There really is nothing MSNBC’s Ed Schultz won’t say about conservatives.
In response to a viewer question “What do Christian values mean to Republicans,” Schultz said Tuesday, “It's just a stepping stone, a footstool, to get exactly what they want in the political arena. They hide behind their plastic Jesus” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Now here’s a Christian the Washington Post can love: profanity-fluent liberal Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber. And she’s coming to Washington, D.C. Nov. 5, as advertised by the Post’s Michelle Boorstein.
From the beginning of her long (1,798 words) Nov. 4 article, Boorstein gushed over Bolz-Weber as a “superhero from Planet Alternative Christian” and enthused that the Lutheran pastor’s “liberal, sometimes profane take on Christianity” is “going mainstream.”
Want to really scare someone this Halloween? Dress up like a Christian and go trick or treating at the offices of The Washington Post. After all, the Post’s “On Faith” blog contributor Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a professor of theology and fellow at the far-left Center for American Progress, warned readers that much of Christian orthodoxy was more frightening than witches, ghosts and goblins.
“If you do want to be frightened this week, here are some Christian theological themes that actually are scary,” she wrote in “Five Christian theologies scarier than Halloween.” It’s an interesting read – tackling topics from gays to evolution and leaving the reader to wonder if her divinity degree came free with the purchase of a new age whale songs CD.
In today’s television world, anything goes. We’ve seen shows about everything from sewage treatment, meat slaughtering, trash collection, and prostitution houses. Yet for all the unvarnished look at life that “reality” shows bring to viewers, there is one thing that is apparently too hot for television: praying to Jesus.
According to Phil Robertson, star of A&E’s mega-hit series “Duck Dynasty,” the producers of the cable program deliberately removed his and other family members’ references to Jesus in prayer.
CNN's routine marketing lie is that they're the centrist network that doesn't take sides. In July, CNN's Belief Blog promoted Muslim creative-writing professor Reza Aslan's book about Jesus. CNN contributor Stephen Prothero wrote a Fox News-"correcting" article titled "What Reza Aslan actually says about Jesus" and they published Aslan's own piece on "Why I Write About Jesus."
But when it came to Bill O'Reilly's book "Killing Jesus," CNN's Belief Blog posted an article titled "Five things Bill O’Reilly flubs in 'Killing Jesus'". Oh, yeah, CNN never takes sides. The author is a liberal author named Candida Moss, who has written a book attacking the "myth" that the early Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire. She mocked O'Reilly's grasp of facts:
The Washington Post said happy Sunday to Christians with an article titled “Five Myths About Jesus” by Muslim author Reza Aslan. First question: How likely is the Post to run a feature by Aslan or anyone else titled “Five Myths About Muhammad”? Or “Five Uncomfortable Truths About Muhammad”?
The second question is: Couldn’t the Post have published the article “Five Myths on Reza Aslan’s Resume?” The Post exposed his lies to a Fox News reporter. This Post favor to Aslan seems odd since almost two months ago, their Sunday book review by liberal Stephen Prothero panned his book “Zealot”:
The Little Sisters of the Poor sued over ObamaCare's birth control mandate on Tuesday, claiming the law forces them to violate their consciences. However, CNN ignored these nuns after boosting the liberal "Nuns on the Bus" tour last year that slammed the Ryan budget.
"We cannot violate our vows by participating in the government's program to provide access to abortion inducing drugs," said Sister Loraine Marie, the superior of one of the congregation's provinces. The Becket Fund, which filed the lawsuit, said the congregation will not be exempt from the mandate and faces millions of dollars in fines.
By now a clear pattern is developing in how the liberal media cover Pope Francis. Step one: the pontiff makes frank, off-the-cuff comments in a speech or an interview which contains statements easy for the liberal media to misconstrue. Step two: the media do what they do best, misconstrue and spin the pope in order to hail him as a liberal who will reform the church in a leftward direction on the unholy trinity of concerns for the secular left: abortion, sexual ethics (particularly on homosexuality), and women in the priesthood. Step three, liberal activists within the church are given platforms in secular media outlets to caution that, no, Francis is not the liberal you hope he is, at least, not yet, but that with some gentle prodding maybe he can be won over.
The bishop of Rome's interview with La Civilta Cattolica -- accessible in English here at the Jesuit magazine America -- is the latest instance where we see this pattern playing out. Witness how Time magazine today gave a platform to liberal nun Sister Simone Campbell, who explained to readers "What Pope Francis Thinks About Women in the Church." Campbell began:
On Friday, Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press shamelessly construed Pope Francis' denunciation of abortion and euthanasia as an "olive branch of sorts to the doctrine-minded, conservative wing of the Catholic Church". Winfield ballyhooed how the pontiff "issued a strong anti-abortion message and cited Vatican teaching on the need to defend the unborn".
The Bishop of Rome advised a group of Italian gynecologists to "recognize, in the fragile human being, the face of the Lord...Each child that is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ....And each old person, even if infirm or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the 'culture of waste' proposes!"
CNN's Chris Cuomo turned a discussion on Pope Francis' recent interview into an ugly personal attack and sharp lecture of his guest, the Catholic League's Bill Donohue, on Friday's New Day.
The fracas began when Cuomo lectured Donohue on the Pope's statement that the ultimate focus of the church is "salvation" and not one particular moral issue. He said "it really sounds like you're one of the people [Francis] is sending this message to, to be fair, Mr. Donohue, isn't it?" Cuomo clearly had a bone to pick with his guest. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Friday's CBS This Morning heralded how supposedly, "Pope Francis is already being described as one of the most progressive popes in modern times" after six months as Bishop of Rome. Charlie D'Agata asserted that the pontiff is "the friendly face of the Vatican, the people's pope", and played up how Francis' apparent "spirit of spontaneity, openness, and inclusion has courted controversy...It includes extending an olive branch to the gay community." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday, NBC Nightly News also underlined how Pope Francis seemingly "has changed the tone in a church plagued by the sex abuse scandal, emphasizing Church teaching on helping the poor and social justice....it's not just what the new pope says that's a sign of a changing church – it's what he does – getting close to people...enjoying the crowds that flock to him."
On Friday's CBS This Morning, Mark Phillips all but hinted that Pope Francis had "taken sides" with Russia's Vladimir Putin and against President Obama in the international debate over military strikes in Syria. Phillips proposed that the Pope's letter to Putin "must have been music to the Russian president's ears."
The journalist also turned to a "Vatican historian" who once publicly attacked Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, as a "dictator", and likened him to Islamists. He also labeled the Pope's upcoming prayer and fasting vigil for peace in Syria a "religious street protest." [audio available here; video below the jump]
In the media’s wall-to-wall Egypt coverage, one important facet of the ongoing crisis has gotten short shrift: the deadly plight of that nation’s Christians. The three broadcast networks in particular have buried the anti-Christian violence, devoting just 5 percent of Egypt reporting to it since last week. Six days ago, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohammed Morsi launched what some are calling a “pogrom” and “jihad” against Egypt’s Christian population.
Violence against Egypt’s Christian minority is nothing new. Nor is the media’s disinterest in it. But in the last week, that violence suddenly escalated to epidemic levels.
No one likes to see his religion trashed, and from everything we have learned about [the PBS documentary] "The Life of Muhammad," Muslims have nothing to worry about. The New York Daily News says the film could be subtitled "Islam 101," boasting that "If it helps with greater understanding, it has done its job." A professor who appears in the series praises it for its "balance."
However, a look back at PBS' treatment of the Catholic Church yields few films that could reasonably be dubbed "Catholicism 101," or that could in any way be praised for promoting "greater understanding." In fact, most of the films were flagrantly imbalanced.
Imagine a generally conservative evangelical figure switching his party affiliation from Republican to Democratic because in his view the 2012 Republican Convention's array of speakers and the party's platform convinced him that he could no longer in good conscience be affiliated with a political party which he believed steadfastly aligned itself with sinful positions on say care for the poor or immigration reform. Network news media would surely fall all over themselves to book that preacher on their morning and Sunday shows and print publications would scramble to get an exclusive interview.
Well, that sort of treatment has not greeted the Most Reverend Thomas Tobin, the bishop who oversees the Catholic diocese of Providence in Rhode Island. At a Young Republicans event last Tuesday, Tobin noted he joined the Democratic Party in 1969, but can no longer remain one, not after the 2012 Democratic convention's war-on-women/abortion-heavy confab. Providence TV station WPRI broke the story on August 13 (emphasis mine):
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious begins its annual assembly today in Orlando. The group of Catholic nuns from various orders is certain to be considering a response to the Vatican’s finding that LCWR’s liberal activism strays from Church doctrine on a variety of issues.
But the sisters probably aren’t too worried. They have something the Vactican doesn’t – a friendly news media.
The Washington Post reporter today that Mayor Vince Gray (D-Washington, D.C.) confirmed it was he who pressured gospel singer Donnie McClurkin to back out of Saturday's city-sponsored concert honoring the late Martin Luther King, Jr. McClurkin was the target of local gay activists because of comments he made in 2002 in which he testified about how he used to practice homosexuality but repented of that lifestyle because of his faith in Jesus Christ.
Although a group of local African-American pastors are furious about Gray's "insidious bullying tactics" and "outright infringement of Pastor McClurkin's civil rights," the Washington Post downplayed that angle in today's page B3 story, burying their outrage in the final third of the 9-paragraph article, "Gray made call to cut gospel singer from show." "Gay activists objected to scheduled headliner at King memorial," noted the subheader, giving the casual reader scanning the page no indication that McClurkin's treatment by the mayor has sparked outrage.
On Friday, I noted how ostensibly objective religion reporter David Gibson of Religion News Service has been tapped by Sister Simone Campbell to co-author her memoirs. Proceeds from the project will go into the coffers of NETWORK, Campbell's left-leaning "social justice" organization. Campbell, you may recall, addressed the Democratic National Convention last year and was a mini-celebrity on the Left for her attacks on Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and his signature Ryan budget plan.
A review of Gibson's writing about Campbell's anti-Ryan budget "nuns on the bus" tour last year and this year's bus tour focused on immigration reform shows that Gibson's treatment of Campbell's politicking reads more like hagiography than objective journalism. Let's walk through a few samples. Here's Gibson from a September 6 item dutifully passing along highlights of Campbell's speech to the 2012 Democratic National Convention (emphasis mine):
Friday’s Washington Post carried a large article with color photographs of Jesus-bashing author Reza Aslan called “The Book of Reza.” Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia mocked “the astonishingly absurd questions lobbed at him” by Fox News religion correspondent Lauren Green, asking why a Muslim would write about Jesus.
Aslan told the Post he held Fox in low esteem (like almost every leftist). “I know what Fox News is about,” he says. “This is a network that has spun fear-mongering about Muslims into ratings gold for 10 years.” But this didn't end up being a puff piece. Roig-Franzia found that the “absurd” Fox network accomplished something notable. Aslan implausibly inflated his academic resume, and then arrogantly dismissed he’d done anything unethical. Aslan is exposed:
Imagine the hand-wringing that would ensue among secular journalists were Franklin Graham or Bishop Harry Jackson to write a memoir with a mainstream media religion reporter on board as a credited co-author. Surely much ado would be made about an ostensibly objective journalist assisting a politically engaged, conservative clergyman to write a book the proceeds of which would go into his ministry's coffers. After all, how can you objectively cover such individuals after having helped them raise their public profile and financially benefited their pet cause(s)?
Now contrast that with the silence that's sure to greet Religion News Service reporter David Gibson's services as scribe to Sister Simone Campbell, the left-wing nun who was a convenient unofficial ally and surrogate for liberal Democrats last year as she savaged Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. As a national reporter, Gibson has covered Campbell as part of his beat as a national reporter for RNS.
The Guardian is unapologetically left-of-center editorially, but being a British publication, its geographical and cultural separation from the journalistic elite on this side of the pond helps inoculate it from venerating the sacred cows and cozying up to the favored pundits of the liberal media here in the States.
A prime example of that is Stuart Kelly's review of UC Riverside professor and Huffington Post blogger Reza Aslan's new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Where American reviewers have praised Aslan's writing style if not his chops as a religious historian, Kelly took on both (h/t Michael Gryboski; emphasis mine):
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:
They may find it scandalous for someone to say so, but our secular liberal media are playing favorites with religion. They have a spoiled child, Islam. Journalists see Islam as a bullied, minority faith for brown people. Draw a cartoon of Mohammed with dynamite on his head, and you are the worst kind of trouble-making hater.
But write a book declaring that Jesus isn’t God? That’s not picking a fight or making trouble. That actually delights media elitists. They see America as too identified with Christian-nation “intolerance,” a bond that needs to be broken. Look no further than Lauren Green’s Foxnews.com interview with Muslim author Reza Aslan, who wrote a book titled “Zealot,” which wildly claims that Jesus wasn’t God, and (scriptural evidence be damned ) Jesus never said or thought that he was.
The Huffington Post wants to make Catholic colleges more gay. So, HuffPo Live hosted a segment called “Rainbows for Catholic Colleges” on Thursday, and discussed how to undermine Catholic teaching and push the gay agenda on Catholic campuses. (Because Heaven forbid there be any institution left standing that hasn’t capitulated to postmodern morality.)
The panel included no traditional priests, not a single traditional Catholic student, and not even a straight Catholic layman. Nope. Just three gay guys. There’s diversity for you.
The call of the minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was never meant to be a popular gig with the world. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you," Jesus taught his disciples (John 15:18-19, ESV).
So when I saw that the Washington National Cathedral's dean the Rev. Gary Hall was the subject of a puffy 29-paragraph profile by the Washington Post's Sally Quinn -- "A clergyman intent on engaging the masses"* -- it was safe to assume that Hall's views by heavily accommodating to the wider culture while throwing historic Christian teaching under the bus. Hall failed to disappoint, nor did Quinn, who naturally presented Hall as an engaging, thoughtful, and cool cleric who was a religious leader in tune with liberal urban Washingtonians.
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):
During a panel discussion on Thursday's NBC Today about comments from Pope Francis on homosexuality, co-host Matt Lauer asked the group of usual liberal pundits if the Pontiff's remarks were a "watershed moment for gays in the Church" or "just a very minor shift." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Advertising executive Donny Deutsch cheered: "I think it was a watershed moment. I think we're seeing a moment in time from the Catholic Church, all across what's happening in this country with laws being passed, that the gay lifestyle is finally becoming like, 'Yeah, so what?'"
Never one to miss the chance to smear Christianity and push gay marriage, the Huffington Post is hyping a new edition of an old book proposing that the ancient Christian church held gay marriages.
A sensationalist HuffPo sidebar lead with the teaser: “Ancient Christians held gay marriages?” On the HuffPo’s Gay Voices page, the banner was emblazoned with the provocative suggestion: “ANCIENT I DO’S?” The sub headline made it sound as if the story were breaking news: “Historian’s claims spark controversy.”