The plot surrounding Father Jay Scott Newman's admonishment to Barack Obama-supporting parishoners has thickened.
On Friday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted news that Fr. Newman, a Catholic priest and pastor at St. Mary's Church in Greenville, South Carolina, had informed parishoners who voted for Barack Obama in full knowledge of the Illinois Senator's aggressively proabortion positions that they "should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance."
This is not a controversial position, but rather, as shown at BizzyBlog earlier today, bedrock Catholic teaching, to the point where if you vote for a known proabortion presidential candidate or any other candidate in a position to meaningfully influence the law and do not repent, you're not a legitimate practicing Catholic. Period.
Well, it turns out that Father Newman originally had the full support of Monsignor Martin T. Laughlin, the acting administrator of the Diocese of Charleston, which currently does not have a bishop. But two days later, Msgr. Laughlin reprimanded Fr. Newman in what appeared to be fairly harsh terms (they really weren't; I'll get to that).
Frank Rich has apparently figured out that after January 20, it's not going to be as much fun for him. True, the Times columnist will surely disinter W as necessary to explain away Obama's missteps. But the buck for whatever post-inauguration problems the country faces will land ever more resoundingly on the new president's desk.
And so, like a vaudevillian tapping as fast as he can while anticipating the hook, Rich seems determined to spend these last few weeks of the Bush administration dancing on GOP graves and luxuriating in Republicans' perceived pain. You might say Frank is making hatred while the sun shines.
As we discussed last week in Have Fun For Now, Frank, Rich's immediate post-election column was one long poke in the Republican eye. The Timester is back at it again this morning, outdoing himself in sheer vitriol as he pour buckets of salt, generously seasoned with schadenfreude, into Republican wounds.
CBS News has found a Greenville, S.C., Roman Catholic priest who has warned any and all of his Obama-voting parishioners to repent of voting for the Illinois Democrat before taking Communion, owing to the president-elect's "stance on abortion."
Yet in reporting the November 14 story on its Web site, CBS News failed to ever mention by name the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), the signing of which Obama famously declared would be a top priority in his presidency.
Why wasn't there more of this before the election?
The headline at a Greenville, SC News story carried at USA Today says, "Priest urges penance for Obama voters."
Father Jay Scott Newman is actually demanding it of those who would claim to be faithful Catholics. In the process, he is also stating longstanding Church policy on abortion that has largely been absent from Sunday pre-election homilies at Catholic churches for at least a half-dozen presidential election cycles -- policy that Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and other politicians who claim to be Catholic have long ignored (bolds are mine):
On his November 10 Huffington Post, Nicholas Graham and nearly every commenter thereafter, purposefully distorted what Governor Palin said about prayer and the 2012 presidential race. The universal misconstruction of Palin's comments was that she was "praying to become president" in 2012 and that somehow God was speaking directly to her. But reality is she did not say that at all.
Graham offhandedly claimed that Palin said that she was waiting "for a sign from God" as to whether she would run in 2012. Further distorting her comments, he claimed she was "confident God would show the way to the White House." But, once again, she said neither of these things. In fact, what she actually said is rhetoric that is pretty much in accord with what even elected presidents have said at one time or another.
Unfortunately, we have arrived at a time when the default position for Democrats as a party is to despise religion even if individually they consider themselves religious. They consider any expression of religious sentiment whatsoever to be an example of "extremism," and "bigotry" against others. Well, at least the second any Republican expresses a religious sentiment, that is. When anyone from their side does it, they wink, nod and assume that their politician is just lying and merely trying to get elected and doesn't really mean it -- which is still an expression of a hatred for religion when all is said and done.
Using anxiety over the economic crisis as a hook, CBS twice plugged his appearance as a chance to hear from "one of the pioneers of spirituality and personal development of our time." While Chopra babbled on with very non-Christian concepts about how Heaven is the "creative part inside you," and how we have to adjust capitalism to "nurture the ecosystem," anchor Harry Smith didn’t find anything controversial in his loathing for traditional Christianity or Catholicism.
In February, Chopra came out with a book called The Third Jesus, and in a Reuters report, he denounced present-day Christianity as hateful and divisive and political, and ultimately dismissed it as "inanity of the utmost extreme." CBS was too busy touting its "pioneer of spirituality" to find this controversy:
In her November 12 article, Washington Post staffer Jacqueline L. Salmon reported on how Catholic bishops are describing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) as "an attack on the church." Yet it's not so much an attack on the church, but an attack on the sanctity of human life and the provision of hospital care that the Catholic bishops are worried about.
Nonetheless, the headline wording choice -- "Bishops Call Obama-Supported Abortion Rights Bill a Threat to Catholic Church" -- and Salmon's lead paragraph practically painted the Catholic bishops' dispute as, well, parochial.
Salmon waited until 10 paragraphs into the 18-paragraph article to cite one bishop's concern about the future of Catholic medicine in America:
After airing an interview clip of Sarah Palin telling Fox News' Greta Van Susteren that she was looking for guidance from God about running for national office again, an appalled Chris Matthews called it "troubling," when he let loose this rant on Tuesday's "Hardball":
Is, is this commentary about theocracy and going to God for approval? We've been through that with President Bush who said he, "didn't take advice from his father, he got it from another father." And we've been through this sort of Joan of Arc period. Are we gonna get another piece of this where God's leading candidates to run for president? I mean that sort of keeps us out of the conversation doesn't it? I mean, seriously, I mean God is telling her to run? And she's saying it openly on a secular television show? This isn't the religious hour....Talking about God, in a political setting is troubling to a lot of people. If you're talking about a big tent, this looks more like the church tent, not the big tent.
Then a little later in the program, Matthews returned to Palin's expressions of faith and noted that kind of talk can be,"dangerous." And when his guest, former Dick Cheney aide Ron Christie, said he was tired of the media picking on Palin when, in fact, Joe Biden made a lot of blunders, Matthews let this howler fly: "Joe Biden took more hits from the media than anybody for the last 30 years!"
The following exchanges occurred on the November 11 edition of "Hardball":
A lot of liberal media bias boils down to word choice and the loaded connotations they can bring in service of a liberal slant. The headline for a November 11 Baltimore Sun story about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was no different.
"Bishop denounces U.S. abortion rights" read the loaded headline, which evokes in readers the sense of a stern cleric inveighing against a "woman's right to choose" rather than concerned clergy worried about the loss of life and trauma to pregnant mothers caused by abortion.
The article itself gave a more nuanced portrait than the stark headline announced, reporting that Francis Cardinal George expressed his concern in terms of the incoming Obama administration's record on "social justice" and "universal human rights":
Update/Related Blog: Brian Maloney has a great post at Radio Equalizer, noting that Barr is a liberal radio talk show host, and asking where the outrage is on the Left about her arguably racist rant.
Not content with stopping at her anti-Catholic, anti-Mormon, and anti-Semitic November 6 screed, comedian Roseanne Barr has decided to direct fire against African-Americans for voting in large numbers to pass Proposition 8, the ballot initiative in California which amends the Golden State's constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
In a November 10 post to her blog, Barr scolded the 70 percent of California's blacks who voted for Prop 8 that they have conspired to "destroy" the Constitution and have made "a mockery" of marriage.:
They showed themselves every inch as bigoted and ignorant as their white christian right wing counterpartners who voted for mccain-palin and bush-cheney
The Mormon and Catholic churches and Jewish synagogues should be forced to register with the IRS as political action committees because they have "crossed the line between church and state" and "hate our country" and want nothing less than the "complete overthrow of the us [sic] government."
So bellows leftist comedian Roseanne Barr in a November 6 blog post, citing support for Proposition 8, conservative sexual ethics, and support for the state of Israel as her reasons respectively.
First and foremost Barr flamed against the Mormon church in a post urging her readers to rally in protest outside the Mormon temple in Los Angeles:
Seven days before America elects a new leadership team,Newsweek is making a last-ditch attempt to portray GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin as a religious nut.
In her article "Jesus and Witches," Newsweek Religion Editor Lisa Miller suggests Palin believes in witchcraft, thinks the world is coming to a fiery end in her lifetime, and may have a "special sense of destiny" fueled by her "apocalyptic theology" and Alaskan "Last Frontier identity." Miller even hints Palin may be anti-Semitic.
Having held their peace long enough, or perhaps being longsuffering in abuse, Christianity Today (CT) released an editorial today addressing the media's penchant for misunderstanding Gov. Sarah Palin's evangelical Christian faith.
NewsBusters has been tracking the media's cluelessness and biases on that front since at least early September.
In an October 28 posting to their Web site, Christianity Today's editors tackled how the media misconstrue evangelical views on two matters: teenage daughter Bristol Palin's unwed pregnancy and how the media insist evangelicals view the role of women in secular society, the family, and the church (emphases mine):
In an October 22 article, Los Angeles Times staffer Jessica Garrison found "Black clergy both for and against gay marriage speak[ing] out" on the matter of California Proposition 8. The ballot initiative would enshrine in the Golden State's constitution the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
By the close of her article, Garrison found space not only to suggest that black Christians voting for Prop 8 were intolerant of homosexuals, but to hint that their views on homosexuality do a disservice to African-Americans by engendering a stereotype that they are more "homophobic" than Americans at-large (emphasis mine):
African American voters could play a crucial role in the fight over same-sex marriage. Though they make up only about 6% of the electorate in California, they are expected to vote in record numbers this election because of Barack Obama's presence on the ballot.
Can you spot the mistake? It's in this story about parishes and dioceses that have split from the Episcopal Church since the ordination of a practicing homosexual as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003:
"They say the Episcopal leadership defines Scripture on modern rather than eternal standards, and they take exception to the ordination of female clergy, the full acceptance of gays and lesbians and what they see as reduced importance in the role of Jesus for a believer's redemption."
But the indisputable problem with the story, I think involves the claim that "they" (breakaway Episcopalians) "take exception to the ordination of female clergy." That will come as a surprise to the ordained Episcopal women who have left the Episcopal Church in the past five years to protest its policies.
On Sunday, October 12, CBS wrapped up its "Evening News" with the apparently charming scoop that Sister Cecilia Gaudette, a 106-year-old Catholic nun living in Rome, would cast her first presidential ballot since 1952...for Barack Obama. That’s one more evening-news story than CBS has devoted to Obama’s radical legislative record on abortion.
Try this on for size: ABC, CBS, and NBC together have unloaded more than a thousand stories on Obama’s presidential campaign, and we’re still waiting for the first broadcast network TV story devoted to examining Obama’s abortion record.
CBS’s man in Rome, Allen Pizzey, packaged his story without the slightest interest into inquiring as to why this Catholic nun would vote for a candidate who is clearly the nation’s fervent advocate of abortion. Instead, Pizzey chose to...ooze. "She has a simple, old-fashioned standard for politicians," Pizzey proclaimed, before giving the good nun the opportunity for her on-air national endorsement of Barack Obama: "A good straight man; good private life, honest and politically able to govern, of course."
Patrick Healy's "Political Memo" today in the New York Times portrays Sarah and Todd Palin as pro-choice by misreporting what the Alaska governor said recently about when she was pregnant with son Trig. Here's how Healy reported remarks Palin made Saturday during a campaign rally in Johnstown, PA:
Kathy Seals, a Republican voter who attended the Richmond event, said she admired Ms. Palin for “unabashedly speaking the truth, especially about life and the choices she made about her baby, Trig, and with her daughter.” Ms. Palin’s infant son, who has Down syndrome, is a frequent presence in his mother’s left arm as she shakes hands with supporters and moves from event to event.
Her references to her son are the most personal part of her speech, as she describes being scared when she first learned that the baby would have special needs. She and her husband, Todd, talked, prayed, reflected and ultimately decided to have the child.
Perhaps it's a bit much too expect from a blog that once dismissively her as a "Crazed, Christ-Loving Re-Virgin," but Gawker sure did take long enough to correct its reporting that attributed fake SAT scores in an anti-Sarah Palin photoshop to be those of blogger and Catholic author Dawn Eden. Last Friday the electronic gossip rag posted the photoshop and asked readers to judge for themselves if it was a fake or not.
In an early morning October 14 post at her Dawn Patrol blog, Eden noted that while Gawker corrected the record in the body of its October 13 blog, a misleading headline remained that insisted that "Sarah Palin's SAT Scores Actually Belong to Born-Again Virgin Dawn Eden." In truth, Eden's scores had been altered (view her actual SAT scores, available online here).
Writing at 12:30 a.m. today, Eden noted that the Gawker contributors that had the authority to change the headline had not yet done so:
For the third time in less than six months, Newsweek religion reporter Lisa Miller has informed the world that Kirbyjon Caldwell, an African-American pastor from Texas who formerly supported President George W. Bush, has “given himself heart and soul” to Democratic nominee Barack Obama.
Miller, whose latest Caldwell feature is a three-page spread in the current issue of Newsweek, writes "last summer he aligned himself with a man who he believes better represents the Christian ethics and American values he preaches." Miller wrote effectively the same story about Caldwell in June and July of this year, following closely on the heels of Obama’s break with his former pastor Jeremiah Wright at the end of May. The article in June, "His Mobile Ministry," prominently featured Caldwell as one of many pastors who were part of a telephone prayer ministry for Obama. The July article "Finding his Faith" was about Obama’s search for religion. In the third article, Miller describes Caldwell as a former Bush supporter who, "when he talks about Obama, he can barely keep the emotion out of his voice."
Taxpayer-subsidized journalist Ray Suarez (pictured at right) thinks concerns over Barack Obama's liberalism are transparent proxies for something more sinister: racism. What's more, the PBS "NewsHour" reporter suggested that McCain running mate Gov. Sarah Palin is the campaign's point woman charged with "pil[ing] on the doubt" about Obama's fitness for office.
Time magazine wonders if Sarah Palin has "a Pentecostal problem," but a closer look at Pentecostalism in America finds that while Time magazine may have a problem with Pentecostalism, America certainly doesn't, and there's no reason it should be a problem for Palin the way the race-baiting "G-D America" rantings of Rev. Jeremiah Wright were for Barack Obama.
Time does a fairly good job explaining the Pentecostal wing of American and global Christianity, though it gets some things wrong. (For example, many non-Pentecostal Christians also believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, though differ in degrees on how it is manifested in the life of the believer. There are many members and leaders, though not all, within the very conservative and decidedly not-Pentecostal Churches of Christ who believe in the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer, for example.)
A couple days ago I had a chat with a friend - a left wing socialist Obama-supporter friend - who warned that Palin's past attendance at an Assemblies of God church would scare off voters the same as Barack Obama's membership in Trinity United Church of Christ became so controversial thanks to the racist anti-American rantings of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
With Virginia as a battleground state in the 2008 election and given Democrat Barack Obama's damaging gaffe earlier this year about rural voters clinging "to guns or religion", a new gaffe by another Democrat should be worthy of media attention. It remains to be seen if the mainstream media will even notice. (h/t Reformed Chicks Blabbing)
Running to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Republican John Warner, former Gov. Mark Warner (no relation) has a healthy lead in recent polls and the admiration of a pliant media. Yet an audio recording of Warner at a Democratic Party gathering caught the candidate disparaging gun owners, home schoolers, and religious conservatives as "threatening to what it means to be an American."
Republican opponent and former Gov. Jim Gilmore has a campaign ad (embedded below the fold) that features the audio:
Liberal bias found its way into the comic strips on Sunday. "You Can With Beakman & Jax" is an educational strip that runs weekly and features answers to various science questions. The text heavy comic, which has 52 million readers and is syndicated in papers such as the Washington Post, took a shot at both religion and global warming skeptics in the October 5 edition.
Responding to question about how erasers remove pencil marks, strip writer/artist Jok Church cited an 18th century reverend, Joseph Priestley, who discovered that tree sap that could rub away pencil marks. Church wrote, "Back in the 18th century, Priestley was a reverend searching for proof in the natural world as a way of proving his religion. That meant he already knew what he wanted to prove and gathered evidence to support that belief. This is also how some folks now fight against ideas such as global warming."
The San Francisco Bay Times wrote about Church, whose comic was also the basis for the TLC program "Beakman's World," on June 26, 2008. According to writer Tom W. Kelly, "As a gay man and activist, he brings both a sensitivity free of gender pressure to each comic — 'I like to think of myself as an old-time feminist, the kind that did not say person-hole cover' — as well as an appreciation for the universe of possibilities for inquiring minds."
When interviewed by Eyeblast.tv last month, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that YouTube, the video-sharing site owned by his company, is "pretty serious" about removing the "strange" videos that keep popping up on the site, especially videos "that can be used to incite bad outcomes." Apparently videos designed to incite Catholics don't fall into that category.
A YouTube user who goes by the moniker "fsmdude" has posted more than 30 videos under the title "Eucharist Desecration." Each video features an attack on a symbol that Catholics consider sacred -- by blow gun, nail gun, boiling, sword and cigarette in a few recent episodes.
The creator of the videos isn't subtle about his intent. He was angered by reports of a college student allegedly receiving e-mail threats from "fanatical Catholics" after the student snatched a wafer at mass, so "fsmdude" decided to repeatedly profane the Eucharist on camera for all to see.
"Does Palin have explaining to do," Chicago Tribune religion blogger Manya Brachear asked in her post-vice presidential debate blog post. Here's how Brachear opened her October 3 entry at her "The Seeker" blog:
Pentecostals have called on the mainstream media to stop mocking their sister Sarah Palin. But when will the Republican vice-presidential candidate answer the questions that swirl every time a new church video surfaces on YouTube? Was Thursday's prime time debate yet another missed opportunity?
By contrast, a review of Brachear's blog entries dealing with Sen. Obama's controversial former pastor,Rev. Jeremiah Wright, show Brachear did not have similar concerns with Obama's relationship with Wright. Indeed, back in June, Brachear asked, "Can a candidate worship in peace?" The Trib staffer was referring to the fact that Obama was leaving Trinity United Church of Christ, blaming media scrutiny for ruining the worship experience for himself and his fellow parishioners:
At the top of her second hour yesterday, talk show host Laura Ingraham offered a hilarious dramatic reading of Eve Ensler, the feminist-hack playwright of The Vagina Monologues, despairing over the ascent of Sarah Palin and how she doesn’t "much believe in thinking" and how she will destroy the beautiful polar bears, and how, if the McCain-Palin ticket wins, the "fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover." Hear the satirical audio at Laura’s Free Stuff page. The text, with all its anti-religious bigotry, is posted in a perfect spot: The Huffington Post, or as we've called it, Huffington's House of Horrors. Remember this when the media says all the invective in the campaign is coming from conservatives. Here’s a part:
Reporting on a decision by LifeWay Christian Stores to not promote a magazine whose cover story lauded female pastors, Chicago Tribune religion reporter Manya Brachear stacked the deck against the Christian bookseller, failing to speak to a staffer there for an explanation of a policy decision on a magazine the stores carry on their shelves. Yet if she had done her homework, Brachear may have found ample reason that the book store may have had to suspect the editorial judgment and theological conviction of the magazine in question.
In her September 25 post, "Gospel magazine too risque for rack," Brachear found room to quote the publisher of Gospel Today magazine and a female pastor featured in its September/October 2008 issue. Brachear snarked that the decision by Lifeway to put the magazine behind the counter was much like what convenience stores do to racy magazines:
Rev. Kimberly Ray never thought she'd be on the cover of a magazine considered too risque for the racks. But this month, Ray , the head of Angie Ray Ministries and Church on the Rock in Matteson, joined four other female pastors on the cover of Gospel Today magazine.
Because the article broke Southern Baptist rules about women in the pulpit, Lifeway Christian Bookstores, a chain run by the Southern Baptist Convention, pulled its glossy pages from the shelves and tucked it behind the counter where 7-Elevens normally stash Playboy and Penthouse.
Writing in today's Washington Post, ombudsman Deborah Howell focuses on political cartoons and how in many cases they can cause offense. I was struck in particular by a few of Howell's offhand admissions most. The first is that the top editorial cartoonists across the country are mostly liberal.
That concession came after Howell had briefly profiled Pat Oliphant, one of America's best-known cartoonists, who attracted controversy over a recent cartoon that ridiculed GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's Pentecostal faith and its belief in glossolalia, the ability to speak unknown languages in a moment of inspiration.
That is where the second admission comes into play. The Post, which has the ability to reprint any Oliphant cartoon as part of its deal with his syndicator, chose not to reprint the cartoon in its print edition even though it did so on its web site, something it did not do with the famous Mohammed cartoons:
When I was a kid there was a song we sang in Sunday School called, "Everybody Ought to Go to Sunday School." If I could find something to rhyme with "Associated Press reporters," I could probably write a new verse.
Reporting yet another story involving Gov. Sarah Palin's former church, the AP continued its attempts to paint Palin as a closet Pentecostal, as well as to hint that Pentecostals are wacky, far afield from the mainstream of Christian theology.
Anchorage-based AP reporter Garance Burke devoted a September 25 article to a newly surfaced YouTube video purportedly showing Palin being prayed over by a Kenyan preacher who asked God to protect Palin from all manner of evil, including witchcraft.
Burke went on to characterize the Pentecostal church Palin used to attend as simultaneously "conservative" in biblical teaching and yet outside orthodox Christian belief:
Virginia State Police chaplains can't invoke the name of Jesus Christ during department-sanctioned events.
But to the Associated Press and its reporter Bob Lewis, that's not the story. In all too typical traditional media fashion, and in what I believe is the wire service's first report on the controversy, Lewis decided that the real story is that Republican lawmakers are objecting to the ruling by the state's police superintendent, and to Governor Tim Kaine's agreement with it.
Before getting to what Lewis wrote, here is a local report on what has transpired, from Roanoke TV station WDBJ:
Six of 17 Virginia State Police Chaplains have resigned over a request they not reference Jesus Christ at public events.
Instead, they've been instructed by the Superintendent to offer non-denominational prayers, a decision made following a recent ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.