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.
Newsweek’s loathing of Sarah Palin comes through loud and clear in the September 29 issue, which awards most of four pages to atheist author Sam Harris to attack her religious "ignorance" and dismiss her as "a beauty queen/sports reporter who stumbled into small-town politics, and who is now on the verge of stumbling into, or upon, world history." (Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson defended Palin’s background in a sidebar.) Newsweek’s headline was blunt: "When Atheists Attack: A noted provocateur rips Sarah Palin—and defends elitism." The highlighted quote is "The joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance – it’s what’s so unnerving about this pick." That shortens the actual quote, in which Harris claims Palin supporters "celebrate" her ignorance.
It’s hard to escape the idea that Harris is speaking for the vast majority of the Newsweek editorial staff as he ripped Palin as the McCain campaign’s "Rapture-ready extremist" being led around like a "pet pony." (People who think the media were sexist toward Hillary probably can't find her described as a "pet pony.") Picking up where the passage starts that Newsweek liked best, Harris mocks Palin with an imaginary Charlie Gibson interview:
Let's ask again: Where is the national media? The sex abuse scandals at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) continue to grow. Just since May of this year:
A high school athletic coach was charged with 12 felony counts of sexually assaulting an underage girl, including "five counts of sexual penetration with a foreign object while the victim was unconscious and one count of possession of child pornography." "[P]olice said they believe there may be other victims." The man was also a special education assistant (link).
A high school principal was arrested for child pornography on his home computer. Authorities also discovered that he "had posed as a 12-year-old girl in an online chat room and engaged in sexually explicit talk."
A high school teacher pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months in jail for having sex with a minor. County deputies found the teacher and the underage female student in the back of a car in a parking lot.
Well, leave it to Pat Oliphant, political cartoonist of the Washington Post, to make fun of both God and Sarah Palin at the same time, eh? Back on September 9, with his Tuesday comic, Oliphant featured a God that curses and portrays Sarah Palin speaking in gibberish as if she were "speaking in tongues" because she is supposedly a crazy Pentecostal. Oliphant apparently isn't aware she left the Pentecostal Church six years ago? I'm sorry missed this one back on the 9th, but it is no less outrageous now than it was then.
Take a gander at this disgusting display of anti-religious blather:
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann charged that the Republican Party, which he referred to as the "Grand Old Terrorism Party," is engaging in "terrorism" against Americans by distributing DVD copies of an anti-terrorism film, which Olbermann referred to as "neocon pornography." The film in question, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," analyzes the threat of radical Islam and shines a light on the antisemitic, anti-West propaganda that many children are subjected to in some schools in predominantly Muslim countries, and the media that are tolerant of this kind of radical message in these countries. Even though the film opens with an on-screen disclaimer emphasizing that "most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror," and that "this is not a film about them," Olbermann portrayed the film as a "hate DVD." Olbermann: "[Republicans] are polluting the nation with more neocon pornography today. ... The disk is of a lunatic fringe, right-wing film ... In it, scenes of Muslim children are intercut with Nazi rallies. The organization behind the hate DVD has endorsed Senator McCain."
Notably, just a month ago, Olbermann accused "neocons" of engaging in a conspiracy to ignite a new Cold War with Russia, as he theorized that they "may think terrorism is dead, at least as far as its usefulness as a weapon to frighten Americans, and they've decided to foment the return of an oldie but a goodie, that threat from those godless commu-, I'm sorry, that threat from those czarist Russians."
An affinity for "strap on devices," "swallowing instead of spitting" and a preference for anal sex are some of the key elements San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford uses to identify what makes an "elitist." Loathing the Bible is on the list too.
Morford, whose columns regularly trash conservatives and Christians, weighed in on dumb American kids last October, and trashed evangelicals with the following line: "and if you think the hordes of easily terrified, mindless fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemmings have been bad for the soul of this country, just wait." His September 12 column, ‘Are You an Elitist? 18 Revealing Ways to Know for Sure' makes that attack look like playground fun.
New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick reported on Tuesday that more Catholic Democrats and Hillary voters he studied in Scranton, Pennsylvania -- much touted as the scene of the Irish-Catholic upbringing of Joe Biden -- were leaning McCain after Catholic Democrats like Biden and Nancy Pelosi have been scolded by Catholic bishops for their proclamations about abortion on television. But Kirkpatrick tried to elide the issue of how abortion is a defining issue in Catholic teaching, while the other issues liberals tout are less important and doctrinal. Kirkpatrick began the story of young Matthew Figured, now moved to supporting McCain:
He had watched progressive Catholics work with the Democratic Party over the last four years to remind the faithful of the party's support for Catholic teaching on the Iraq war, immigration, health care and even reducing abortion rates.
But then his local bishop plunged into the fray, barring Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, from receiving communion in the area because of his support for abortion rights.
But, incredibly, on today's Meet the Press Tom Brokaw used Brazile's line to confront Rudy Giuliani over comments in his GOP convention speech about Obama's community organizing. Brokaw went so far as to display a button [screencap after jump] bearing the phrase. The MTP host might just as well have been wearing it.
In yet another case of Palin Derangement Syndrom from liberal feminists in the media, PBS "To the Contrary" host Bonnie Erbe leveled a low blow by comparing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) to the radical Islamic regime that harbored al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
When asked if she believed she was "sending [her] son on a task that is from God," Palin said:
I don't know if the task is from God, Charlie. What I know is that my son has made a decision. I am so proud of his independent and strong decision he has made, what he decided to do and serving for the right reasons and serving something greater than himself and not choosing a real easy path where he could be more comfortable and certainly safer.
Barack Obama's running mate could use a bit of remedial education on both biology and Catholic teaching. Biden joins House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in being publicly corrected by Catholic clergy for misrepresenting the teachings of the Catholic Church on human life before the media.
The Associated Press has the story (excerpted below via FoxNews.com). The AP also covered the Pelosi row as well as Fox News, the Washington Post, and Reuters. Some outlets, such as CNN, presented a virtual blackout on the Pelosi story, as my colleague Matthew Balan noted on August 27.
In its September 10 story, the AP news wire noted that Cardinal Justin Rigali and Bishop William Lori corrected Biden's September 7 statement on "Meet the Press" that he could not impose his personal conviction that life begins at conception upon others via his role as a legislator (emphasis mine):
Asked on the program about when life begins, Biden said: "Look, I know when it begins for me. It's a personal and private issue. For me, as a Roman Catholic, I am prepared to accept the teachings in my church."
Monday night featured MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow finding fault with Sarah Palin's religious beliefs and some of the teachings of her former church in Wasilla, Alaska, as the two harped on a speech the Alaska governor delivered at the Wasilla Assembly of God last June.
On the first episode of her new television program, the "Rachel Maddow Show," the eponymous host misinterpreted Palin's request that church members pray for American troops, as the Alaska governor expressed her hope that the Iraq war is part of "God's plan," with the MSNBC host claiming that Palin was "asserting" that the war factually is "God's plan."
Maddow claimed that Palin "said that the commander-in-chief for our side in the Iraq War is a mighty general who's initials are G-O-D." On Countdown, Olbermann and Maddow took exception with Palin's account of a minister who prayed that she would be successful in her political life as they mocked the concept of praying in the hopes that prayers might be answered. Olbermann referred to Palin as "Elmer Gantry" and "Amy Semple McHockey Mom."
As everyone knows, conservatives are a distinctly disagreeable bunch. Mean-spirited knuckle-draggers, pretty much. It's therefore a shock to come across one who's actually likeable. At least if you're Chris Matthews.
Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker, a guest on this evening's Hardball, observed that the Obama campaign hasn't quite decided how to go after Sarah Palin. The first line of attack was on the experience issue, but "now they're saying, OK, let's define her as a right-winger. You know, we'll talk about her views on creationism and some of these other extreme views." That elicited this from the Hardball host.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: She's got a lot of--they are pretty far over. For a person that seems very likeable and mellow, she doesn't look like a political zealot.
The media's ham-handed attempts at grasping and accurately reporting religious belief are have only been magnified recently in light of the MSM's obsession with Gov. Sarah Palin's prior attendance at Pentecostal churches.
Some Pentecostals from Assembly of God also believe in "faith healing" and the "end times" -- a violent upheaval that they believe will deliver Jesus Christ's second coming.
"Our basic belief is that God is God and he knows where history is going and he has a purposeful plan and within the middle of that plan we live in an environment in our world where certain events would take place," says McGraw. "Sarah wasn't taught to look for one particular sign -- a cataclysmic sign. She knew as every Christian does ... that God is sovereign and he is in control."
The language above seems to paint Pentecostals as on the fringe of Christianity, and Kaye's use of dismissive quote marks for "faith healing" and "end times" helps to communicate that to the reader. But the concept of the end times is not a wacky, outside-the-mainstream of Christianity belief. It's essential to the eschatology of all orthodox Christian denominations and rooted in Christian Scripture (from Theopedia.com):
"Palin's Church Promotes Conversion of Gays," blares the headline for a September 7 Associated Press article noting that the Alaska governor's home church is supporting Focus on the Family's "Love Won Out" conference.
Of course as with much of the media's reporting on religion, AP's article is weighed in the balance and found lacking. It's downright misleading and factually inaccurate, betraying a complete ignorance of evangelical Christian theology (emphasis mine):
Gov. Sarah Palin's church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.
"You'll be encouraged by the power of God's love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality," according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed for about six years.
Let's back up a minute. That quote in the Wasilla Bible Church bulletin is taken from the Web site for Focus on the Family's Love Won Out conferences. But does the conference really "[promise] to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer"? Far from it.
The Associated Press takes the attacks against Sarah Palin to the next level by saying that in her released bio Palin's religion was "obscured." The AP is suggesting that Palin's ostensibly secret religion is really Pentecostalism which, they note, is a sect that is "derided by outsiders and Bible-believers alike." So, the AP is saying here that the McCain campaign is trying to cover up Palin's past because they must somehow know that her real religion is a cult or some wacko, fringe sect.
Sarah Palin often identifies herself simply as Christian... Yet John McCain's running mate has deep roots in Pentecostalism, a spirit-filled Christian tradition that is one of the fastest growing in the world. It's often derided by outsiders and Bible-believers alike.
But for all of the AP's grave warnings about what it obviously considers wacky Pentecostalism, Palin and her hard working, middle class family have for the last 6 years belonged to the Wasilla Bible Church which is not a Pentecostal Church but describes itself as an independent evangelical church. So, even if she were raised in the Pentecostal Church -- and even if we were to be alarmed at this -- she left it behind 6 years ago. So, where is the "obscuring," where is the secretive past?
In a Newsweek Web exclusive, Lisa Miller and Amanda Coyne set out to find something juicy about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's house of worship, Wasilla Bible Church. But finding a "staid" worship environment that "steer[s] clear of politics" and whose main attraction is Biblical preaching, they opted to focus on where the governor used to worship regularly years ago, an Assemblies of God church:
Pentecostalism is one of the fastest growing branches of Christianity in the world, and the Assemblies of God is one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the country, claiming 1.6 million members. Pentecostals are generally characterized by a strict adherence to moral codes--no tobacco, no alcohol, no social dancing, no sex outside of marriage--and by their belief that the Holy Spirit bestows upon some the gift of "speaking in tongues," a reference to Acts 2: "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues." A spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign has said that Palin attends many churches and does not consider herself to be Pentecostal.
I think I've got it now. These are the MSM rules when dealing with the personal lives of national candidates and/or members of their family:
Given the chance to publicly embarrass and humiliate a Republican candidate's 17 year old daughter, do it.
If it's a moralizing former Democratic candidate for president, well, leave that to the National Enquirer.
Today, to head off the many tawdry rumors being passed back and forth between the Daily Kos diarists and their MSM fellow travelers, the McCain camp announced that Governor Sarah Palin's 17 year old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant.
Rarely do the media put their institutional political bias on public display, but this past weekend, America's news industry titans left no doubt that they're fully behind one of the nation's most radical cultural and political movements.
ABC, AP, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the corporate owners of USA Today, the Miami Herald, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Sacramento Bee, The Dallas Morning News and many other newspapers, all spent thousands of dollars sponsoring the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association convention in Washington, D.C. Many journalists from these Big Media mainstays attended or spoke at the convention.
In the name of "diversity," all the organizations listed above ran recruiting booths, as did NPR. Thus, the nation's major news providers demonstrated that they have bought into the central proposition of homosexual activists: that people engaging in homosexuality or bisexuality, along with transsexuals, are a historically oppressed minority group deserving the same preferential treatment and legal protections that society provides to ethnic minorities and women.
CNN placed a total news blackout on Nancy Pelosi’s misrepresentation of Catholic teaching and history on abortion on Sunday’s Meet the Press and the subsequent reaction from several prominent Catholic bishops and from pro-life politicians. The news network did not mention the story at all between Sunday morning, when Pelosi made her remarks, and early Wednesday evening. This contrasts with major media outlets such as AP, Reuters, The Washington Post, and Fox News picking up on the controversy, not to mention the conservative blogosphere and talk radio.
Tuesday’s Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC highlighted recent criticisms from Catholic Church leaders toward Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her recent claims that "the Doctors of the [Catholic] Church have not been able to make that definition" of whether human life begins at conception. Appearing on Sunday’s Meet the Press on NBC, when host Tom Brokaw turned to the abortion issue and asked her when she believes human life begins, Pelosi responded: "I would say that, as an ardent practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time, and what I know is, over the centuries, the Doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition."