The call of the minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was never meant to be a popular gig with the world. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you," Jesus taught his disciples (John 15:18-19, ESV).
So when I saw that the Washington National Cathedral's dean the Rev. Gary Hall was the subject of a puffy 29-paragraph profile by the Washington Post's Sally Quinn -- "A clergyman intent on engaging the masses"* -- it was safe to assume that Hall's views by heavily accommodating to the wider culture while throwing historic Christian teaching under the bus. Hall failed to disappoint, nor did Quinn, who naturally presented Hall as an engaging, thoughtful, and cool cleric who was a religious leader in tune with liberal urban Washingtonians.
You knew the warm fuzzies for Pope Francis couldn't last that long. While the media initially went gaga over Pope Francis, hoping beyond hope he was some liberal reformer who would open up the Catholic Church to all kinds of heterodoxy, the reality is slowly setting in. The first-ever Latin American pontiff is warm, genial, charismatic, and an excellent communicator with both the public and the press, but he's solidly conservative in doctrine, particularly the issue of biggest concern for the liberal media: sexual ethics.
The other day, it was TIME's Tim Padgett, blasting the pope over the Church's teaching on homosexuality. Today it's Vanity Fair contributing editor Janine di Giovanni, who penned an attack on Francis in a "world news" feature at the Daily Beast that was not tagged as commentary and headlined, "What About Women, Pope Francis?" Out of the gate, di Giovanni went after the bishop of Rome (emphasis mine):
During a panel discussion on Thursday's NBC Today about comments from Pope Francis on homosexuality, co-host Matt Lauer asked the group of usual liberal pundits if the Pontiff's remarks were a "watershed moment for gays in the Church" or "just a very minor shift." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Advertising executive Donny Deutsch cheered: "I think it was a watershed moment. I think we're seeing a moment in time from the Catholic Church, all across what's happening in this country with laws being passed, that the gay lifestyle is finally becoming like, 'Yeah, so what?'"
Never one to miss the chance to smear Christianity and push gay marriage, the Huffington Post is hyping a new edition of an old book proposing that the ancient Christian church held gay marriages.
A sensationalist HuffPo sidebar lead with the teaser: “Ancient Christians held gay marriages?” On the HuffPo’s Gay Voices page, the banner was emblazoned with the provocative suggestion: “ANCIENT I DO’S?” The sub headline made it sound as if the story were breaking news: “Historian’s claims spark controversy.”
The media is imagining a whole new Pope that it can hug and squeeze and calls its own. In its narrative, Pope Francis is a liberal modernizer, and everything he does sweeps that caveman Pope Benedict under the rug. See AP's Vatican reporter Nicole Winfield at the end of the pope's trip to Brazil: "The Francis Revolution is underway. Not everyone is pleased."
Catholics see the two popes as very similar in doctrine, if not in personality. But Winfield is going looking for traditionalist Catholics who are wailing and gnashing their teeth in defeat, for Francis is supposedly driving out the "poisonously homophobic culture" that surrounded the "dusty, doctrinaire" realm of Benedict. So much for AP's policy discouraging the use of "homophobia" in news stories!
Author Reza Aslan was disingenuous about his biases in his weekend interview with Fox News Channel's Lauren Green, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell told FNC's Shannon Bream on the July 31 edition of America Live. Aslan, as a Muslim, denies the divinity of Christ, and should have been straightforward about how his religious beliefs would necessarily color his view of Jesus, which he protests is purely a scholarly inquiry.
Besides proudly insisting he has no biases, Aslan got a number of basic things about Christ wrong, Bozell said, including the absurd claim that Jesus is never quoted in any biblical account as claiming divinity. Additionally, the MRC president noted, Aslan "also said, more than once, that he had a history degree in religion" when "in fact, he doesn't." [to watch the full segment, view the embedded video below the page break]
On Tuesday's All In show, MSNBC's Chris Hayes recalled that "my mouth opened" and declared that "I could not believe this was in the paper," as he recounted that liberal New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd raised questions about whether former Rep. Anthony Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, has been tolerant of her husband's behavior because of her Muslim upbringing.
Hayes recalled his bafflement during a segment devoted largely to attacking FNC's Sean Hannity and his guests for raising similar questions on his weekend special, Saving America. Notably, Rush Limbaugh was attacked on Monday's PoliticsNation by host Al Sharpton for similarly raising the topic.
Pope Francis is learning the hard way about the media’s predilection for hearing – and reporting – only what they want. First, they twisted his unremarkable restatement of Catholic doctrine on homosexuality into headlines like “POPE OK WITH GAYS.”
Now, journalists are angry about Francis’ unremarkable restatement of Catholic doctrine refuting liberal calls for women priests, and ignoring what Francis had to say about the real importance of women to the faith and in the life of the Church.
Monday's CBS Evening News offered the usual biased coverage of religion, and specifically, the Catholic Church, as it reported on Pope Francis' widely misrepresented remarks on homosexuals. Dean Reynolds' only talking head was a former priest who apparently "quit the priesthood...after he felt the Church intended to purge gays", and even wondered if the Pope was throwing out Catholic teaching: "Do you think he's breaking with the Vatican?"
Reynolds also hyped that the Roman pontiff offered a "potentially controversial position" with his recent remarks, when in reality, they are consistent with what the Catechism of the Catholic Church outlines. [audio available here; video below the jump]
Author Reza Aslan falsely claimed that the Gospel of Mark contains no messianic claim by Jesus, but CNN's Piers Morgan asked him no tough questions and instead promoted his new book on Jesus in a slobbering interview on Monday.
Morgan mocked Fox News's interview of Aslan: "Reza, I mean, what were you thinking as that interviewer was asking those ridiculous questions?" Three times Morgan touted that Aslan's book was number one on Amazon.com. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Monday's All In show, as MSNBC's Chris Hayes rejoiced somewhat over Pope Francis's recent comments about people who have homosexual "tendencies" becoming priests, the MSNBC host also declared that it was a "heinous teaching" for the Pope to say that it is a "sin" to "violate God's law," referring to acting out on homosexual feelings. Hayes complained:
Surprise, surprise: the media still can’t seem to get their act together on the Pope’s words. Continuing the sloppy reporting on the Pope’s recent press conference, USA Today’s print version flubbed the Pope’s remarks on women’s ordination.
While hyperventilating over the Pope’s words on gays, the paper mistakenly claimed that the Pope’s remark “closes door on women’s ordination” – implying that the so-called door previously had been open.
At the top of Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams seized on Pope Francis expressing compassion toward gay people of faith and framed the comments as a major shift for the Catholic Church: "Making history. We're on the Pope's plane as he makes some stunning comments that sure sounded revolutionary..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later introducing a report on the topic, Williams proclaimed: "To the journalists sitting in the back of his plane flying him back to the Vatican from Rio, the Pope's words today during a surprise airborne news conference seemed, if not revolutionary, certainly newsworthy and historic in terms of the Catholic Church."
While most liberal media outlets have been positively giddy about Pope Francis's off-the-cuff remarks to the media about gay Catholics, Tim Padgett is having none of it, complaining, accurately, that the media have misconstrued the pontiff's comments. But Padgett's beef is not with inaccurate secular media outlets but with the church itself. "Catholic doctrine still vilifies homosexuality, and no amount of priestly 'love' makes that okay," huffed the sanctimonious headline to Padgett's July 30 story, "Pope Francis and Gays: 'Loving the Sinner' Is Still Intolerance."
"As TIME’s Stephen Faris has noted, while the Pope’s remarks might be a welcome and humane sentiment, they hardly represent a break with Catholic church doctrine, which still condemns homosexuality. The Vatican’s catechismal stance regarding the LGBTs in our midst remains the same: The church may love the sinner, but it hates the sin," complained Padgett in a post on the Time Ideas blog. Visitors to the main Time.com page were greeted this morning with a huge teaser headline which prompted readers to check out the piece, tagged as a "viewpoint" entry, not an objective news story [see screen capture below]:
Recent polls show Americans are perfectly okay with legislation being pursued in statehouses across the fruited plan to institute a ban on abortions occurring after the 20th week of pregnancy. This is despite a drumbeat of media puffery to glorify pro-choice absolutists like Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) and to attack the successful pushes for abortion-regulating legislation in Ohio, North Carolina and Texas. So what's the liberal media to do as they are finding out their hard work has been for naught? Why, try to convince Americans that the pro-life movement is on the verge of a bitter civil war.
On July 24, Time magazine's Grace Wyler filed a story on how the "Personhood Movement Continues to Divide Pro-Life Activists." Wyler zeroes in on an isolated incident from Wisconsin to make her case. The core of her piece is summed up with this excerpt:
Out of all the things Pope Francis said at World Youth Day, the liberal media were buzzing about his refusal to judge a gay person who "accepts the Lord and has good will" – ignoring that Pope Francis still upheld the Catholic Catechism's teaching on homosexuality.
New Day co-hosts Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan sounded hopeful that the Pope's remark would lead to change down the road. "One thing is for sure, change only comes about through dialogue. So, the fact that the pope is addressing this at all means something," Cuomo said. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Liberals in the media are doing what they do best when it comes to Pope Francis today: misrepresenting him to their hearts’ content.
When asked in a press conference about celibate priests who suffer same-sex attraction, the Pope replied: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?” – a view which is exactly in line with Church teaching. But of course, the media had a field day painting this orthodox statement as a sweeping approval of the gay lifestyle.
Bill Maher has said some disgusting things about religion before.
Possibly the most disgusting came on HBO’s Real Time Friday when the host actually said, “God in the Old Testament is a psychotic mass murderer” (video follows with transcript and commentary, file photo):
While thousands of young people gather in Rio de Janeiro this week to celebrate World Youth Day with Pope Francis for the very first time, gay rights activists can’t wait to welcome the pontiff to Brazil – with an offensive gay “kiss-in.”
According to Huffington Post, a gay rights group plans to stage a gay “kiss-in” during the Pope’s World Youth Day appearance. The obscene protest is scheduled for July 25, during the speech Pope Francis will give on Copacabana beach. Gay couples will meet there and kiss each other on the lips to demonstrate their opposition to the Church’s stance on homosexuality and gay marriage.
It seems as though some media personalities never miss an opportunity to slam the Catholic Church. Take for example the July 18 Imus In The Morning on Fox Business, in which host Don Imus took an unnecessary swipe at Pope Francis and the sex abuse scandal surrounding the Catholic Church.
Speaking with Father Jonathan Morris, a regular Fox News contributor, Imus suggested that, “because of all the problems the church has had, he [should] get an ice cream truck," presumably making that crack because ice cream trucks are quite the draw for children. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
It wasn’t labeled “news analysis” or “commentary,” but AP reporters Gregory Katz and Angela Charlton began a story on England approving gay marriage by mocking the French.
“The French like to make fun of the British, joking about their repressed ways in matters of the heart,” wrote the AP duo. “But when it came time to debate same-sex marriage, it was France that betrayed a deeply conservative streak in sometimes violent protests — while the British showed themselves to be modern and tolerant.”
On Weekend Edition Sunday, NPR's Rachel Martin helped Daily Beast editor Reza Aslan promote his new biography of Jesus, who posited that there is a "chasm between the historical Jesus and the Jesus...taught about in church." As proof of this supposed gap, Aslan claimed that "there is actually no statement of messianic identity from Jesus" in the Gospel of Mark.
Aslan has it wrong. Jesus actually affirmed that he was the Christ (the Greek word for Messiah) in Mark 14: 61-62: "Again the high priest asked him...Art thou the Christ the Son of the blessed God? And Jesus said to him: I am. And you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming with the clouds of heaven." Even NPR pointed out Aslan's false statement in a correction on Monday, but Martin, a former religion correspondent for the public radio network, didn't catch his error during the segment.
On the Wednesday, July 3, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC contributor Joy Reid compared abortion restrictions to "Shariah law" as she blasted North Carolina state senate Republicans for the "sneak attack" of including the restrictions in a bill banning Islamic law in the state. Reid:
Nicole Gaouette and John Walcott at Bloomberg BusinessWeek have revealed that the Obama administration has specifically stated that it wants the Muslim Brotherhood to have a role in any new Egyptian government. Meanwhile, other news outlets, particularly the Associated Press, have avoided disclosing that specific detail.
There are two "little" problems with the administration's disclosed position. The first is that now-deposed Mohammed Morsi's final speech on Tuesday was seen as a promise that there would be civil war if he were ousted. The second is that Morsi supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups have promised to carry out a campaign of terror until Morsi is reinstalled, and are keeping that promise. Those two factors should objectively disqualify the Brotherhood's involvement. Excerpts from the Bloomberg pair's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Josh Gerstein at the Politico is on the opposite of a roll today. This afternoon (noted at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Gerstein was barely done covering how "U.S. eases away from Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi" when the military announced that Morsi had been deposed by the military, ultimately in favor of, according to the Associated Press, a temporary "government of civilian technocrats."
This evening, he's trying to position Obama as a great thinker weighing his options instead of as the guy who has been on the wrong side of freedom and democracy ever since Morsi assumed dictatorial powers in late November of last year, which should be brought up every time someone falsely claims that Morse headed a legitimate, democratically elected government (bolds are mine):
Apparently, one pathetic last-minute speech by Eqypt's Mohammed Morsi was sufficient to convince President Barack Obama, who has spent several days and untold amounts of worldwide capital defending the Muslim Brotherhood leader's staying on the job in the face of what may have been the largest pro-democracy demonstrations in human history.
The Politico frantically tried to run interference for Obama opportunistic change of heart today, running an item which was apparently called "U.S. Eases Away from Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi." The item was up so briefly that it was quickly replaced, while the headline just mentioned still remains in the browser window's title bar:
The BBC is reporting from Egypt that "Millions of protesters across the country accuse the country's first Islamist president of failing to tackle economic and security problems since taking power a year ago." Reuters is also reporting "millions" of participants.
At the Associated Press as of 11:15 p.m., its "Big Story" home page (saved here for future reference) had three stories on Egypt. Two of them were moldy oldies from before Sunday's protests. The one from Sunday evening was buried at the bottom of the page's "Latest News" section, and didn't even have an accompanying thumbnail (Update, July 1, 1:15 a.m.: The story is no longer even present at all at the AP's "Big Story" home page). The coverage by Hamza Hendawi, Sarah El Deeb and Maggie Michael only recognized "hundreds of thousands" of protesters, but at least seemed to admit that the protesters had gained some leverage by their sheer numbers:
Readers are advised to prepare themselves for a rare dose of sanity and reality on television.
On CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday, journalism professor Steve Roberts actually said, "What's missing often in TV newsrooms: there are plenty of gays, there are very few people of faith and very few evangelical Christians who in their own beliefs would be against gay marriage. And this has always bothered me" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As I noted on Friday, the final sentence in an AP report earlier that day (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) on protests in Egypt read: "One banner depicted President Barack Obama and said, 'Obama supports terrorism.'"
I predicted with little risk of being wrong that the existence of this banner would not "survive future AP reports" -- and it hasn't, even though this and similar banners were still present in Tahrir Square on Saturday. A search at the AP's national site on "Obama supports terrorism" (not in quotes) returns nothing. Other establishment press coverage has also failed to reveal the continued presence of anti-American and anti-President Obama sentiments.
At first glance. Bill Barrow's write-up of Jimmy Carter's speech at his center's Mobilizing Faith for Women conference appears to have covered the facts about the conference and the specifics of the former U.S. president's outrageous attempts at moral equivalency in comparing how the world's religions treat women reasonably well.
But the AP writer left out two important contextual elements: 1) Christianity's historical and ongoing contribution to the improvement of women's status, leading to the indisuptable fact that women today are far better off in countries which have Judeo-Christian traditions than they are in those which don't; 2) government-encouraged or mandated abortion, which has disproportionately prevented women from being born -- the ultimate and final form of oppression -- and which many religions have done far too little to stop.