On Monday May 5, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that government meetings can include an opening prayer without violating the United States Constitution and NPR did its best to spin the ruling as severely troubling for religious minorities.
On Monday’s All Things Considered program, reporter Carrie Johnson asked“The question before the Supreme Court, whether Greece did enough to respect that diversity or whether the town crossed a line by embracing Christianity and essentially oppressing religious minorities.” [Click here to listen to the full story.]
A year ago, I wrote a two-part series titled "My Mom's Advice for America." There's no better time than now — between my mother's 93rd birthday (May 4) and Mother's Day (May 11) — to talk about her mother's advice, which my mother recorded in her autobiography, "Acts of Kindness: My Story."
Last week, I started by echoing what my mom said about my grandmother's family values. Both of their models still stand as beacons of light, pointing the way America and American families need to go.
Here’s a sign the pro-choice side is running out of arguments: praising God as an abortionist.
RH Reality Check, a “reproductive health blog” with strong ties to Planned Parenthood, recently argued that the Bible supports abortion, tweeting “The Bible Is #ProChoice” and “Most anti-choicers claim obedience to the divinely inspired word of God. Does the Bible support that?” on May 6. In the linked article, the staff embedded a video from something called “The Kyle Kulinski Show,” where the host, Kyle Kulinski, revealed that “God actually performs abortions” in the Bible.
John Heilprin of the Associated Press played up how the Catholic Church supposedly "sought to limit its responsibility for the global priest sex abuse scandal" in front of a United Nations committee on torture. Heilprin repeatedly underlined how the Holy See underwent a "grilling" by the UN panel for allegedly violating an "international treaty against torture and inhuman treatment" in its handling of the scandal.
However, the correspondent glossed over the committee's ideologically-tinged slam of the Church's longstanding stance against abortion, which it labeled "psychological torture." By contrast, Reuters' Philip Pullella and Stephanie Nebehay mentioned this attack near the end of their Monday report on the meeting:
In Saturday’s Washington Post, they published a letter to the editor from a Paul Whittemore in Spotsylvania, Virginia, who noticed the Post’s movie critics never attempted a movie review of God’s Not Dead, which has so far grossed $55.5 million at the box office and tiptoed back into the top ten this weekend.
On March 21, the Post could only report “This movie did not screen in time for critic review in Weekend.” As if the Posties couldn’t buy tickets at the cineplex? Whittemore also noticed the naughty, porny movies they did not skip:
Words like “controversial” weren’t used as People magazine recently boosted ABC anchor Robin Roberts in a cover story and how her mother assured her that God approves of homosexuality. Instead, People saved that word for evangelical Christian actress Candace Cameron Bure in the May 5 issue.
The headline on the Patrick Gomez article was “Faith, Family, and Full House: The former child star opens up about her controversial beliefs – and how they guide her life as a traditional wife and mother.”
Buyer beware those promising a “Catholic education.”
St. Mary’s Institute (SMI) is the Catholic grade school in my wife’s New York hometown, Amsterdam. It is affiliated with St. Mary’s Catholic Church, whose pastor Father John Medwid pens the opening to the Saint Mary’s Institute annual newsletter.
"[D]espite years of public hand-wringing in the West over Syria’s bloody and rapid decline, the country is continuing to plummet into new depths of the abyss" as witnessed by instances of crucifixion at the hands of Islamist extremists, Jacob Siegel of the Daily Beast reported today.
It remains to be seen if the Big Three networks pick up on the story, but somehow we doubt they will. A search of Nexis and our DVR system show they certainly haven't done so thus far. Siegel adds:
MSNBC seized on Pope Francis’s tweet yesterday that “Inequality is the root of social evil” to once again flog conservatives for their economic views. On Monday’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, fill-in host Ari Melber began a segment on the pontiff by gloating, “[S]ome Republicans are caught between a rock and a hard place. Specifically, between the pope's teachings and Rush Limbaugh's orders.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
First off, it’s a little dramatic to talk about Rush Limbaugh’s “orders.” He’s just one man who gives his opinions on the radio. And second, MSNBC wants to pretend Pope Francis is completely aligned with American liberals and against conservatives, but that’s not true. The pope may emphasize social justice, but he is thoroughly conservative and traditional on key cultural and theological issues.
Rheana Murray's Saturday article on ABCNews.com omitted key details about how the Catholic Church determines which saints' feast days are observed by Catholic parishes all over the world. Murray noted that the Church "removed 93 saints from the universal calendar and revoked their feast days in 1969," but two out of the four examples she gave still have "optional" feast days on the calendar.
The journalist's write-up, which was also posted on Good Morning America's page on Yahoo!, cited Kean University's Christopher Bellito, who pointed out that these saints "weren't actually de-sainted, just downgraded." Professor Bellito explained that the Church "decided to remove particular feast days of those saints whose origins were shrouded in more mystery than manuscripts."
ABC, CBS, and NBC spotlighted the issue of child sex abuse by priests on their Saturday morning and evening newscasts – twenty-four hours or less before the Catholic Church canonized Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. CBS and NBC both uncritically turned to the president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), but didn't mention her controversial affiliations with prominent anti-Catholics.
CBS and ABC also hyped how "some of the faithful have complained the canonization process was fast-tracked." ABC's Terry Moran even inserted some slanted labeling of the Catholic practice of venerating the relics of saints on Saturday's World News, and wondered if modern people could relate to the Church's examples of holiness: [MP3 audio from the networks' reporting available here; video below the jump]
Earlier today, Pope Francis tweeted from his English-language account, "Inequality is the root of social evil." Not long afterwards, the Daily Beast shouted out its Amen by placing the development at the top of its Tip Sheet digest, complete with the cheeky caption "Occupy Vatican." [see screen captures below page break]
Naturally, however, the Beast completely ignored statements the pontiff made on Friday lamenting the emotional and spiritual effects that abortion has on women who have obtained them. As TheWire.com reported yesterday:
Barbara Boland at CNSNews.com noticed that Michelle Obama explained in a Monday interview with TV talk show host Michael Strahan that most Sundays, the Obamas are just “lounging and napping” or plotting out the girls’ activities, like rehearsals or birthday parties. Their church attendance is very sparse.
Strahan asked “Easter was yesterday, so how did you spend the day?” After church, "We sat around really full because we ate too much....It was a good Easter. It was successful. We were full."
The accountants in Hollywood don’t have to believe in Heaven to notice the box-office numbers on recent movies with religious themes. “Heaven Is For Real” opened in the days before Easter and grossed more than $22 million, coming in second for the weekend, just $3 million behind the latest “Captain America” blockbuster (in its third week). The movie‘s per-screen average — $8,895 — was far above the rest of the top five.
“Heaven Is For Real,” like many movies, is based on a best-selling book. It’s a real-life story about four-year-old Colton Burpo and his visions of Heaven after an emergency surgery in 2003. Within three weeks of its November 2010 release, the book debuted at number three on the New York Times bestseller list. Eventually it made its way to number one.
The Friday before the Catholic church would celebrate the canonization of two popes, NBC's Today hyped the "controversy" of the jubilant fans of Blessed John Paul II "drowning out dissent" from those who felt "stomped on" during his papacy.
Raining on the canonization parade, NBC's Anne Thompson said the crowds who chanted "sainthood now" at John Paul II's funeral were "drowning out dissent" from folks like, as leftist religion reporter David Gibson told NBC, "Voices of women, voices of sex abuse victims, voices of the more progressive folks in the church who felt they had gotten stomped on during the 26, almost 27 years of John Paul II's papacy." [Audio here; video below the jump]
Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday authored an op-ed on April 12 declaring herself a Christian. However, the journalist made sure to stress that she would keep her religion out of Post reviews. She also reiterated her dislike for movies such as The Passion, Son of God and Noah.
According to Hornaday, the reason for removing open expressions of faith from her work is "the journalistic habit of not allowing my personal biases to surface, thereby inappropriately using my work as a religious platform and alienating those readers who don’t share my faith or have no faith at all." She lectured, "Those individuals have every right to read a movie review or essay without feeling sermonized, excluded or disrespected." Yet Hornaday has repeatedly let her political biases slip through.
MSNBC doesn’t typically side with Christian churches – unless, of course, a church stands up for one of the network’s pet causes. That is exactly what happened on Tuesday, when a headline on MSNBC.com lamented how the “Boy Scouts Ban[ned] Church Over Gay Troop Leader.”
MSNBC.com's Amanda Sakuma explained that the Boy Scouts of America recently shut down a Seattle troop, sponsored by a United Methodist church, because church leaders stood behind the troop’s openly gay leader. While the BSA now allows openly gay scouts, it retains its ban on openly gay scoutmasters. Predictably, MSNBC framed the story to make the church and the scoutmaster the victims in this drama, even though both know perfectly well the rules of the organization.
On Sunday's This Week on ABC, CNN's S.E. Cupp called on social conservative Christians to drop their opposition to same-sex "marriage" and adoption: "I will say conservatives have got to move on gay marriage....[and] on gay adoption. If abortion is the abhorrent option – and I believe it is – then adoption by any two loving people has got to be the better option."
Democratic strategist Donna Brazile agreed with the atheist Crossfire host, and took the opportunity to attack conservatives by implying that they are somehow against human rights and in favor of human trafficking: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
In his first epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul made it perfectly clear that a belief in the bodily resurrection of Christ as the sine qua non of Christianity. If Christ was not raised from the dead, that the whole of the Christian faith is an utter sham, the apostolic witness fraudulent, the basis of Christian hope nonexistent, and the poor saps who go on attempting to live a life guided by the teachings of Christ are "of all people most to be pitied."
But the editors of the Washington Post's On Faith section apparently didn't get that memo, choosing to run for their Holy Saturday edition a Religion News Service article which hyped the beliefs of liberal religious scholars like the former Episcopal Bishop of Newark, John Shelby Spong, who not only denies that Jesus was physically raised from the dead but that the Bible really, truly teaches the same if you just interpret it the way he prefers to.
Ten years ago, Mel Gibson unveiled his massively successful movie The Passion of The Christ. It came out on Ash Wednesday (February 25, 2004), but is often re-viewed on Good Friday. It had a worldwide box-office gross of over $611 million.
In our Special Report on religion coverage that year, we explored how the TV networks attacked Gibson's movie as extreme, divisive, and potentially harmful -- one CBS reporter even called it an "ecumenical suicide bomb" -- and how that differed from their fascination with theories in The DaVinci Code:
Al Sharpton entered truly ludicrous territory during an appearance Wednesday on Tom Joyner’s radio show. While talking about the meaning of Easter, the Baptist minister and MSNBC host dragged President Obama into the mix:
"As I looked at President Obama at our convention last Friday, where all he took he’s been able to rise politically again, I’m not comparing him to Jesus, but I am saying that to every crucifixion there is a resurrection for those that believe." [YouTube video embedded below.]
Fox News host Megyn Kelly invited MRC president Brent Bozell to the airwaves to discuss a new MRC study on how about nine of every ten Easter references on network news are secular references to eggs, bunnies, candy, and not Jesus Christ.
As Kelly aptly summarized it, "Instead of talking about Jesus or faith, almost 90 percent of the network's newscast reports on Easter focus on fashion, food and to quote one host, 'drinkie-poos.'” (Video below)
Latza Nadeau's story comes 10 days before the canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II and, perhaps more importantly, on Holy Thursday, arguably a stick in the eye for devout Catholics during Holy Week.
Conan O'Brien apparently couldn't resist making a pedophile priest joke on his TBS program on Wednesday, after Pope Francis took two school boys on a ride around St. Peter's Square during his weekly audience: "The Pope let two 11-year-old boys ride in the Popemobile with him...Afterwards, the Vatican told the Pope, that's not the kind of publicity we're looking for today. What the hell is that all about? Kids, get in – come on!" [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
MSNBC is not known as a champion of religion, unless it’s someone who is liberal coming on to criticize religious individuals, especially if they are a member of the Catholic Church. Take Sister Simone Campbell, president of the liberal Catholic organization NETWORK, who has been featured on the “Lean Forward” network multiple times for her criticism of Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his budget priorities.
Appearing as a guest on Andrea Mitchell Reports on Wednesday April 16, the fawning over Ms. Campbell was evident, with Mitchell proclaiming how “the honor is all mine” to finally meet Campbell in person. [See video below.]
This week holds some critical dates. April 15 haunts most Americans as a tax deadline. April 18 and 20 this year commemorate the pinnacle in Holy Week — Good Friday and Easter. But April 13 still stands as an important day that eludes most Americans. It's the birthday of Thomas Jefferson.
We patriots love to quote the Founding Fathers, especially when they support our theses. And Jefferson remains at the top of the heap. But there are three beliefs or practices often attributed to Jefferson that are either myths or cherry-picked partial views.
On Thursday evening, both ABC and CBS relayed news that a manuscript claiming Jesus had a wife was found to be an "ancient" document and "not a modern forgery." They ignored skeptics of the document, however.
"We have the results of scientific testing on a controversial scrap of papyrus that some call the 'gospel of Jesus' wife'," touted CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley. He added that "scholars say that doesn't prove that Jesus had a wife but that early Christians debated whether he did."
NPR's Terry Gross anticipated the Christian holy day of Easter on Monday's Fresh Air by boosting "popular" author Bart Ehrman's latest book, where the agnostic scholar asserted that "Jesus himself didn't call himself God and didn't consider himself God, and that none of his disciples had any inkling at all that he was God." During the segment, Gross wondered if "Christians made the claim that Jesus is God in order...to grow from being a small cult."
Ehrman also claimed, "I don't think Jesus was given a decent burial – that he was probably thrown into a common grave of some kind," and that the early disciples of Jesus probably hallucinated his resurrection:
In an interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over the Killing Jesus author wanting the historical life of Christ to be taught in schools: "[In] public schools these days, you go sit in one of those classes and you're surrounded by kids of four or five, six different faiths. Why should they sit there and listen to the story of Jesus Christ?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Reilly replied: "If they are American children, because that's what forged the Constitution. And if they don't like it, that's too bad." Lauer worried: "How do you protect, though? How do you draw the line and the balance between someone who would go into a classroom, a teacher, and teach the historical story, as opposed to imposing religious beliefs?...Who enforces that?"
Looks like the left might be getting some of that old-time religion. Old-time, as in circa 2007-8, when Barack Obama was being hailed as The One and some sort of messiah.
On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski described yesterday's White House equal-pay-for-women event which she attended, sitting next to Valerie Jarrett. Brzezinski said "it was sort of like a church revival. I'm telling you, every time the president made a comment about why women should be paid equally to men. Equal pay for equal work, talking about the same jobs. You'd hear like "okay." Clapping, and almost like "praise Jesus." It was fun." View the video after the jump.