed with interviews. The hippie magazine's estranged relationship with God is quite obvious. We mentioned Bill Maher recently, but there was more atheistic talk included. Take rock star Dave Matthews, who found the notion of an all-powerful, loving God "more irritating than Santa Claus." He'd like the idea, but it's "absurd. It's just our attempt to be more important than a tree."
Matthews was discussing the fate of the planet. He said social issues like so-called gay marriage are "tiny" next to our environmental survival. He warned of the possibility of "massive die-offs of people – which has been predicted," but then turned to the idea that maybe the existence of man doesn't amount to a hill of beans in the cosmos:
As the movie studios gear up for a big Christmas movie season, one trailer that looks like a blockbuster is “The Golden Compass,” which must be trying to cash in on the “Narnia” movies. It has flashy special-effect polar bears in armor and a young heroic damsel in distress facing off against evil forces. The casting is top-notch, led by Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, the current star spy in the James Bond movies.
But buyer beware: Narnia it’s not. It’s the anti-Narnia. Instead of a Christian allegory, it’s an anti-Christian allegory. The author of “The Golden Compass,” Philip Pullman, is an atheist who despises C. S. Lewis and his much-beloved Narnia series. “I thought they were loathsome,” he said of those books, “full of bullying and sneering, propaganda, basically, on behalf of a religion whose main creed seemed to be to despise and hate people unlike yourself.”
For Rolling Stone’s 40th anniversary magazine, one of the celebrities interviewed was the atheist, leftist HBO comedian/pundit Bill Maher. Even as Maher has long professed his support for Bill Clinton's sexual freedom (remember this gig as Clinton's talking little Willy?), he still says of Hillary, "F— them and their Clinton baggage...when the Democrats want a sure winner, John Edwards looks like it." Whoever wins for the Democrats, Maher hopes they’re good at lying to the voters:
ROLLING STONE: What’s your best case scenario for the future?
MAHER: First of all, some Democrat better win it in 2008. Then that person should go for broke and say to the people, "Now I have to tell you the truth. I couldn’t do it when I was running, because you are a bunch of babies who can’t take the truth, and you know damn well you wouldn’t have voted for me if I said that. But we’re going to take these painful measures."
The sad part of it is, the money is there to do almost anything we want. It’s not as if you’d have to raise taxes so much. If you took the money being wasted on Iraq, corporate welfare and the drug war, you would have trillions of dollars to work with. That’s the core of it. Whoever is the next president has to get at this corporate state we’ve found ourselves living in.
ABC may have set a loathsome new MSM low in insulting traditional Christians. On today's "Good Morning America," the network lumped the "Christan right" with the 9-11 Islamic terrorists as driving people to atheism.
Keying off an atheists convention being held this weekend, GMA ran a segment on the "Rise in Atheism." Seeking to explain the phenomenon, as images rolled first of the WTC in flames and then of a man placidly holding a sign that simply read "One Nation Under God" and of a display at a demonstration of the Ten Commandments, ABC's Liz Marlantes stated:
As if allowing this anti-American Bush-hater to have his own series wasn't enough, the brilliant folks at HBO decided to give Bill Maher another comedy special to rail against all things conservative.
For those on the left hoping for some truly vile attacks on the GOP, Saturday's "Bill Maher: The Decider" surely must have hit the spot.
In fact, of the 60 minutes Maher was given, upwards of 40 were spent eviscerating the President, his staff, Republican presidential candidates, and religious figures. In reality, this was a virtual campaign video for Democrats.
With that in mind, what follows are some of the lowlights in no particular order. However, the reader is cautioned that this is not edited for content, and contains some truly vulgar language.
A rather disturbing event occurred in a Minnesota library last Sunday: Freshman Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) compared President Bush to Adolf Hitler, while implying that the White House was involved in the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11.
Didn’t hear about this? Well, how could you? After all, no major, mainstream media outlet other than Fox News and CNN thought it was newsworthy.
Maybe this afternoon's oppressive heat and humidity on the Hardball Plaza in DC were getting to Chris Matthews. I'm not sure how else to explain his complaint, to the effect that it is wrong of the Roman Catholic Church to apply its rules to politicians as it does to other adherents.
His remark came in the course of a debate on religion on this afternoon's edition of "Hardball" between Christopher Hitchens, author of the atheist polemic "God Is Not Great", and the Reverend Al Sharpton.
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Today you have the Roman Catholic church through its bishops challenging the rights of Catholic office-holders to take positions for abortion rights. They basically say you have to be for imprisonment of people involved with abortion or else you're not a Catholic and you'll be excommunicated. It seems to be an era, not just because of Islam, to keep religion out of politics . . . Why are they foisting themselves, why are the religious leaders jumping into the political marketplace and saying to politically-elected people, who are duly elected, "you cannot take that position and be in our church, or we will excommunicate you"? That seems to be what's going on.
This may come as a surprise to many religious Americans in the country: PBS this month is broadcasting a documentary presenting both sides of the controversial issue of the “separation of church and state.”
As many of you know, this has been an ongoing debate for decades as to when this term first appeared, and what the Founding Fathers’ intent truly was concerning government involvement in organized religion.
The documentary’s goals are described thusly at the PBS website (emphasis added throughout):
A battle of wits between two men named Christopher took place in Berkeley, California, on May 24. Unfortunately, one contestant came embarrassingly unequipped, so much so that by the end, he chose to not even respond.
Break out the cashews and your favorite libation, sports fans, because this debate between former New York Times Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges, and the never at a loss for words Christopher Hitchens was one for the ages.
The following video is an edited compilation of key moments as prepared by our friend at Zombietime (h/t Allah). What follows is ZT’s transcript of this video. However, the reader is highly encouraged to view all of the videos of this event created for your viewing pleasure:
Bill Maher, host of HBO's "Real Time", tore into Jerry Falwell on the May 18 edition of his show, saying, with a photo of Falwell in the background, such things as, “... death isn’t always sad." The worst comments from Maher came from his argument for turning homosexuality into a religion, with references to the Mass as gay oral sex and reception of Holy Communion as gay oral sex. Here is the clip. WARNING: the material is very offensive.
It might not be surprising for liberal blog commenters or talk-radio callers to denounce Rev. Jerry Falwell upon his death, but it's a little more surprising when it comes to a professed Christian who's religion columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Cathleen Falsani reflected on her first reaction about hearing Falwell was "relief" and compared him to gangster TV character Tony Soprano:
Knowing I didn't have a deadline to meet that day, my first thoughts were not of what to say or write.
In fact, my very first thought upon hearing of the Rev. Falwell's passing was: Good.
And I didn't mean "good" in a oh-good-he's-gone-home-to-be-with-the-Lord kind of way. I meant "good" as in "Ding-dong, the witch is dead."
CBS News producer/blogger Greg Kandra opened the e-mailbag today to relay to "Couric & Co." readers some negative reaction to the network's coverage of Rev. Jerry Falwell's death. In particular, Kandra quoted from a female Liberty University graduate and vascular surgeon who took issue with historian/guest pundit Douglas Brinkley's assessment of Falwell's views on women.
In an appearance on the May 15 "Evening News," Brinkley dismissed Falwell as a reactionary who (emphasis mine) was "opposed to some of the
progressive liberal high watermarks of the 1960s, and certainly he
wanted--his returning to family values was returning to women being in
the kitchen, in many ways."
Despite "The View’s" left wing slant, the co-hosts, as previously reported, are no fans of Al Sharpton. The ladies discussed the reverend’s latest gaffe implicitly insulting Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith. Joy Behar first mentioned the topic, quoting his inflammatory statement: "those of us who really believe in God will defeat Romney for the White House." Behar did note that Sharpton is now backtracking from the comment.
Guest co-host Marie Osmond, a Mormon, felt Romney’s response was "gracious," and even took a shot at Sharpton.
"Al didn't have a beautiful past himself, so I don’t think that he should necessarily make these statements, you know."
During a debate on atheism in New York City with Christopher Hitchens on Monday, the reliably inflammatory Al Sharpton said: "As for the one Mormon running for office, those that really believe in God will defeat him anyway, so don't worry about that.'"
"Sharpton Accused of Bigoted Remark" would be the equivalent of "Dog Bites Man" for a true "paper of record," but the Times rarely notices.
In atypical fashion, Luo devoted most of his space not to Romney's accusation or to calls for apologies from offended Mormons, but to Al Sharpton's (make that "civil rights activist" Sharpton, as Luo called him in a post on the Times' political blog) defense and rebuttal.
In going on Paula Zahn's CNN show this evening, was Al Sharpton's goal to quell the controversy surrounding his comments about Mormonism, or to inflame it? If the former, he failed miserably. If the latter, he succeeded admirably. Far from retracting his earlier allegation that Mormons aren't real believers, he repeated it, adding an allegation of racism for good measure.
Let's recall Sharpton's original statement, that in going on the Zahn show he presumably was seeking to explicate. Debating Christopher Hitchens recently, Sharpton said:
"And as for the one Mormon running for office, those that really believe in God will defeat him anyway. So don't worry about that. That's a temporary, that's a temporary situation."