Shortly after 1:00 a.m. during MSNBC's election night coverage, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell ridiculously claimed that Democrats are more tolerant of Mormonism than Republicans and blamed the "Bible-thumping side of the Republican party," which he asserted is "where anti-Mormon feeling resides," for political analysts discussing Mitt Romney's Mormon religious beliefs, in spite of polls showing Republicans more inclined to accept a Mormon President than Democrats. O'Donnell:
Remember the good ol' days when folks in the media were fond of telling us that conservative evangelical Christians would exhibit anti-Mormon bigotry and fail to vote for Mitt Romney simply because of his religion?
Back in April, MSNBC's Martin Bashir charged Gov. Mitt Romney with being a liar, went on to quote Mormon doctrinal texts, and strongly hinted that the Republican presidential candidate was in danger of hellfire. In early December 2011, Bashir hinted at a similar pronouncement of anathema on GOP candidate Herman Cain.
But now with just five days left until the election, Bashir is infuriated by a TV ad cut by former Baptist minister and ex-governor Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) which simply reminds Christian voters that God is watching their vote and that their choices at the ballot box ring through to eternity. "Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire?" Huckabee asks in the spot. Bashir, no biblical illiterate he, erroneously took this to be a suggestion that Huckabee was suggesting the "unpardonable sin" was casting a vote for Obama. Both a review of the full context of the ad [embedded below the page break] and a basic understanding of the relevant biblical text Huckabee alludes to shows it's nothing of the sort. [MP3 audio of segment here; video excerpt of Bashir segment also follows page break]
Updated below | An election season mailer linked to Focus on the Family and sent out to evangelical Christian voters in Iowa unfairly quoted President Obama out of context, CNN's Political Tracker blog complained this morning.
Yet in Peter Hamby's blog post -- Anti-Obama mail piece: ‘We are no longer a Christian nation’ -- the CNN.com staffer glossed over the fact that the other charges waged in the mailer are spot-on about areas in which the president is sharply to the left of religious conservatives on abortion, same-sex marriage, and a religious exemption for the contraception mandate (emphasis mine; see mailer photo below page break):
NBC’s sitcom “The New Normal” isn’t just trying to remake society for the Gay Left. It’s trying to remake Christianity, which is to say, destroy it. For its October 22 episode “The Godparent Trap,” NBC ran promos with the gay character Brian in the confessional, and the priest sneering, “If you’re not going to take this seriously, I’m going to go back to playing Angry Birds.”
As the plot unfolds, we’re told Brian was raised Catholic, and as he sits in a pew and looks around at religious pictures, he cracks gay jokes in his mind. He sees the Apostles: “Twelve dudes sitting around gossiping and drinking wine. You call that the Last Supper? I call that a Tuesday night.”
Not content to restrict the ongoing firestorm surrounding Senate candidate Richard Mourdock to the media, CNN's Newsroom turned to liberal comedienne Tina Fey to bash the Indiana Republican some more this morning.
"Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock better watch out," CNN Newsroom anchor Carol Costello warned, teasing the story at the top of the program. "Tina Fey is coming after them. Why the comedian says their rape comments will make her lose her mind." [ video below, MP3 audio here ]
According to the PR “experts” in USA Today's rolodex, it’s downright unnatural that Chick-fil-A is a successful and thriving business. Who knew that so many people supported traditional marriage?
In a piece headlined “Surprise: PR nightmare didn’t damage Chick-fil-A,” Bruce Horovitz was shocked that the popular chicken chain’s markets share and awareness increased after President Dan Cathy told a religious publication his company was “guilty as charged” in supporting the biblical definition of marriage.
In her rush to condemn U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, liberal theologian Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite -- no stranger to criticism here on NewsBusters -- took the Indiana Republican's recent comments on abortion out of context and subsequently offered up readers a theology which, if followed to its logical conclusion, demeans the humanity and God-given dignity of persons living today who were conceived because of rape.
Pastors -- almost all of them conservative Christian ones -- who participated in "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" on October 7 are not free-speech crusaders but rather simply "rebels" against sensible U.S. tax policy, Yale law professor Adam Cohen complained in an October 16 TIME Ideas blog post. Cohen groused that The participants are trying to bait the IRS into coming after them so they can mount a legal challenge to the politics ban. So far, no luck, though they show no signs of quitting.
Cohen -- who once insisted the First Amendment's free speech guarantees are "vague"-- complained that pastors of tax-exempt churches issuing approval or condemnation of political candidates or legislation from the pulpit would in some way constitute a government subsidy of that political view. That's a popular view among liberals but it is a fundamentally-flawed premise that only makes sense if you believe that tax monies fundamentally BELONG to the government in the first place.
The book industry seems to be collapsing, at least that hallowed old paper-and-glue industry that promoted serious ideas. Even talk-radio and TV hosts are spending less time with authors. There are exceptions – but they won’t make you feel optimistic about books.
Exhibit A of today’s kind of author: Jenny McCarthy, the former Playboy centerfold who’s parlayed her nudie shots into a long list of TV gigs and six best-selling “humor”/advice books (which absolutely no one might guess were written by someone else). Her latest must be her lamest. It’s called “Bad Habits: Confessions of a Recovering Catholic.” She’s wearing a nun’s habit on the cover. Original, huh?
The hottest ticket on Broadway continues to be "The Book of Mormon," a musical that pokes fun at the Mormon faith in particular and Christianity in general. It is also full of profanity and blasphemy. If there was a show called "The Book of Muhammad," the Eugene O'Neill Theatre probably would have been burned down by now. New Yorkers are selective when picking their targets.
Now there's a new musical called "Scandalous," about a colorful, some would say corrupt, evangelist named Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of the Foursquare Church. In the early part of the 20th century, Aimee was more famous than any TV evangelist today. She combined a considerable amount of show business with an equal amount of religiosity and packed them in at her Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, which remains in operation today, long after her death.
In her October 9 column “Ryan v. Biden: the Catholic ‘Thrilla in Manila,’” Washington Post “She the People” columnist Melinda Henneberger made a common journalistic error when discussing the Catholic Church, introducing a false dichotomy between “liberal” Catholicism’s emphasis on social issues and “conservative” Catholicism’s emphasis on pro-life issues. Predictably, she came down hard on “conservative” Catholics and “Fox News bishops” for “unwittingly whittling away at their own influence with the increasingly secular Democratic party.” (And, needless to say, that’s the only influence that matters at The Washington Post.)
But the Catholic Church has not altered her moral teaching. It’s Democratic politicians that have changed and increasingly embraced policies directly opposed to Church teaching, such as same-sex marriage and abortion. Henneberger herself noted the Democrats' enthusiastic embrace of abortion at their convention just over a month ago.
But the media, so quick to report on a scrap that CBS reporter Allen Pizzey argued “challenges the very foundation of Christian thinking,” weren’t so eager to report on the mounting evidence that the scrap of papyrus was a forgery.
Matthew Archbold reported for the Cardinal Newman Society that actress Rosario Dawson was welcomed at Saint John’s University in New York to speak out for voter registration, even though the actress came to the Catholic college as a co-founder of the group Voto Latino. But the group itself clearly promotes feminist views at odds with church teaching.
Dawson’s group claims to be “nonpartisan,” but the website boasts, “If we are going to fight back against the assault on women we must be impolite. In fact, we must be downright vulgar and unreasonable in defense of our bodies, our health and our choices.”
Waiting to have sex until marriage? How 19th Century! According to liberal websites like “Jezebel” and “The Stir,” saving oneself for marriage is too old and out-dated for this “progressive” world we live in.
Cue outrage from liberal mouthpieces when Steven Crowder, a conservative commentator and Fox News contributor, published his testimony on why he remained celibate until marriage.
Corrected from earlier | Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel appeared on the September 27 Morning Joe to give viewers a preview of the latest issue of the magazine, the cover story of which is devoted to Mitt Romney's Mormon faith. At the tail end of the segment, teasing other articles in the issue, Stengel plugged Bobby Ghosh's interview with Mohammed Abdel Rahman, the son of Omar Abdel Rahman, the "blind sheikh" serving time in a federal prison for his role in aborted 1993 bombing plot targeting the World Trade Center.
"We have a great piece by Bobby Ghosh, who's been on here before about the rise of the Salafis, in the Middle East, they're the Tea Party of Muslim democracy, and that's a fantastic, insightful story as well," Stengel noted. Neither Joe Scarborough not co-host Willie Geist threw a penalty flag at Stengel's unnecessary roughness, comparing the Tea Party to radical advocates of stringent Sharia law. [MP3 audio here; video at bottom of post]
He's a liberal Catholic who thinks the Catholic Church needs to just give it up already with its silly fixation with defending the sanctity of life for the unborn. He also once compared the Church's bishops to Southern segregationists. So it should come as no surprise that Tim Padgett -- who is previously on record as dissenting from the Church on the celibate male priesthood -- should use the "Jesus wife" papyrus discovery as a fresh opportunity to attack the Church on the issue, working in a swipe at the Vatican for its rebuke of theologically-errant nuns for good measure.
Will the media notice this act of journalistic bravery? Alex Green, the student editor at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee, defied his own university and exposed the details behind the resignation of a professor who was arrested for "attempting to meet 'with a minor child'" at a gas station.
Green's story was spiked from The Triangle, the student newspaper at the Christian college. The school's president, Dr. Stephen Livesay wouldn't allow it to be published. The website Romenesko.com recounted what happened next: "Still, Green was determined to get the word out. He printed his story and a sidebar and distributed them on Monday." In an interview with the website, Green explained, "I placed them around campus and at the doors of dorm rooms and at public areas around the school."
While CNN's ratings continue to slump, reaching record lows, its hosts and anchors seem intent on alienating what few socially-conservative viewers they may have left. Morning talk shows like Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien generally prefer to have roundtable discussions with maybe one token conservative panelist while the rest of the gang predictably parrots liberal talking points and espouses left-of-center convictions on policy issues.
Take for example how televangelist and author Joel Osteen was treated during his Thursday morning appearance to promote his new book. Guru Deepak Chopra joined in on a conversation about the health and wellness of our mind, body, and soul. Chopra was completely ignored as soon as the topic transitioned to the matter of gay marriage. All attention was given to the pastor, who had the temerity to, as Christian pastors tend to do, stick to Biblical teachings on the matter. (audio available here; video below)
While the Innocence of Muslims is still being blamed for the riots and murders in the Middle East, the national news media has no problem running a speculative story that disrespects the teachings of the Christian faith. New "evidence" now suggests that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene after all, but the artifact in question dates back to the 4th century A.D.
This all began when Harvard historian Dr. Karen King received a tiny strip of papyrus from an anonymous collector. After translating the Coptic script thereon, she found two phrases, one which reads, "Jesus said to them my wife. Elsewhere on the paper it continues, "She will be able to be my disciple."
ABC and CBS News brought it up on Thursday evening, but could only afford to allot a few seconds of coverage. NBC Nightly News did not mention it at all. All three network morning news broadcasts devoted significant attention to the story, and predictably worked in references to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code novel.
Forget the Letters of Paul. It’s time for the Gospel of RuPaul, at least for the Huffington Post, which celebrated a drag queen take on faith. HuffPo's surrealist theology was fully displayed in a Sept. 16, 2012, article, titled “What I Learned About Drag Queens From the Gospel.”
Rev. Wil Gafney, an associate professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadephia, preached a truly crazy sermon to her congregation, which HuffPo found too good to pass up. Her sermon referred to transgender TV personalities such as RuPaul as theologians. “Drag queens like RuPaul, Sharon Needles and Latrice Royale are some of my favorite critical gender theorists and theologians,” she said.
Discussing the violent anti-American demonstrations erupting across the Middle East outside U.S. embassies in Arab capitals, MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson put a share of the blame on, well, "horrible" Americans.
It was the "demonization of a predictable minority," in this case Muslims, that was the spark that light the conflagration, Dyson argued on the September 14 edition of the noon Eastern program Now with Alex Wagner. "It's not as if, oh in America, we've resolved this with equanimity and grace," he added, seeking to conflate isolated incidents of hate speech against Muslims inside the United States with the violent response of the Arab street to an obscure low-budget YouTube video. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
Mike Barnicle has suggested that the Department of Justice consider prosecuting Florida pastor Terry Jones in the death of the American ambassador to Libya and deaths occurring during riots last year in Afghanistan. Hat tip readers Melody, Jonathan R., Ray R.
Barnicle made his suggestion on today's Morning Joe, during a discussion of the attacks on the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt and the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where the American ambassador died after an attack by a Libyan mob. Fellow panelist Donny Deutsch responded by saying he was "thinking the same thing" as Barnicle. View the video after the jump.
CNN's Anderson Cooper smacked the Romney campaign Monday night for alleged dishonesty. He claimed they were talking too much about social issues while saying the economy is their real focus.
"The question tonight, and not just from the opposition, have the Romney forces been moving away from dollars and cents and jobs, and shifting toward more red meat, hot-button culture war mode?" Cooper asked. "I mean what's up with the culture stuff suddenly?" he posed later. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
After offending religious Americans by appearing to boo God, the Democratic National Convention had the top ranking Catholic official in the country perform the closing Benediction Thursday night. Cardinal Timothy Dolan did the same for the Republicans last week in Tampa Bay, but those delegates didn’t seem to have a problem with a party platform that included God and Jerusalem.
The only networks respectful enough to show the prayer in its entirety without interruption was Fox News, Fox Business and C-SPAN. ABC, CNN, and PBS kept it in background while talking over it. MSNBC completely ignored it, cutting the audio feed to let their pundits share their opinions without distraction. CBS and NBC returned to local news affiliates as soon as he began.
During the first centuries of Christianity, Christians were thrown to lions in arenas to be jeered by mocking crowds. Today, Christian athletes face the taunts of a media strongly opposed to their faith.
No Christian athlete draws more media catcalls than New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow. CBSChicago.com writer Dan Bernstein dismissed Tebow as “little more than an affable simpleton” and slammed his fans as “lunatic-fringe cultists.” Columnist Rabbi Joshua Hammerman of The Jewish Week expressed his desire that Tebow’s Broncos would lose a playoff game because a Broncos victory would “buoy his faithful, and emboldened faithful can do insane things, like burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants.” Radio host Craig Carton was the latest to jump on the anti-Tebow bandwagon, calling him a “fraud” and complaining that he “clearly thinks he is Jesus” on his August 14 radio show.
In a rare moment of reluctant semi-journalism which didn't name names, the Politico's Reid Epstein, in reporting about the God-Jerusalem debacle at the Democratic Convention Wednesday night, buried the lede, waiting until his third paragraph to tell readers (belated HT to Weasel Zippers) that "While the campaign at first said Obama had seen the language prior to the convention, it later said he did not learn of the issue until Wednesday morning, when he became aware of seeing news coverage of the issue." (Sidebar: Does that mean Dear Leader watches the despised Fox News?)
Then Epstein just let the disclosure sit there with no additional follow-up. His story has what is in my view a deliberately "this is boring" headline ("Division over platform at DNC" ... zzz). However, it would appear that the folks over at the Associated Press got to Epstein's third paragraph, and went into full-keister-covering mode.
Well, it looks like we have a bit of evidence that, contrary to an assertion by a pair of Politico reporters, it's not the media elites who can "powerfully shape" the narrative coming out of party conventions (the issue in question there was how Mitt Romney's nomination acceptance speech would be spun).
After all, as Scott Whitlock at NewsBusters noted earlier today, the three major networks have totally ignored the omission of "God" in the Democratic Party's platform, and have only lightly covered the platform's failure to name Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Despite that, and therefore obviously because of center-right media pressure (and semi-sensible Dems sensing disastrous election fallout), those issues now are both like Prego spaghetti sauce -- i.e., they're in there. Associated Press reporters Julie Pace and Steve Peoples seemed a bit unhappy with this turn of events in the version of their dispatch which appeared shortly after 6 PM ET, and tried to pin the entire blame on Republicans:
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is a Catholic – but not a good enough Catholic in the eyes of the media. Writers, bloggers, and talking heads have hammered Ryan for his supposed “dissent” from Catholic teaching.
Journalists have falsely claimed that the bishops “rebuked” Ryan and called his budget “un-Christian.” Writers who usually scorn the Church and its hierarchy fretted that the bishops found Ryan’s budget “uncompassionate.”