Pope Francis made waves on Wednesday when he said that atheists can do good; but some media headlines jumped on the chance to portray the new pontiff as bucking Church teaching.
Preaching on Christ’s words that “Whoever is not against us is for us,” Pope Francis emphasized that Christ died to redeem all men, “even atheists,” and insisted we can’t assume non-believers cannot do good. Such people can do good, he said, and “must,” because of “this commandment at heart: do good and avoid evil.”
While the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal this morning gave front-page coverage to yesterday's grisly beheading of a British serviceman on a London street in broad daylight, the New York Times placed their 20-paragraph story by London correspondent John F. Burns on page A7. Editors slapped on the headline, "'Barbaric' Attack in London Renews Fears of Terror Threat," with "barbaric" in scare quotes.
While the Post, Journal, and Times all ran quotes from one of the attackers as transcribed from a cell phone video filmed by a bystander, the Times curiously left out a portion of the rant where the attacker boasted, "We swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone."
Let me preface by saying that I'm not criticizing Bill Karins for his choice of words. Thank, uh, goodness, we live in a country where we're free to believe in any God or no God at all.
But I do see Karins' construction as a sign of the cultural times. The Morning Joe meteorologist today aired dramatic footage of the weatherman at the NBC affiliate in Wichita, Kansas ordering his colleagues to take shelter because a tornado was headed right at the station. Said Karins: "By the grace of whatever, God or whatever else, it lifted the second it got right to the TV station." You'll hear Karins hesitate and change course when he realizes he's put himself on a path to say "by the grace of God." View the video after the jump.
"Pope Francis canonized more than 800 Catholics in Saint Peter’s Square Sunday – the largest number to be elevated to sainthood at once in the history of the Catholic Church," Lavanga noted. But alas, "The choice of some of the new saints was also striking, touching on the already-fragile relationship between Christianity and Islam" because the "new saints included hundreds of laymen from the southern Italian port town of Otranto who were slain in the 15th century by the invading Ottoman Turkish army after they refused to convert to Islam."
The revelation that the IRS was being used by liberals as a political weapon against conservative groups like the Tea Party makes NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman's 2009 call on the tax agency to investigate Catholic bishops even more chilling.
During an MSNBC November 12, 2009 segment about Catholic bishops' opposition to abortion funding in ObamaCare, Snyderman joined NOW President Terry O'Neill in calling on the IRS to investigate them. (video after the jump)
On his HBO Real Time program, during a discussion about sexual assaults in our armed forces, the host said, "The reason why more rapists go into the military is the same reason why predators go into the Catholic Church: it’s a place they know they can get away with it" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Every few months since at least 2006, The New York Times takes time out from brow-beating Evangelicals to praise them for supporting amnesty for illegal aliens.
Most of the "Evangelicals" the Times cites are liberal frauds, far from "unlikely allies" in amnesty, as alleged. It is a specialty of the left to pose as something they're not in order to create the impression of a zeitgeist. The only one I haven't seen quoted yet is the ACLU's minister, Barry Lynn.
Thom Hartmann was talking about political violence on his show on Thursday. A poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University showed 44 percent of Republicans believed political revolution would be necessary. Hartmann remarked: “Do you think that the Republicans are gonna mount an armed revolution? Didn't they try that in 1860 or '61?”
Then he talked terrorism. Hartmann argued that Christianity and Islam each contains a "small cult" of persons prone to violent terrorism. One isn’t more dangerous than the other. Then he identified the real terrorists: companies that sell tobacco, coal, oil, and....fast food:
On Wednesday's The Last Word on MSNBC, host Lawrence O'Donnell used a recent commencement speech delivered by Mitt Romney to slam the former GOP presidential candidate as taking the "most dishonorable posture that was possible for an able-bodied man of Mitt Romney's age" for refusing to serve in the Vietnam War while supporting the existence of the draft.
But the MSNBC host also called it "honorable service" for young people to protest against the Vietnam War while refusing to serve. O'Donnell:
For the past several years, a regular tactic of the anti-Catholic group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has been to angrily accost and hassle prayerful Catholics as they attend Mass on Sunday.
While protesting various aspects of the Church's handling of the abuse scandals, SNAP members have provoked Sunday Mass goers to such an extent that judges have been forced to issue restraining orders and SNAP leaders have been subsequently arrested for violating such orders.
On Tuesday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes asserted that, since Republicans have taken control of the North Carolina state government, the state is moving toward becoming an "insane right-wing dystopia," and claimed that the GOP wants to engage in "voter suppression" in the state. Hayes:
While Tuesday's NBC Today began by heralding gay NBA player Jason Collins as "a towering figure on the court" and in "sports history," later in the 7 a.m. ET hour, correspondent Craig Melvin regarded NFL quarterback Tim Tebow as an athlete who's "play never really matched the hype" and someone who became "spoof-worthy" due to his "well-publicized faith."
A clip played of Late Night host Jimmy Fallon mocking Tebow with a parody song set to David Bowie's "Ground Control to Major Tom": "Tim Tebow to Jesus Christ." Melvin followed: "On the field, Tebow struggled. His only season as a Jet, lackluster....His football future is uncertain. But Tebow could still cash-in on his carefully cultivated persona."
Over the weekend, the Reuters news wire posted a factually inaccurate piece about female priesthood. On April 27, they said that a Kentucky woman, Rosemarie Smead, was ordained “as part of a dissident group operating outside of official Roman Catholic Church authority.” Mead is one of 150 women worldwide that are ordained priests within their congregations, as they’ve chosen not to “wait for the Roman Catholic Church.” Yet, the piece is riddled with inaccuracies, which wouldn’t be the first time Reuters got something demonstratively wrong.
Fresh off their George Soros obituary fiasco, Mary Wisniewski, who authored the piece, noted how 70 percent of U.S. Catholics support female priesthood, according to a NYT/CBS News poll. She added that:
On Monday's CBS This Morning, open liberal Gayle King ballyhooed a guest's fear that Americans might target Muslims in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. The news host thought it was "very important" to point out Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen's "concern about a backlash", and quoted Cullen's assertion that "these two don't speak for Muslims any more than I speak for overweight Irish-American guys who like to play hockey." [audio available here; video below the jump]
King didn't mention, however, that Cullen also took aim at the blame-America-first portion of the left in his Sunday column: "I was on an NPR show...and a caller...started talking about how we've got to look in the mirror and ask what we as Americans have done to create angry young men like this. I almost drove off the road. No one who lost their life or their limbs on Boylston Street last Monday did anything to create angry young men like this."
Everyone knows about the terrible backlash against America Muslims after 9-11, so it's understandable for Muslims to be worried about a post-Boston bombing backlash, right?
What? There was no major backlash against Muslims in 2001 or thereafter? American Jews suffer far more religion-based attacks than Muslims every year? Then why did Andrea Mitchell today exclaim that Muslims were "understandably" very worried about a backlash? View the video after the jump.
Joe Scarborough has dropped the f-word on live TV. But does he dare drop the I-word: Islam?
On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough to his credit rejected the maudlin pseudo-introspection of those [including panelist Richard Haass] who would somehow blame America's failure to integrate the Tsarnaev brothers into society for their decision to bomb the Boston Marathon. Scarborough didn't hesitate to call the Tsarnaevs "beasts." Instead of blaming society, Scarborough blamed the brothers' "evil" and "radicalism." But Scarborough stopped short of naming the radicalism for what it is: radical Islam. View the video after the jump.
Both the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News, the latter crediting wire service assistance, have reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the now deceased older brother accused of committing the Boston Marathon bombings, was thrown out of a service at the Islamic Society of Boston, the Cambridge mosque he attended, about three months ago. I wonder if anyone in the media will notice the terror-connected history of the ISB? It's right there for anyone who cares to look for it.
First, quoting the Times story by Andrew Tangel and Ashley Powers:
On Thursday's All Things Considered, NPR's Ari Shapiro couldn't be bothered to feature any of the religious leaders who spoke at the inter-faith service in honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, Instead, Shapiro zeroed in on the liberal politicians who spoke, playing five straight clips from President Obama's speech at the memorial event.
The correspondent also played up the President's speaking ability: "This was Obama the orator, a man who is famous for his ability to give a speech that, even in a time of mourning, can bring a crowd roaring to its feet."
ABC is really proud of its hoax "exclusive." Tuesday's Nightline and Wednesday's Good Morning America hyped an interview with the man who allegedly perpetrated an elaborate fiction, smearing Pastor Joel Osteen as renouncing his Christian faith. GMA's Elizabeth Vargas touted, "...The hoaxer is explaining why he did it in an exclusive interview with ABC's David Wright." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
George Stephanopoulos trumpeted, "Revealing overnight, why he went after Joel Osteen. An ABC news exclusive." The odd, sometimes bizarre answers of alleged hoaxer, Justin Tribble, didn't stop the network from airing the story. After David Wright wondered how "we know you're Justin and how do we know this is not a hoax," Tribble weirdly responded, "Well, you don't. No, I'm kidding. You do."
During the highly publicized exchange between Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham on gay marriage, O'Reilly made this statement: "There are Bible thumpers, and all they do is say, 'I object to gay marriage because God objects to it.' You don't win a policy debate in America with that."
Mollie Hemingway at Get Religion is amazed that people would say the most notable, memorable thing evangelical preacher Rick Warren ever did was give the invocation at President Obama's first Inauguration. Warren's son Matthew committed suicide on Saturday.
"Not having heard of Warren prior to 2008 means that you had to have been in utero (or high school, or something similar) during 2002 or whenever [The] Purpose Driven Life came out and became one of the best selling books in history," Hemingway wrote. But Warren accomplished that massive success inside the Christian world, and the secular national media, especially TV network news, wasn't really paying attention. Check out this snippet of our 2005 Special Report on network TV religion coverage:
Brooks Thistlethwaite was praising the Fox News anchor for "vigorously defending his statement that opponents of same-sex marriage needed to do more than 'thump the Bible' if they wanted to win the debate." "If you want to influence public policy from a faith perspective, thumping the Bible does not constitute a religious argument," the Chicago Theological Seminary professor pontificated. But as we at NewsBusters have documented repeatedly, Brooks Thistlethwaite repeatedly uses the Bible to justify her calls for liberal policy prescriptions on everything from gun control to tax hikes to gay marriage.
On Thursday, Mollie Hemingway of the GetReligion blog pointed out CBS's "major mistake" on the March 31, 2013 edition of Sunday Morning. On the Easter Sunday broadcast, Martha Teichner confused two biblical figures with the same name when she stated that "only one of the Gospels places Mary at the crucifixion, alongside the so-called 'beloved disciple' – possibly John the Baptist." Actually, the prophet was beheaded many months before Jesus' arrest.
During her report, Teichner also spotlighted the Broadway adaptation of Irish author Colm Toibin's novella "The Testament of Mary," which perverts the biblical Mary of Nazareth into an angry woman bitter over her son Jesus' execution and openly disdainful of His followers. [audio available here; video below the jump]
Last week, I gave 12 examples of how religious liberty has been assaulted in just the past two years in the U.S. Here are about two dozen more instances just for good measure, as reported by the Family Research Council, the office of Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., and various media outlets.
—The following public institutions recently have joined the growing ranks of those that have banned the use of the word "Easter" in order to diminish or eliminate references to religion: East Meadow School District in New York, Prospect Heights Public Library in Illinois, Heritage Elementary School in Alabama, Manhattan Beach Unified School District in California, Flat Rock Elementary School in South Carolina and West Shore School District in Pennsylvania.
The recent murders of local prosecutors in a north Texas county -- possibly at the hands of white supremacists -- was the news hook for MSNBC's The Cycle to bring Heidi Beirich of the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on to the April 2 program. In introducing the guest and justifying her expertise, co-host Ari Melber merely described the SPLC as "a group that documents that state of hate groups in America." [video follows page break; MP3 audio here]
It fell to token conservative co-host S.E. Cupp to remind viewers that SPLC leans to the left and has been criticized by conservatives for "smearing religious and far-right groups and ignoring far-left hate groups." "Shouldn't people be aware of your ideological biases before they take seriously [SPLC's] claims of who they should be afraid of?" Cupp argued. A bemused Beirich insisted she had to "dispute the notion of the question on its premise," adding that:
At the Weekly Standard's blog today, Daniel Halper relayed a pool reporter's notes from the Easter service President Barack Obama and his family attended this morning. The highlights from the Rev. Dr. Luis Leon's sermon" included the following statement: "It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right are always calling us back ... for blacks to be back in the back of the bus ... for women to be back in the kitchen ... for immigrants to be back on their side of the border."
As religious people are bludgeoned with secular views by America's media practically 24/7, it would be nice if they could be given a break on their holiest days.
George Stephanopoulos clearly doesn't feel that way for on Easter Sunday he invited an atheist on ABC's This Week to join a panel discussion about - wait for it! - religion (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Maybe we should take to ironically nicknaming Sally Quinn as "Scoop" for this: On March 27, in a column headlined "Does Ben Carson Have a Prayer?" the Washington Post On Faith editor attacked Dr. Ben Carson for his National Prayer Breakfast speech delivered on February 7. That's 48 days between the speech and Quinn's holding forth on why Carson, in her view, improperly politicized a characteristically apolitical prayer breakfast.
Of course, this is rich coming from Quinn because On Faith is chock full of columns by liberal Christians who contort Scripture to make political cases for more gun control, tax hikes, and same-sex marriage.