In yet another example of why the west could be too weak to fight the sort of global terrorism that takes the form of Islamofascism, a textbook monitoring group is charging that American textbooks have been cleansed of mentioning the violence inherent in the Islamic "Jihad." Now, our children will not be taught what "Jihad" truly means, nor that it has been used as an excuse to kill their fellow citizens because our schools have sanitized Islam of all outrage and violence. Will the media follow this story and report that our children are being exposed to Islamic propaganda like this?
According to the New York Examiner, the American Textbook Council reports that textbooks approved for middle and high schools students have caved in to a politically correct cleansing of Islam and dumbed down history critical to a fuller understanding of Muslim history -- one that reflects on our own times.
Leave it to Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-Times to get her kufi in a twist over the decision by Northwestern University to withdraw the honorary degree they had intended to bestow upon Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's racist "spiritual mentor."
In the sort of backwards logic of a woeful Black victim mentality -- Mitchell’s specialty -- Mitchell is claiming that the decision to rescind the racist Rev's honorary degree is an illegitimate one because the decision was made in March "before his image and words exploded on YouTube and became a headache for Barack Obama." Mitchell acts as if Wright's outrageous hate-speak was born fully-grown out of nowhere when he burst onto the national scene in March. But it was all rather well known in Illinois long before that.
In the Washington Post's June 5 Prince George's County Extra insert, staffer Hamil Harris penned a story focused on how Barack Obama's decision to leave his controversial church "is not sitting well with some African American pastors and scholars in Prince George's County."
Harris went on to quote two preachers disappointed with Obama, as well as University of Maryland's Ronald Walters, a reliably liberal pundit. The closest Harris found to being critical of Obama's former church was a pastor who conceded that some ministers may need to "rethink how [their] message of liberation is being communicated."
At no point in Harris's 11-paragraph story, however, did he pick up on any county clergy who have strong misgivings about Rev. Jeremiah Wright or Trinity's theology and its impact on the faith community.
Perhaps Harris should add Prince George's County minister Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr. to his Rolodex. Jackson serves as the senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., and has devoted at least two of his recent Townhall.com columns to critiquing the theology and temperment of Obama's former senior pastor. From Jackson's May 5 column, "The Way That Seems Wright" (emphasis mine):
CNN’s Kyra Phillips and Suzanne Malveaux fretted over Barack Obama’s recent decision to leave his "controversial church" during a segment on Monday’s "American Morning." During her introduction to Malveaux’s report on the decision, Phillips lamented, "You know, he's getting criticized -- okay, he acting like a typical politician.... He's bailing out of the church. Well, he would have been accused of the same type of things if he stayed in the church. He can't win." Malveaux responded, "The things is, you know, Kyra, this was a personal decision. It was a political decision, but also a personal decision. When I interviewed Michelle Obama, they talked about the kind of pain that -- actually disassociating themselves from Reverend Wright...."
Both before and after her report, Malveaux guessed that the fact that the Obamas "had no control over the church" contributed to their decision to leave.
On Monday's "Good Morning America," the morning show featured a new religious expert who explained away some of the radical statements heard at Barack Obama's now former church. Father Edward Beck, the host of "Faith Matters Now" on ABC News's video site ABC News Now, also defended Father Michael Pfleger, the latest religious leader to make incendiary remarks at Trinity United Church. (In a video, Pfleger can be heard condemning, "I also believe that America is the greatest sin against God.") Co-host Chris Cuomo prompted, "You say he's much more than how he's being characterized as this kind of bad parody of an African-American preacher. Tell me."
Responding to the softball, Beck justified, "Well, everybody is more than a few sound bites can demonstrate." The two, along with NPR analyst Juan Williams were discussing not only Pfleger, but also the enthusiastic response the mostly African American congregation gave him and (on other occasions) the incendiary Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Again, Beck, who was appearing on GMA for the first time as a religious expert, offered standard liberal guilt by asserting, "But I think you have to understand underneath [the congregation's cheering] there is real sentiment. There is a feeling of being disenfranchised."
Just as a quick follow-up to both Terry Trippany and Warner Todd Huston's posts, at least one major political reporter is chagrined by the MSM's penchant for selecting photographs of Sen. Barack Obama that make him appear rather, um, messianic.
Who says there's no humor in politics? Obama communications director Robert Gibbs went on ABC's This Week today, and in one of the better deadpan bits since Buster Keaton actually said that Barack Obama's decision to quit the Trinity United Church of Christ was "not political."
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: In Philadelphia, just in April, Senator Obama said of Reverend Wright "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community." Now he's cut all ties to Reverend Wright, and left his church. What is it a mistake to wait this long?
ROBERT GIBBS: No, George. I think obviously what Barack Obama made in the past few days is a deeply personal, not a political decision. And as you heard the reasoning, he made that decision for two reasons. One, even guest speakers that were at Trinity, their views were ascribed to him even though he didn't hold those views, and secondly, the members of Trinity couldn't do what members of a church do, and that is, sit in quiet reflection and worship God.
Father Michael Pfleger, whose endorsement of Barack Obama until recently appeared on the official Obama website, mocks Hillary Clinton's tears during a sermon at Obama's church, the Trinity United Church of Christ, on May 25, 2008.
[Update (16:33 EDT): The AP has changed its lede to read "The Vatican insisted Friday that it is properly following Christian tradition by excluding females from the priesthood as it issued a new warning that women taking part in ordinations will be excommunicated." (h/t Damian G. of Conservathink).]
According to the Associated Press, the Vatican is "slamming the door on attempts by women to become priests in the Roman Catholic Church." But it's rather hard to slam shut a door that was never open, which is what Catholic Church teaching holds about women serving in the priesthood.
From a May 30 article entitled "Vatican: excommunication for female priests" (paragraph break removed):
VATICAN CITY - The Vatican is slamming the door on attempts by women to become priests in the Roman Catholic Church. It has strongly reiterated in a decree that anyone involved in ordination ceremonies is automatically excommunicated. A top Vatican official said in a statement Friday that the church acted following what it called "so-called ordinations" in various parts of the world.
Yet far from "slamming" shut the possibility of female priests, the Catholic Church holds that God, speaking to His people through the words of Scripture -- not the Pope or the Church -- bars women from clerical office. This, however, by no means diminishes the role of women in the life of the church, as Catholic apologist Jason Evert explains (emphasis mine):
Mika Brzezinski realizes that the latest looniness emanating from Barack Obama's church poses political problems for the presidential candidate. But as a person of pallor, the ever-so-PC Morning Joe-er doesn't want to judge a black church—even when the most recent rantings come from the mouth of . . . a white preacher.
Morning Joe opened today with a clip of Father Michael Pfleger guest-preaching this past Sunday at Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ. Pfleger, a fixture on the radical Chicago scene whose endorsement of Obama [h/t Michelle Malkin] until recently appeared on the official Obama campaign website, mocked Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire tears as a sign of her frustrated sense of white entitlement. The screencap shows Pfleger making like Hillary wiping away those tears.
(Watch video above, context included, fast-forward to 3:40 for Brzezinski's humorous comment.)
But while acknowledging the headache Pfleger poses for Obama, Mika was oh-so-loath to comment on the substance or tone of the remarks themselves. Excerpts from her discussion with Tucker Carlson, Mike Barnicle and Willie Geist:
Eat your heart out Lyndon LaRouche. The Trilateral Commission is so 1970s. It's really "The Fellowship" that's really running the world according to religion professor Jeff Sharlet in his new book "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power."
Despite being a fanciful yet unsubstantiated conspiracy theory, U.S. News & World Report dignified Sharlet's take on a little-known Christian organization with a May 28 article by Jay Tolson entitled "Exposing a Network of Powerful Christians.":
It is an elite and secretive network of fundamentalist Christians that has been quietly pulling strings in America's highest corridors of power for more than 70 years. Or so claims Jeff Sharlet, author of a new exposé, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. And in his telling, the group that calls itself the Fellowship operates at the very center of the vast, right-wing conspiracy that has promoted unfettered capitalism and dismantled liberal social policies at home, even while encouraging ruthless but America-friendly dictators abroad.
On Friday's "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer and guest George Stephanopoulos continued the ABC tradition of referring to an Obama/Hillary Clinton match-up as a "dream ticket." In an intro to the piece, Sawyer asked, "Will there be a Obama/Clinton dream ticket?" A few seconds later, she reiterated, "So, dream ticket?" Back on March 6, 2008, Sawyer giddily wondered about the "dream solution" of Clinton and Obama running together on a Democratic ticket. On February 1, GMA correspondent Kate Snow also mused about the possibility of a "dream ticket."
Also, after giving prominent play to a story on Thursday that accused John McCain of close ties to a reverend harshly critical of Islam, "Good Morning America" on Friday allowed only 50 seconds for the senator's rejection of those charges. The Republican presidential candidate has distanced himself from Reverend Rod Parsley and his comments about the Muslim faith. However, GMA featured only a brief discussion between Sawyer and Stephanopoulos on Friday.
"Good Morning America" on Thursday picked up an attack on John McCain that has grown popular in left-wing media outlets and turned it into a Brian Ross investigation of the senator's "pastor problem." In a preview, co-host Diane Sawyer solemnly intoned, "This morning, John McCain's pastor problem. Is the preacher McCain calls a spiritual guide fueling the fire of Muslim hatred in America?" Investigative reporter Ross then preceded to warn how the Arizona senator's appearance with a pastor who loudly attacked Islam has "badly complicated" McCain's attempts to reach out to the Muslim world. [audio available here]
Where did Ross find the various clips of the Reverend Rod Parsley condemning Islam and standing on a podium with John McCain? The story has already been touted in liberal outlets such as Mother Jones magazine and heavily featured on the website Brave New Films,a creation of Robert Greenwald, best known for documentaries bashing Fox News and Wal Mart. (Despite this, Sawyer touted the "exclusive" nature of the investigation.) Additionally, the web version of Ross's story featured a misleading attempt to more closely associate McCain and Parsley. The ABC News headline asserted: "McCain Pastor: Islam Is a 'Conspiracy of Spiritual Evil.'" McCain's pastor? The Republican presidential candidate sought the reverend's support in February 2008. McCain is not a member of Parsley's World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio.
A small paper in South Carolina called The Statesman indulged in some blatant hetero bashing this week in a story about a high school principal who resigned because of his convictions that the school should not allow a homosexual club to be started in his school. Naturally, the paper tries to make it seem as if the principal is an unreasonable bigot. The paper even conveniently forgot the part of the principal's resignation letter that clearly explains why he disagreed with allowing a club based on sexual activity in a high school -- and the explanation had nothing to do with any anti-gay sentiment.
Contrary to what was written and said in the liberal media Jerry Falwell held political beliefs that were actually quite "middle of the road" with regard to key cultural questions such as abortion, birth control, school prayer and homosexuality, according to a new biography written by his widow.
"While he opposed abortion, Jerry would have accepted legislation that allowed it in the case of rape, incest or if the mother's life was in danger," Macel Falwell tells readers in her new book "Jerry Falwell: His Life and Legacy." Moreover, Falwell believed the civil rights of homosexuals should be safeguarded, despite harboring moral objections to the homosexual lifestyle, she explains.
The prominent televangelist and evangelical Christian pastor, who co-founded the "Moral Majority" in the late 1970s, was a congenial, likable man many steps removed from the "bizarre public persona" incorporated into media portraits, Falwell observes in one of her earlier chapters.
The second film based on the Narnia books, "Prince Caspian," roared like Aslan the lion at the box office in its first weekend, grossing an impressive $56 million in theaters, and supplanting "Iron Man" as the most successful movie in America.
Why the continued success of the "Chronicles of Narnia" films? Time movie reviewer Richard Corliss takes a stab at that question, with a unique angle, comparing "Caspian" to "The Golden Compass," the first movie installment of Philip Pullman’s dark atheist trilogy which viciously attacked God, Christianity, and the Catholic Church in particular.
"Narnia" author C. S. Lewis was a fervent Christian theologian. "Compass" creator Pullman proclaimed his books were about "killing God."
Like choosing Rosie O'Donnell to vouch that someone isn't a 9-11 conspiracy nut?
Of all the people Mika Brzezinski might have selected as a character reference for her father when he was portrayed as a problem for Obama with Jewish voters, Pat Buchanan isn't the first one who springs to mind. Yet that's who Mika [subbing as host for Joe Scarborough, home in Florida awaiting the birth of a baby] called on to defend her dad on today's Morning Joe.
The odd endorsement came at about 6:35 AM EDT today, after Mika highlighted an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal by Global View columnist [and former Jerusalem Post editor] Bret Stephens entitled Obama and the Jews. Stephens's item contained these lines [emphasis added]:
Mollie at the Get Religion blog reports that the Obama campaign is circulating a pamphlet in Kentucky with Barack Obama standing in the pulpit with a gleaming cross behind him, and she wonders where all the media fuss is, compared to the hoots and hollers when Mike Huckabee put a slightly subliminal cross image in one ad and said he was a "Christian Leader" in another. On Thursday, the Washington Post ran a brief item:
The pamphlet has circulated in other primary states and is striking for its overt appeal on religion. The words across the top read “Faith. Hope. Change.” Obama is pictured at a church pulpit, with a large illuminated cross in the background. A quote at the bottom reads: “My faith teaches me that I can sit in church and pray all I want, but I won’t be fulfilling God’s will unless I go out and do the Lord’s work.”
Post reporter Shailagh Murray mentioned the campaign is seeking "to counteract the persistent and false belief held by some voters that Obama is Muslim," and to avoid a loss as wide as the one in West Virginia. But she makes no mention of Trinity United Church of Christ or Jeremiah Wright.
On May 13, John McCain supporter John Hagee issued an apology to the Catholic League for controversial anti-Catholic comments he's made in the past. "Catholic League President William Donoghue [sic] accepted the apology," noted Washington Post's Michael D. Shear in the midst of his 8-paragraph story published the following day.
Shear closed by noting that "[n]ot all Catholics were mollified" by Hagee's letter of apology, citing "Alexia Kelley, executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good." Shear failed to label Kelley nor the Alliance as liberal, although a visit to their Web site makes it pretty clear their political agenda skews in favor of liberal Democratic social welfare initiatives.
But more telling is this: Kelley used to work for the DNC during the Kerry campaign as Director of Religious Outreach. Catholic or no, it's not all that surprising that the former liberal Democratic Party staffer would refuse to let the Hagee matter drop in a tense election year when presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has his own share of problems, to say the least, with loopy clergymen in his corner.
Joy Behar should remove the blinding plank in front of her own eye before removing the splint in front of others. Expressing her outrage that a West Virginia Hillary Clinton voter erroneously labeled Barack Obama a Muslim, Behar opined on May 13's "View" that some people "refuse to accept the reality." "The View" co-host did not mention that some of these reality deniers include Behar herself.
In the past, the daytime chat diva has spouted off many false remarks, putting her leftist ideology before the facts. Joy fed her viewers false information about the vice president’s record on the Marriage Amendment and falsely charged the Bush administration with airing the "swift boat" ads. Behar has also, without evidence, smeared Republican presidential candidates of ties with the Ku Klux Klan and accused Republicans of giving Senator Tim Johnson a stroke.
Does the media treat hypocrites of differing political preferences similarly? The evidence would suggest not. When noted Christian televangelist Jim Bakker was found to have committed adultery and mail fraud back in 1986, the national media were beside themselves with glee, running hundreds of stories about Bakker's hypocrisy. The same pattern repeated itself with other Christian evangelists, including George W. Bush supporter Ted Haggard in 2006, a case that Wikipedia admits "may have affected voting patterns in the 2006 elections". The media made sure to feature the haggard case as a front-page story during the run-up[ to the election, probably hoping (correctly as it turned out) that it would help the Democrats take control of Congress. However, the shoe is now on the other foot.
Famed left-wing radio personality Bernie Ward of San Francisco, a former priest who had one of the loudest and most consistently anti-George W. Bush voices in the entire nation, was found guilty of possessing and distributing child pornography on Friday and will serve at least five years in prison. ward tried to argue that he was "doing research" on child pornography, but as the San Francisco Chronicle reported:
During the roundtable discussion on Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Cokie Roberts not only made a relatively rare identification of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as "liberal," but she also argued that Obama needs to choose a running mate who is a "Bible-thumping, gun-owning, white guy from a swing state. I mean, maybe that's who the party should have nominated." (Transcript follows)
As the group discussed the running mate possibilities, Roberts contended that it would be a bad idea for Obama to choose Clinton: "I don't think that it's good for the Democratic Party to have two liberal Senators from states that are going to go Democratic anyway. I mean, he needs a Bible-thumping, gun-owning, white guy from a swing state. I mean, maybe that's who the party should have nominated."
Sam Donaldson jumped in: "You mean, in other words, somebody who disagrees with him on all the issues."
Below is a transcript of the relevant exchange from the Sunday May 11 This Week with George Stephanopoulos:
Reporter Fred Lucas of CNSNews.com (a project of the MRC) has found an interesting quote for Tim Russert or others at NBC and MSNBC to ask Barack Obama about in their next live interview. A "social justice" minister at Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago wrote an article for the church bulletin last year that the Don Imus incident on MSNBC proved the networks were run by right-wing bigots:
In a column in the April 15, 2007 bulletin, the Rev. Reginald Williams, the associate pastor for social justice at Trinity United, said he was not surprised by the racially charged remarks that talk-radio host Don Imus made about the Rutgers University women's basketball team because "the major networks are run by right-winged conservatives who still see black people as subhuman and portray black people as such."
In the patriotism category, Trinity's Rev. Williams also suggested the Pentagon was training terrorists in Latin America -- an article of faith on the Castro-sympathizing left:
Left-leaning journalists don't just pull their punches when it comes to criticizing liberal politicians, they also seem paradoxically inclined to do so when it comes to discussing radical Islam. This curious phenomenon (curious in that modern liberalism is highly secular and radical Islam decidedly is not) has repeated itself many times over the years and is really one of the most bizarre behaviors I've seen in politics.
As strange and morally obtuse that we on the center-right believe the western liberal press to be on this issue, surely the more frustrated people have got to be clear-thinking liberals like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens who face the task of trying to get their ideological compatriots to stand up for rationality and civil society. It's a difficult task made even more frustrating by the high degree of self-censorship among liberal media elites. Writing earlier this week at the Huffington Post, Harris (an equal opportunity critic of all religion) recounts how the Washington Post refused to run an article he wrote on the "Fitna" movie that the paper deemed "too critical" of Islam.
Such behavior originates in not just the usual double-standard westernized religion faces but in a very real fear among left elites that criticizing Islam is a physically dangerous endeavor. Unfortunately, as Harris writes, this behavior just exacerbates the problem:
“OMFG” is text-speak for the unspeakable. It's also the tag line for a new ad campaign aimed at teens and featuring a jumble of sexual situations, including teens undressing each other and two girls kissing. The campaign blitz is appearing in print and television, all aimed at drumming up eyeballs for the CW network's teen-themed soap "Gossip Girl."
For the uninitiated, “OMG” translates to “Oh My God” in the language of email and text messaging. The addition of the “F” means … well, it’s the word that can cost broadcasters a hefty government fine if someone actually says it on TV.
Now, of course, executives at the CW could never admit that they were actively targeting teens with such a "provocative" ad. Nor would they ever admit they were intentionally dodging an FCC fine by using the letter "F" instead of the unspeakable word. Nor would they ever consider that "F" used next to "G," which stands for "God" would be blasphemous. In fact they've gone out of their way on these subjects. But reality has a way of well, keeping it real.
Over a three day stretch, ABC devoted almost 15 minutes of air-time to a documentary filmmaker who asserts in his movie "Bloodline" that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a massive hoax perpetrated on humanity. Additionally, on Friday's "Nightline," reporter Elizabeth Vargas left out any mention of the bizarre interests of the film's director, Bruce Burgess. He's directed and written documentaries on Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51 and a secretive look at a U.S. government's supposed cover-up of the alien landings at Roswell.
Wouldn't it be relevant to know that Burgess seems to be fascinated with every weird conspiracy imaginable? (And hasn't the mainstream media mocked bloggers for not being restrained journalists? How serious is Bigfoot and the the subject of the Bermuda Triangle?) On Sunday's "Good Morning America," Burgess's second stop on his ABC tour, co-host Bill Weir at least asked about his extravagant interests: "I do have to point out the fact that some of your other documentary work includes the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51, looking for Bigfoot in Oklahoma." (NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein blogged this appearance.)
This is a much more serious sin than the folly I noted earlier today from ABCNews.com coverage of a Bill Clinton visit to a "Pentacostal" church.
On May 1, Christianity Today's Sarah Pulliam took to her magazine's Liveblog to address ABCNews.com's numerous errors in reporting on a faculty matter at evangelical Wheaton College:
ABC's report of Wheaton College professor Kent Gramm's resignation was an example of sloppy journalism and weak analysis.
The original headline was simply false: "Professor Fired for Getting a Divorce." Gramm was not fired. He resigned because he declined to talk with the college about his divorce. (The image to the right is a screen shot of an earlier version)
Later today, ABC changed the headline to "Professor Loses Job Over Divorce." The headline is still not quite accurate. To lose your job generally indicates that someone took it away from you. However, Gramm voluntarily resigned. And according to the Chicago Tribune, the college offered him another year of employment while he searched for another job.
Former President Bill Clinton pinged ABCNews.com's Political Radar on a pulpit-pounding campaign swing through the Tarheel State just two days before the North Carolina primary. But it appears the alphabet network's Web site not only got the name of an Asheville, N.C., church wrong, but it misspelled, three times, the name of a denomination within Protestant Christianity (emphasis mine) in this May 4 blog post (screencap below fold):
ABC News' Sarah Amos reports: Former President Bill Clinton spent time in two western North Carolina churches this morning, speaking more from his heart than any sort of political handbook.
"I didn't come here to ask you to vote for my wife," said Clinton, addressing the congregation at Church of the Pentacostal in Asheville, N.C. "I came here to ask you to pray for her. And to vote. Do whatever you want. Show up. Our country is in dire distress.
Imagine that a "documentary" film-maker—whose most notable former credit was a work advancing the notion that extra-terrestrials did indeed visit Area 51—brought forth a new work suggesting that key elements of the Prophet Mohammed's story had been fabricated. What are the odds ABC would devote a segment of Good Morning America to a respectful interview of the filmmaker and discussion of his work?
But that's exactly what ABC did regarding someone who has produced a documentary ["Bloodline"] calling into question key aspects of the story of Jesus Christ. Here's how GMA weekend co-anchor Bill Weir introduced the segment this morning:
Well, here's a question, was Jesus married with children? Was the Resurrection a trick pulled off by his widow? The possibility, the world's greatest cover-up, was the basis of the smash novel and movie The Da Vinci Code. And though those ideas have been largely dismissed by academics as fiction, documentary film-maker Bruce Burgess believes he has now found evidence to advance that theory. Here's a clip from his new film.
On May 2, the Associated Press uncritically reported that an effort to clarify where "evangelicals" stand in the culture/political war in America is soon to be released. It is to be called "An Evangelical Manifesto" and is touted by the AP as a statement by "evangelicals" that "faith is now too political." That isn't all. The AP is claiming that it isn't just Christian leaders in general that are saying this but that it is "conservative Christian leaders" who are standing up and denouncing politics in religion. But a little investigation proves that "conservative leaders" is not a very good description of those who have signed onto this "manifesto." In fact, many of the most well-known conservative Christian leaders in the country have decided not to sign onto the "manifesto" and many more weren't even consulted or included in the creation of this highly political document that pretends it stands against politics.
Sadly, this "manifesto" that is claiming to want to take religion back from its political involvement is itself a political statement, one that was created by people that refused to include Christian leaders from the right side of the political spectrum. This so-called "manifesto" seems to be just another attempt by the political left to undermine the devotion of Christians to the political right.