The Los Angeles Times has joyfully discovered a way to keep the clergy misdeeds of the Catholic Church forever in the minds of its readers and the public: the obituary page.
Take a look at the obituary of former bishop G. Patrick Ziemann. At over 900 words, it's not so much an obituary as it is a gleeful relishing by Duke Helfand and the Times over the sins of a Catholic authority.
In a recent news article (Fri. 10/23/09) and a pea-brained editorial (Sat. 10/24/09) regarding Anglicans joining the Catholic Church, the Los Angeles Times again displays its utter ignorance of the Catholic faith.
The Times' editorial is yet another weak attempt to air the paper's position that homosexual acts and women priests should be fully embraced by the Catholic Church.
If we’ve learned anything in recent months, it’s that if you’re a racist, a Marxist, a Maoist, a domestic terrorist or any other variety of anti-American nut, the safest place to be is in the company of Barack Obama. If you can stay off the radar of Fox News and don’t get caught on tape giving advice on running a brothel for fun and profit, you get to influence the most powerful executive in the world.
Case in point: Obama’s “Safe Schools Czar,” Kevin Jennings. While nobody’s yet found out exactly what he knows about safe schools, we do know he’s an expert at pushing a gay agenda in public grammar schools. We know he’s praised the founder of the North American Man-Boy Love Association. And thanks to “the pro-family action center for Massachusetts,” Mass Resistance, now we know he’s an art maven. (Warning: site contains many offensive images from the installation. The site’s blog has also been flagged by Google as objectionable – which, given Google’s political leanings, may be a badge of honor.)
It's hard to find fault with such an exemplary young man, but I have.
In a Monday story in USA Today, religion writer Tom Krattenmaker reported these findings:
"Tebow does his missionary trips to the Philippines under the auspices of his father Bob Tebow's Evangelistic Association. The Tebow organization espouses a far-right theology. Its bottom line: Only those who assent to its version of Christianity will avoid eternal punishment. The ministry boldly declares, 'We reject the modern ecumenical movement.'"
If Tebow is selling that, this Lutheran isn't buying.
It isn't often that one can see two decades of history re-written in under ten minutes. But such was the occasion on this morning's episode of Morning Joe. Max Blumenthal, author of "Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party," spent his time on the show demonstrating the combined power of cognitive dissonance, wanton ignorance, and a willingness to re-write historical fact.
Let's take it in chronological order, shall we?
First, Blumenthal is asked to present the major thesis of his book:
As NewsBusters' Ken Shepherd noted in an October 5 post, some conservatives have undertaken an online Conservative Bible Project to rid the Good Book of "translational bias" and correct the "lack of precision" in both original and translational language. As Shepherd also noted, Time Magazine's Amy Sullivan wasted no time heaping derision on the effort.
Unsurprisingly, others on the left have joined the fun. Harpers Magazine titled a blog post on the project, "From the Department of Self-Parody." "Lo and behold, the Bible has gotten too liberal," wrote Rachel Weiner at the Huffington Post. "And it needs a little editing."
And the hooting could be heard in many of the lesser precincts of the left-wing blogosphere - most of it a variation on Weiner's sneer: "Yes, even scripture is not orthodox enough for the modern conservative."
Last week the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to U.S. Senators about current health reform legislation. The USCCB has supported the goal of universal health coverage for decades, but the letter made clear that they do not yet support the Senate Finance Committee's bill because of concerns about affordability, coverage for immigrants, and financing for abortion. I'd like to focus on that last point, because I think it's here that the bishops may be moving the goalposts on what they can and cannot accept.
Sullivan lamented that the bishops are not accepting the word of the Obama administration as the gospel truth when it comes to abortion:
Reporting the lead story on CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Martha Teichner touted a new on-line poll conducted by Parade magazine about religion in America: “nearly a quarter of the respondents call themselves spiritual, not religious. And how about this? Half the people polled say they seldom, if ever, attend religious services.”
One supposed religious expert Teichner spoke with about the poll findings was Barnard College professor and Episcopal priest Randall Balmer, who argued: “And so you have all these religious options out there and we Americans are good consumers.” Teichner asked: “So you’re saying that Americans choose their faith or their spirituality in very much the way they shop a mall.” Balmer replied: “I think they do.” In 2006, Balmer wrote Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America.
The Parade magazine cover story about the poll was written by Christine Wicker, author of The Fall of the Evangelical Nation. In addition, Wicker is also a contributing writer for the left-wing blog The Huffington Post. Just days prior to the 2008 presidential election, Wicker authored a post entitled “Evangelical Leaders Using God Like a Hired Gun,” in which she claimed: “They tried branding Obama the anti-Christ. They tried linking him with Islamic terrorists....They’ve used their pulpits to endorse McCain...None of these tactics has brought their errant minions under control. So using God like a hired gun to terrorize the town’s people, the evangelical Christian mullahs are declaring that Obamageddon is at hand.”
A year ago Time magazine's David Van Biema wrote up a short, favorable take on the so-called Green Bible, an edition based on the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) that placed "green references" in "a pleasant shade of forest green, much as red-letter editions of the Bible encrimson the words of Jesus." But wait, there's more, The Green Bible also includes "supplementary writings" several of which "cite the Genesis verse in which God gives humanity 'dominion' over the earth" and "Others [which] assert that eco-neglect violates Jesus' call to care for the least among us: it is the poor who inhabit the floodplains."
Even though The Green Bible is risible both from a commercial standpoint as a marketing ploy and theologically as a bastardization of the real heart of Christian doctrine, neither charge was entertained as a valid criticism by the Time staffer. Van Biema even hinted that evangelicals, 54 percent of whom "agreed that 'stricter environmental laws and regulations are worth the cost'" might embrace the translation despite strong reservations from conservative theologians.
Adultery did not fare well during a September 24 "Nightline" broadcast about the issue, but that didn't keep ABC's Cynthia McFadden from asking an evangelical pastor if he felt "a little intolerant" for his conservative views on the subject.
McFadden moderated a debate that tried to answer the question, "Are we born to cheat?" but appeared to mock Pastor Ed Young's responses whenever she could.
The proponents of adultery who appeared on the panel included Jenny Block, an author and participant in an open marriage, and Noel Biderman, the president and CEO of Ashley Madison, a Web site designed to help people begin extra-marital affairs. To be fair, Block and Biderman did face some tough questioning about their views, but they did not receive the same derision McFadden levied at Young.
It takes a breathtaking lack of self-awareness, or selective amnesia, or just bald hypocrisy for the left-wing blogosphere to speculate on the cause of “right-wing hatemongering.” But there it was on Sept. 21 – an article asserting that the “anti-Obama hyperventilating” was the result of … Christianity.
Appearing on Alternet.org, Frank Schaeffer’s “Right-Wing Hatemongering Fueled by Christianity?” suggested that resistance to the Obama program comes from “the ugliest side of religion.”
“The fact is,” wrote Schaeffer, “that if you're going to blame one group above all others for the willful ignorance and continuing ugliness of the response to President Obama the best candidate would be the evangelical/fundamentalist community.”
Schaeffer wrote that former president Jimmy Carter was correct when he recently asserted that racism was behind the passionate anti-Obama reaction. But Carter fell short in not explicitly linking that racism to his own religion – Evangelical Christianity. “The angry part of the South Carter spoke of is racist because it's dominated by a certain type of ‘Christian’ culture,” Schaeffer wrote.
Bonnie Erbe, contributing editor to U.S. News and World report and host of PBS' "To the Contrary" recently compared conservative Christians to terrorists.
A soon-to-be published study in the journal Reproductive Health that found states with a high level of residents who subscribe to conservative religious beliefs also have high teen birth rates sparked Erbe's September 18 observation that Christianity and radical Islamic terrorism share distinct similarities.
Erbe did not find this conclusion "surprising," and noted that "most of these ‘religious' states are also so-called red states." From there she bashed red states as uneducated and poor, and argued that those factors combined with "increased religiosity tend to intertwine and build on each other." Erbe offered as proof the following example:
An article in the Albany Times Union promotes a controversy brewing in local schools in upstate New York. A controversy in that schools are willing to close their doors during Christian and Jewish religious holidays - but not Muslim holidays.
Tucked away within the article is a supporting statement from Jay Worona, counsel for the New York State School Board Association (NYSSBA), in which he promotes a possible alternative to canceling classes. Worona states, "One request we have seen is for a room during Ramadan for students to pray in, and many districts are attempting to provide those."
What the reporter fails to note is that Worona, who apparently is in favor of separate prayer rooms for Muslim students, opposes the inclusion of a display containing the Ten Commandments in New York schools.
Interesting. A prayer room for Muslim students. What happened to the separation of religion and education, church and state? Or did that only apply to the assault on Christianity in our schools, the elimination of nativity scenes, the conversion of labels such as 'Christmas Break' to 'Winter Break', or the deletion of the phrase 'under God' from our Pledge of Allegiance?
Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League, has said, "Penn & Teller's Nazi-like assault on Catholicism that took place on August 27 will go down in history as one of the most vile, obscene programs ever aired in any nation." However, will the show also go down in history for airing the most number of lies, falsehoods, and misleading statements in a single half-hour show?
Not counting credits, the guilty episode runs less than 26 minutes. Here's a lie-by-lie list of the falsehoods that Penn Jillette and his guests aired in that time:
1. Before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, in 2001, issued a "confidential order to every bishop" and "ordered the cover-up" of sex abuse.
Outraged advocates of same-sex marriage have forced the Washington Post into an apology for running a features piece last week that portrayed an opponent as more than an evil, bigoted, hatemongering fundamentalist.
The profile examined Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, one of the groups that lobbied for Proposition 8, the hotly-contested California State ballot initiative that explicitly defined marriage as between and man and a woman, overturning a State Supreme Court decision to the contrary.
Pundits on the left called the features piece, written by Monica Hesse—who says she is a bisexual and has had romantic relationships with women in the past—“absurd,” “bizarre,” and “accusatory and belittling.”
I was stunned to read on Life Site News that a new movie is being planned about Our Lady of Guadalupe, so-named for an appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531 that’s credited with converting nine million indigenous Mexicans to Christianity. The film, still untitled, will be produced by Mpower Pictures, the company that was launched with the pro-life movie "Bella" in 2006 and founded by "The Passion of the Christ" producer Steve McEveety.
That a movie would be made about Our Lady of Guadalupe is amazing, but that wasn’t half the surprise. The movie is being written by Joe Eszterhas. Yes, the same Joe Eszterhas responsible for screenwriting filthy movies like "Basic Instinct" and most infamously, "Showgirls," a movie so pornographic even the late Jack Valenti condemned it.
What I didn’t know until now is the story of the conversion of Joe Eszterhas in 2001, powerfully captured in his 2008 memoir entitled "Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith."
What would Jesus do? Well, Ed Schultz thinks he knows - that is on health care reform at least.
Schultz, on his Sept. 2 MSNBC program, "The ED Show" told viewers he believed Jesus would vote for a government public option. That, he said, was to the dismay of some on religious right, or what he used the pejorative "Bible thumpers" to describe.
"Now, I have been referring to the health care reform deal as the real moral issue of our time," Schultz said. "I believe Jesus would vote yes for a public option, but some Bible thumpers don't see me eye to eye on this one."
Schultz later elaborated on his statement, likening "fixing health care" to a moral obligation.
ABCNews.com republished a bigoted attack against a famously large Christian family on Tuesday. Amelia McDonell-Parry of gossip website TheFrisky.com snarked about Michelle Duggar's latest pregnancy in the post, stating that it "can't be good news...if you're at all concerned about overpopulation." She also hinted that Mrs. Duggar's daughter-in-law was forced to have a baby of her own.
Following last night's episode (Thu. 8/27/09) of Penn & Teller's show on Showtime, Bill Donahue, founder and president of the Catholic League said, "I have never seen a more defamatory, obscene and vicious show on TV." Folks, that is saying a lot. The man has dedicated his career to exposing anti-Catholicism.
According to Donahue, the foul-mouthed Penn Jillette billed last night's episode as "payback" for 2,000 years of alleged "crimes" by the Catholic Church. Wrote Donahue:
What do you call an excommunicated Catholic priest, ignorant of the sacraments, who openly calls for the ordination of women? If you're the Boston Globe, you call him a "prominent priest" who is "in good standing." Then, for good measure, you entitle the article about the priest, "Priest takes church to task for not ordaining women." Good ... grief.
The paper profiles dissident ex-priest Roy Bourgeois, a man ignorant of the teachings of the Church to which he was ordained. And the author of the slanted piece, Globe religion reporter Michael Paulson, fails to fully "take Bourgeois to task" for being so oblivious of such a fundamental facet of Church teaching.
On Friday’s Newsroom, CNN correspondent Dana Bash reported on Senator Ted Kennedy’s alleged “deep Catholic faith,” and zeroed-in on how he “used scripture in his push to end poverty and discrimination,” but chose a clip of his bungling a biblical citation. “My favorite parts of the Bible are always Matthew 25 through 35 [sic]- I was hungry and you gave me to eat, and thirsty, you gave me to drink” [audio clip available here].
Anchor Heidi Collins introduced Bash’s report, which shared a similar theme to AP’s report from Friday morning: “Senator Kennedy had spoken of his complicated relationship with the Catholic Church.” The CNN correspondent then highlighted how “Ted Kennedy’s family chose this church for his funeral Mass because he prayed here every day when daughter Kara was diagnosed with cancer, an example of his quiet, but deep Catholic faith.”
Jay Lindsay quoted almost exclusively from liberals in his report on Ted Kennedy’s Catholicism for the AP on Friday. Only one of those excerpted by Lindsay was a conservative, not counting Catholic Church officials.
The AP correspondent led his article, titled “Kennedy’s Catholicism source of comfort, conflict,” with some glowing language, but at least portrayed how the deceased senator was not always a faithful believer: “Sen. Edward Kennedy was raised from birth to cherish his Catholicism, and it became both a source of comfort and conflict throughout his life. The son of the country’s most famous Catholic family defied church teachings when he divorced his first wife, then was granted an annulment only after he admitted he wasn’t being honest when he promised her he’d be faithful. His most significant and public break with the church came with his support for abortion rights.”
Lindsay followed this summary about the Democrats’s “significant and public break” with Church teaching by countering that “Kennedy also advocated for signature Catholic causes, such as help for the poor, health care and immigration reform, and opposition to the Iraq war.” While the Church does do significant work on those three issues, and Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI voiced their opposition to the Iraq war, they do not raise to the same moral importance as abortion and the sanctity of marriage, contrary to what many Catholic dissenters might say.
Time’s Amy Sullivan seems to have a special assignment to try and play up the religiosity of liberal Democrats despite their libertine policy stands, from Barack Obama to Ted Kennedy. On Thursday, Sullivan underlined "Ted Kennedy’s Quiet Catholic Faith." How does that match with his ultraliberal political record on abortion and homosexuality, his perfect 100-percent scores with NARAL or the Human Rights Campaign? Sullivan simply ignores that obvious problem.
(HRC’s YouTube channel proudly shows Kennedy suggesting Jesse Helms might be in Hell at a March 2008 dinner. So much for Christian charity.)
Kennedy "fully embraced" the Catholic Church, Sullivan claimed:
Kennedy only fully embraced Catholicism later in life, particularly after marrying his second wife. Vicki Kennedy was one of a handful of prominent Catholic Democrats who strongly urged John Kerry to defend questions about his faith during the 2004 presidential campaign, and she served as a surrogate for the Obama campaign in 2008 in heavily Catholic areas.
Douglas Brinkley continued his use of religious imagery to gush about the legacy of Ted Kennedy and his apparent Catholicism on CNN’s Newsroom on Thursday. Brinkley did his best to paper over the many moral downfalls of the senator: “He’s asked to be forgiven by people. He did a kind of a redemptive work throughout his whole career. He would fall off the wagon....But he constantly said, I can do better.”
Near the end of the 12 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, anchor Tony Harris asked the liberal presidential historian and CBS commentator, “You hear...about some of the failings in the senator’s life, and what is it about us as people that- on a day like today- a day like yesterday, we are willing to, in many cases, look past some of those failings, and focus in on the positive arc of a person’s life?” Brinkley played up Kennedy’s Catholic background, and instead using the “martyr” term he used on Wednesday, used more general religious language in his answer:
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez accused anti-ObamaCare activists of forwarding “misrepresentations, and flat out lies in some cases” during a segment with “progressive” pastor and Obama apologist Jim Wallis on Wednesday’s Newsroom program. Sanchez placed the blame on the protesters relying “exclusively [on] right-wing media and right-wing television channels.”
The anchor brought on Reverend Wallis, the head of the “progressive Christian group Soujourners,” to discuss the phone-in town hall meeting he was hosting with President Obama. Midway through the interview, Sanchez raised the “wild behavior that we’ve seen in some of these health care forums” and made his first accusation against the anti-ObamaCare protesters: “When you hear, for example, some of the misrepresentations, and flat out lies in some cases, like calling things death panels and saying that people are going to be- old people are going to be killed, including some of them spread by people who profess to be Christians. How do you- how do you reconcile that as- as a Christian yourself?”
Newsflash: The media doesn't understand that the Catholic Church is not a democracy, and that the Vatican is not swayed by public opinion.
The proof of this disconnect came from ABC "World News Sunday" anchor Dan Harris and correspondent David Wright during the Aug. 16 "World News" broadcast. Wright's report on American nuns facing an apostolic visitation, labeled by Harris as "a controversial investigation," portrayed the Vatican as a big, bad bully of American nuns.
The late Dr. Yury Verlinsky, a scientist "who developed a technology that allows a search-and-destroy mission on human embryos" was heralded by the New York Times recently as a man who helped childless patients conceive healthy babies.
Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, more popularly known as "Rev. Ike", has gone to his reward. The 74-year old prosperity gospel huckster died on July 29 in Los Angeles.
But in covering the story, the Associated Press and the Washington Post have carelessly tarnished legitimate preachers of the Christian Gospel by association, by lumping in Eikerenkoetter with more biblically orthodox Protestant preachers as an "evangelist."
The Providence Journal’s coverage of the assault on traditional marriage advocates in Warwick, Rhode Island on July 28 has consistently downplayed how pepper spray was used on the conservative protesters, in favor of how food was thrown at them.
ProJo.com’s Wednesday report on the attack ran with the headline, “Same-sex marriage protesters assaulted with food,” and didn’t mention the pepper spray until the second-to-last paragraph. The following morning, reporter Kate Branson used a more nuanced headline (“Update: 4 accused of hurling food at activists in Warwick”), but at least mentioned the pepper spray in the second paragraph.
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, also known as the American TFP, is a conservative Catholic group based in the central Pennsylvania town of Spring Grove, and supported by hundreds of thousands of donors all over the U.S. They are conducting a “traditional marriage crusade” in the northeastern states of New York, Rhode Island, and Maine. “Caravans” of their young volunteers are traveling across those three states, and stop at busy intersections, holding signs expressing their support of traditional marriage, which they believe to be a sacrament.