One small step for David Axelrod, one giant leap for Barack Obama away from Jeremiah Wright . . .
When chief Obama strategist Axelrod appeared at the end of this evening's Hardball, I expected him to dodge the current Rev. Wright controversy with some bromide about the reverend's right to express his opinions. But—in evidence of just how badly Wright's current comments are hurting Obama—Axelrod surprised me by acknowledging that he wished Wright hadn't piped up and suggesting that the good reverend's out for Numero Uno. Axelrod did manage to work in a blame-the-media angle.
View video here. [Note: Axelrod comments come after Matthews takes shot at Bill Kristol.]
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.
How bad was Reverend Wright's appearance before the National Press Club this morning? Bad enough that even CNN contributor Roland Martin—who yesterday enthused about Wright's address to the Detroit NAACP, who gave Wright's chat with Bill Moyers an 'A'—flunked it with an 'F.' Bad enough that David Gergen condemned it as "narcissistic almost beyond belief." Bad enough that, introducing a panel discussion of the speech, the palpably distressed CNN Newsroom host Tony Harris let out an audible groan of "ah, boy," and later wondered how much damage had been done.
Were they commenting on the same speech? Rev. Jeremiah Wright goes before the Detroit NAACP, claims that black and white children learn with different parts of their brain, and offers a simpering, unflattering imitation of the way white pastors speak. CNN's Soledad O'Brien gushes that the speech was a "home run" and "really funny." But over at Morning Joe, Wright's words prompted a panel member to rip the reverend as a "mediocrity" and a "buffoon."
Soledad O'Brien was in the hall when Wright spoke. She reported on the speech at the top of CNN's 6 AM ET hour.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: The whole thing, frankly, was really funny. I think a lot of people have seen Rev. Wright defined as controversial, defined as angry, defined as anti-American: not in that speech. Not in that speech at all. He was funny, he was witty. This is a guy who's got two masters and his doctorate in divinity. Here is a guy who speaks five languages, they took pains in his introduction to point out all his accomplishments.
Bob Herbert: voice of reason? On economics and the role of government, no. On the dynamics of the Dem nomination race? Actually, yes. In both his TV appearances and columns, Herbert, a military veteran who grew up largely in a comfortable New Jersey suburb, comes across as more clear-eyed and down-to-earth, less angry and ideological, than his NY Times confreres like Paul Krugman or Frank Rich.
Take Herbert's column of this morning, Heading Toward the Danger Zone. My sense is that, at heart, Herbert backs Obama. But that doesn't deter the columnist from offering an unblinking assessment of the very perilous electoral path on which Obama finds himself. Let's work backwards from Herbert's stunning conclusion [emphasis added]:
One of Senator Obama’s favorite phrases is “the fierce urgency of now.” There is nothing more fiercely urgent for him right now than to reassure voters and superdelegates that an Obama candidacy will not lead to a Democratic debacle in November.
ABCNews.com today is featuring an article by Lillian Cunningham of Medill News Service about "The Young and the Religious." Cunningham sought to look at how "[s]ome young religious voters shun the religious right, focus instead on social justice." Of course Cunningham ignored how these young voters might not just be liberal in politics but theology.
After all, liberal Christianity is not a surprising new phenomenon. Indeed, liberal and social gospel movements of the late 1800s and early 1900s were met with resistance by conservative, orthodox theologians such as J. Gresham Machen. Machen threw down a theological gauntlet in 1923 with his classic work "Christianity and Liberalism," in which he held that modernist or liberal Christianity "not only is a different religion from Christianity but belongs in a totally different class of religions." The Presbyterian theologian and preacher eventually broke away from the left-ward leaning Presbyterian Church to form the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 1936.
Simply put, the religious left in America is nothing new and its leftist politics often flow from their left-leaning theological twists on Christian Scripture.
Interviewed by Bill Moyers for a PBS show to be aired on the night of April 25, 2008, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. accused people of trying to paint him as "un-American" or "some sort of fanatic" for purposes of harming the candidacy of Barack Obama. (AP Photo/PBS, Robin Holland, HO)
During a taped interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which aired on Thursday’s "Larry King Live," Larry King did not bring up the California Democrat’s longstanding use of a fictional quote from the Bible, which CNSNews.com chronicled in a report on April 23.
During the interview, which totaled just under 19 minutes, King asked Pelosi about a variety of topics, such as the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the congressional Democrats’ failure to end the war in Iraq, and the proposed free trade agreement with Colombia. But Pelosi’s quote, "To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us," which she has used on at least seven occasions since 2005, did not come up.
In her April 24 post at The Seeker blog, Chicago Tribune's Manya Brachear asked readers how they would keep the peace between Armenian and Greek Orthodox priests that maintain the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Brachear also noted the concern at least one reader of the Tribune expressed as to the grammatically, historically, and theologically sloppy way in which the print edition rendered a caption describing the church (emphasis mine):
Revered by most Christians as the site of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the sanctuary was built over the place where Jesus is said to have been buried.
It’s the latter description of the church that sparked a newsroom debate this week. Reader Marcia Smith Marzec of Joliet pointed out that a caption in the Tribune’s April 21 edition described the church as "built over the site in Jerusalem where Jesus is said to be buried."
"Even non-believers know that for Christians, Christ rose from the dead, and therefore is not ‘buried’ anywhere," Marzec wrote.
Despite her Bible mangling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presents herself as a "devout Catholic," and was kissing the ring of Pope Benedict in Washington last week, no doubt honoring him as "Your Holiness." But in the April 21 Time, she recommends the Dalai Lama to be in Time's Top 100 (most influential people, and he's also "His Holiness." How many gods does Pelosi worship? Devout Catholics worship one God. Tibetan Buddhists worship a multiplicity of gods. Pelosi wrote:
His Holiness the Dalai Lama describes himself as a "simple monk," but he represents so much more to so many. He is a source of spiritual refuge, and has used his position to promote wisdom, compassion and nonviolence as a solution to world conflicts.
That's certainly the title that the Dalai Lama uses, but that doesn't mean everyone in public life does. In fact, Dan Rather also recommended the Tibetan monk for the Person of the Year honors in the December 17, 2007 issue without the honorific:
It is NBC Green Week, after all, so who can blame Andrea Mitchell for recycling two dilapidated defenses of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?
Mitchell's heart didn't seem wholly in it, but like a burned-out public defender going through the motions, Andrea apparently felt constrained to mount some kind of defense of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's controversial remarks. And so she trotted out two hoary chestnuts:
that's the way it's done in African-American churches, and
A Bible quote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi often uses to justify her environmental agenda doesn't exist, biblical scholars tell CNSNews.com reporter Pete Winn. Pelosi last cited the fictional Bible passage two days ago to commemorate Earth Day. In her April 22 news release, Pelosi said, "The Bible tells us in the Old Testament, 'To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.'"
A professor at Yale Divinity School tells Winn it’s not even a close paraphrase of anything in the Bible, and a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary says Pelosi’s Bible quote is completely "fictional." A Roman Catholic doctor of scripture adds that it can’t be found "even in pieces or bits." In addition to her recent news release, Pelosi’s "verbatim" citing of the quote goes back to at least 2005, Winn’s research shows the mistake repeating:
– A 2005 Christmas message to the U.S. House.
– A 2007 speech to U.S. House Science and Technology Committee.
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.
The day after Pope Benedict XVI departed the U.S. after a six-day visit, Blaine Harden of the Washington Post lamented the Catholic Church’s influence in the Philippines, specifically, the government of Philippines "acceding to Catholic doctrine" by "supporting only what it calls ‘natural’ family planning," rejecting "modern contraception" as part of family planning." Throughout his article, titled "Birthrates Help Keep Filipinos in Poverty," Harden painted a bleak picture of "the fastest-growing segment of the Philippine population," which is "very poor people with large families," and sought to blame their poverty and backwardness on their following Catholic teaching, brushing aside corruption and other factors that contribute to poverty. A photo accompanying the article in the print-edition of the Post showed a poor Filipino mother in her shack with her four children, two of whom are naked.
Harden described the Church’s influence throughout the article, hinting that it had created a climate of fear in the country "An organization that is helping Espinoza [a poor Filipino woman who plans to get a contraceptive intrauterine device] agreed to introduce this reporter to her on condition that it not be named. The group’s health workers said they fear retaliation and harassment from officials in the national and city government, as well as from the Catholic Church." He immediately mentioned after this that in 2005, the "Catholic bishops in the southern Philippines announced that they would refuse Communion to government health workers who distributed birth control devices."
With Pope Benedict back in Rome, the media are rendering their verdict of the pontiff's U.S. visit. The pontiff did "better than expected" seems to be the verdict coming from secular journalists, who, of course, found that the pontiff bested the low expectations of unnamed "experts."
NEW YORK, April 20 -- After thanking the United States for his "many memorable experiences of American hospitality," Pope Benedict XVI headed back to Rome on Sunday night, ending a six-day visit in which he directly confronted the clergy sex-abuse crisis and surprised many by drawing large, enthusiastic crowds.
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.
Just in time for the third anniversay of Pope Benedict XVI's election to the papacy, Time magazine's Tim Padgett penned a positively-intentioned yet patronizing defense of why he's "still a Roman Catholic." Suffice it to say Padgett's reasons don't ring with theological clarity or a sense of faith-filled awe at the central and essential claims of Catholicism.
No, Padgett made clear in his April 19 article that his Catholicism is one of personal preference, holding aloft not the Church as herald of the Truth, but its "quieter value" as a community in which to mark life's milestones from cradle to grave (emphasis mine):
CosmoGirl! magazine is a great resource to find out which lip gloss looks best with your prom dress, but it fails miserably as a religious guide. In the May 2008 article "Religion by Design," author Marina Khidekel does not give any indication that she understands the essence of religion: the acknowledgement of a Being greater than the individual, the community, and any earthly concern, who revealed His will to humanity in holy books.
Instead, Khidekel reduces religion to personal preference, endorsing the phenomenon of teens moving away from the organized religion of their families and creating their own belief systems by picking bits from various religions and philosophies, whatever makes them feel good.
Dubbed "Starbucks spirituality," these mix-and-match beliefs could contain "a shot of Catholicism, a sprinkle of Buddhism, a pinch of Hindu teachings – or whatever else [teens] are in the mood for that day."
The left-wing blogosphere's outrage against ABC ["Boycott Fig Newtons!"] over its allegedly unfair questioning of Obama during Wednesday's debate has seeped over into the MSM in the form of Derrick Z. Jackson's Boston Globe column of this morning. While the headline moots the matter in the interrogative "Tough questions or just plain bias?", there's no doubt as to the answer in Jackson's mind. Just two paragraphs in, the columnist unleashes [emphasis added]:
In some 1,600 words of transcript, Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos tried to eviscerate Obama in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
At 7:16 this morning on Good Morning America, Dan Harris reported on the upcoming Papal Mass from Nationals Park in Washington. "This is a brand new ballpark opened just two and a half weeks ago and this morning it's been transformed into a giant outdoor church. Behind me, in the outfield, there is a 75-foot-high altar."
A 75-foot-high altar? Does that mean the Pope would have to say Mass on 75-foot-high stilts? Clearly, there was a 75-foot-high stage, but the altar was its usual human-friendly height. (Photo by MRC's Michelle Humphrey.) It's frightening that ABC is putting Dan Harris on the religion beat, and he doesn't know whan an "altar" is.
Webster's defines it: "In the Christian church, a construction of stone, wood, or other material for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist; the communion table." This is a massive blooper to anyone who attends a church with an altar.
Isn't there a minor league that ABC can demote Dan Harris to, so he can devote a few weeks to his game, learn a little research, do a little reporter rehab?
AP's Laurie Kellman reported an entire story Wednesday night on "Abortion-rights lawmakers to receive communion," but nowhere in the story was an American quoted in opposition to granting communion to pro-abortion politicians. The angle for the story was that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others planned to receive communion at the Papal Mass in D.C., when Pope Benedict has been supportive of denying the sacrament to abortion supporters. This paragraph stuck out:
Benedict's stance on abortion and Communion has been painful for elected officials who inhabit the troubled zone where Catholicism and their political beliefs intersect.
It would be just as true to state "Pelosi's stance on abortion and Communion has been painful for church officials," but that's not the ideological flow coming out of AP. Instead, Kellman quoted John Kerry plugging the opportunity of the papal trip to foster discussion on "poverty, disease, and despair," which in his mind probably doesn't include despair over pro-abortion politicians ever considering whether their position needs to better reflect their chosen faith.
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.
Pope Benedict XVI is in America and, like his predecessor, is about to be treated to curiously bipolar coverage at the hands of the American press. While in-country, John Paul the Great received almost universally positive treatment. But up to the point the papal wheels touched down, the media reports were consistently critical – some verging on the savage – and when it was wheels-up, the press immediately returned to their old ways.
The tone this time around will not be so much “news” as the recycled template that our journalistic elite imposes on every papal visit to America in the last thirty years. The usual surveys will be taken off the shelves, dusted, and re-re-represented. Catholics are leaving the Church. Catholics who remain aren’t attending Mass. Vocations are dwindling.
ABC correspondent Cokie Roberts appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to tout Pope Benedict's views on illegal immigration and rail against the illegals who are "discriminated" against. Roberts, who rode with President Bush as he drove to meet the Pope and kick off the pontiff's American tour, played up the Pope's supposed opposition to U.S. immigration policy. She asserted, "These, you know, the people who are being discriminated against-- And the Pope has said that he's fearful that there's a xenophobia going on in America."
Continuing to blithely frame the issue as one of bigotry against illegals, Roberts continued, "And the people who are being discriminated against, the President says he doesn't think it's because they're Catholic, but they are Catholic and they're being discriminated against." Earlier in the segment, GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo continued the theme and told viewers, "More frank talk is expected from Il Papa regarding immigration. He thinks the U.S. needs to be more immigration friendly." Of course, Cuomo and Roberts actually left out a key part of the Pope's message on immigration.