In a time when modern science and scholarship have begun to cast doubts on traditional faith, many on the left, right, and center are increasingly abandoning traditional religion. While most such people on the center-right are content simply not to believe, many on the left continue to cling to the salvationist ethos. In the past, that impulse was satiated with communistic reveries. If religion was the opiate of the masses, socialism was the heroin of the secular leftist.
That no longer seems, at least outwardly, to be the case. With a worldwide record of abject failure, socialism lost its claim to the miraculous. Despite this, the left's desire for cosmic justice remained unfilled; it was only a matter of time before something stepped into the teleological breach.
That something is radical environmentalism. In a fantastic essay at his site Number Watch, John Brignell shows how extreme environmentalism has become a secular religion. The comparisons are striking and ought to give pause to any agnostic or atheist wary of the influence of religion on society. Even if you don't share Bridgnell's view of religion, this is an essay worth reading. Here's a small excerpt:
"How in the world could anyone write a lengthy article about the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), without mentioning once that the group has been named an unindicted co-conspirator in the nation’s largest terrorism trial?"
In June, Johnson picked up on ISNA's brush with federal prosecutors in a blog post entitled "A Really Bad CAIR Day." You can also read more reporting on the matter in Josh Gerstein's June 4 New York Sun article, "Islamic Groups Named in Hamas Funding Case."
Indeed, while reporter Cathy Lynn Grossman failed to mention ISNA's ties to Hamas, the USA Today writer focused on how sick and tired Mattson is of persistently denouncing radical Islam:
Over at the Counterterrorism Blog, Steve Emerson has a great post detailing the New York Times's latest attempt to burnish the image of the pseudo-moderate Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR):
In what has become practically a routine, whenever bad publicity for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) surfaces, in an almost Pavlovian response, the New York Times leaps to its defense.
As I wrote about last March in The New Republic, when CAIR had befallen several embarrassing public setbacks, including the rescinding of an award from Sen. Barbara Boxer’s office and public opposition on Capitol Hill for the use of a room to host a CAIR event, the Times dispatched its reporter, Neil MacFarquhar, to resuscitate CAIR’s image.
The State of Texas easily has the highest execution rate in the United States. That is part of the reason why you "don't mess with Texas." And why is it exactly that Texas stands alone in implemeting the death penalty? According to Reuters, the answer is evangelical Christians.
Just when you thought the MSM couldn't sink any lower . . .
Could there possibly be an American who doesn't admire the Reverend Billy Graham? Apparently, yes. Have a look at the cover of this week's 'Time.' Of all the ways the editors might have positioned the logo, they managed to do so in a manner in which the 'M' in 'TIME' is transformed into horns protuding from the good reverend's head.
Tucker Carlson and Willie Geist took up the matter on Tucker's MSNBC show this afternoon.
On Tuesday’s edition of "Nightline," anchor Martin Bashir interviewed businessman Tom Monaghan, founder of a new Catholic university in Florida and also a community called Ave Maria that will be based around Catholic values. Bashir parroted criticism that the town has "been described as a Catholic Jonestown, a kind of Catholic Iran, where individual rights and liberties are curtailed."
Earlier in the segment, Bashir asserted that the community, which will encourage traditional values but be open to all,has "been called a Disney World for Catholics, a country club Christianity."
Update (14:15): Welcome to Rush Limbaugh listeners. You can find more on media bias about the Minnesota bridge collapse on our site here.
By now it's been so widely adopted by the media that it's easy to be numb to it, but Chicago Tribune's E.A. Torriero breathed new life into the Bush-caused-it meme in the I-35W bridge collapse story by adding a new twist. The bridge collapse, suggested Torriero, is insult added to injury for mostly Muslim Somali immigrants already angered by American foreign policy.
In a story filed the evening of August 7, Torriero portrayed the collapse as insult added to injury for Somali immigrants, weaving in suggestions that America under President Bush is becoming akin to a third world country, unable or unwilling to build and maintain safe infrastructure:
Don't get me wrong. I like that mainstream media do take some efforts to report more religion and faith news items these days, including blogs like "The Seeker" at Chicago Tribune's home on the Web and the ongoing "On Faith" feature hosted by the Washington Post and Newsweek.
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," guest host George Stephanopoulos pressed 2008 Republican candidate Mitt Romney over whether he will "do more to address" the issue of his Mormon faith.
This is the same ABC program that has repeatedly raised questions about whether the former Massachusetts governor’s religion could damage his ‘08 chances. In June, reporter Dan Harris speculated on how "uncomfortable questions" about Mormonism could harm the campaign.
In contrast, GMA gushed over a CNN sponsored event in June where Democratic candidates discussed their faith. An onscreen graphic wondered, "Are evangelicals embracing Democrats? New party of God?" For that segment, co-host Robin Roberts marveled, "...Senator Obama out on the campaign trail has, has freely talked about his faith." She also played an extended clip of Hillary Clinton discussing the important role faith played in her life.
Liberals can rest easier knowing that despite her outspoken views on newsworthiness and ethics, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski can still be counted on to go to bat for the Democrats. The reporter and "Morning Joe" regular showed off her famous sense of journalistic integrity while filling in for host Joe Scarborough on Monday morning. In the first half hour, Brzezinski played a video of a journalist trying desperately to get an interview with Antonio Villaraigosa, the Democratic mayor of Los Angeles. Villaraigosa has been surrounded by controversy since revelations that he had engaged in an extramarital affair with Spanish language reporter Mirthala Salinas.
The video clip showed one female reporter and at least two cameramen chasing the embattled mayor hoping for an interview. Before she could reach the mayor however, one of Villaraigosa’s hired thugs intercepted the reporter, sending the much smaller woman barreling into what appears to be a dumpster.
Republicans held a debate on Sunday, but CBS’s Hannah Storm seemed more interested in Rudy Giuliani’s personal life and then Mitt Romney’s crankiness. On the August 6 edition of "The Early Show," at 7:19 AM, Storm kicked off the segment noting there was a Republican debate the previous day but, "they did not talk about an issue hanging over front-runner Rudy Giuliani and that is his wife, Judith, who has become a controversial topic in his campaign."
On Wednesday's The Situation Room, CNN host Wolf Blitzer, while interviewing Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison about his recent trip to Iraq, asked the Congressman about his recent controversial remarks comparing President Bush to Hitler, words that could be interpreted as a suggestion that Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks, and comments that have received little media coverage. Blitzer gave Ellison the chance to "explain exactly what you did mean," and asked if the Congressman agreed that the "comparison of Bush and Hitler" was "inappropriate." (Transcript follows)
Update/retraction (13:11): Missed the update on LGF. It is in fact an image of a mosque in Brunei. My apologies to CAIR and to NewsBusters readers.
"Little Green Footballs" noticed yesterday that the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is cheering the impending crimes prosecution of a Pace University student for putting a Koran in a toilet, depicted the US Capitol dome as though it were the dome of a mosque. Gone was the Statue of Freedom that graces a pedestal atop the cast-iron dome (see picture at right)
Now imagine if the Catholic League photoshopped the cross-topped dome of St. Peter's Basilica or if the Christian Coalition replaced Freedom with country church bell tower in an image endorsing its "American-Christian Voter Survey." Something tells me the media would not find some cynical way to round up liberal critics who would allege those conservative Christian groups want to turn the federal government into a theocracy.
Blogger Michelle Malkin has an excellent item today at RealClearPolitics.com about how the media have a lack of interest in stories about Christian missionaries kidnapped, brutalized, and tortured at the hands of Islamist terrorists. Here's an excerpt, after which I share my thoughts on what we could expect to see from the biased media should some of the South Korean missionaries make it back alive and find themselves interviewed on say "Dateline NBC":
The blood of innocent Christian missionaries spills on Afghan sands. The world watches and yawns. The United Nations offers nothing more than a formal expression of "concern." Where is the global uproar over the human rights abuses unfolding before our eyes?
In a time where we have movies and television shows which routinely ridicule Christianity, atheism, Judaism, and more, why is it that we don't see similar attempts at parodying or debunking Islam? Christopher Hitchens:
Before me is a recent report that a student at Pace University in New York City has been arrested for a hate crime in consequence of an alleged dumping of the Quran. Nothing repels me more than the burning or desecration of books, and if, for example, this was a volume from a public or university library, I would hope that its mistreatment would constitute a misdemeanor at the very least. But if I choose to spit on a copy of the writings of Ayn Rand or Karl Marx or James Joyce, that is entirely my business. When I check into a hotel room and send my free and unsolicited copy of the Gideon Bible or the Book of Mormon spinning out of the window, I infringe no law, except perhaps the one concerning litter. Why do we not make this distinction in the case of the Quran? We do so simply out of fear, and because the fanatical believers in that particular holy book have proved time and again that they mean business when it comes to intimidation.
It’s amazing how supposedly liberal and feminist publications that enjoy roasting conservative Christians will turn around and honor Islamic traditions as the latest rage. Witness Time’s promotional coverage this week of the "Burqini," the head-to-toe women’s swimsuit. If this was a Pat Robertson idea, they’d be bowled over laughing. But it’s Islamic, so it’s surprisingly chic. The front page of the Life section promoted Time’s Laura Fitzpatrick writing "The Burqini swimsuits allow women, Muslim or not, to choose comfort over conformity." Obeying Islamic dictates of modesty is not conformity? On a 90-degree day, a head-to-toe suit is the definition of comfort?
On page 50, the story’s headline was "The New Swimsuit Issue: Modest beachwear for Muslim women is taking off with secular swimmers too." Fitzpatrick began:
Move over, Tankini. Since the full-coverage swimsuit dubbed the Burqini (as in burqa plus bikini) hit the international market in January, devout Muslim women have been snapping them up.
Outrageously, Newsweek has published a so-called "special report" in which Muslim Americans are called "one of this country's greatest strengths," but, Newsweek worries, that they are now "vulnerable as never before." Yes, America, as far as Newsweek is concerned it is YOU, not Islam, that is the problem.
As to the first claim, Newsweek offers not a single reason in their report why Muslims might be one of our "greatest strengths," but of the claim of how "vulnerable" they are, Newsweek drones on and on. Naturally, Newsweek puts the onus on Americans to bend over backward for Muslims, but doesn't once take Muslims to task for their barbarities and radicalism.
As if allowing this anti-American Bush-hater to have his own series wasn't enough, the brilliant folks at HBO decided to give Bill Maher another comedy special to rail against all things conservative.
For those on the left hoping for some truly vile attacks on the GOP, Saturday's "Bill Maher: The Decider" surely must have hit the spot.
In fact, of the 60 minutes Maher was given, upwards of 40 were spent eviscerating the President, his staff, Republican presidential candidates, and religious figures. In reality, this was a virtual campaign video for Democrats.
With that in mind, what follows are some of the lowlights in no particular order. However, the reader is cautioned that this is not edited for content, and contains some truly vulgar language.
CNN's Pressroom announced that its upcoming six-hour special “God's Warriors,” reported by Christiane Amanpour, will discuss “the impact of religious fundamentalism as a powerful political force.” In the process, CNN revealed what it thinks about the various “fundamentalists” around the world by pushing the typical multi-culti PC media position that no one religion is more problematic or violent than another, with all types of fundamentalism being equally dangerous.
Tammy Faye Messner -- who became infamous as Tammy Faye Bakker -- died Saturday of cancer. Jim Bakker and his wife were rich fodder for the liberal media as their "PTL" televangelism empire collapsed in 1988 and their financial excesses were exposed, right down to the air-conditioned doghouse. Liberal media types found the Bakkers to be the very model of Reagan's Decade of Greed, as we noted in Notable Quotables:
In last night’s CNN special on their upcoming YouTube debate, Paula Zahn previewed some of the video questions that had been sent in. The topics up for debate last night included faith and values, the environment and gay rights. Zahn led the segment on faith and values with the comment, “we are seeing an amazing variety of questions about faith and values for next Monday’s debate.” Unfortunately the four YouTube questions that followed were anything but a “variety.” The transcript of the questions follows below.
CNN correspondent Tom Foreman's examination of the role of faith in the 2008 presidential race on Thursday night's "Anderson Cooper 360" featured the standard left-wing labeling of Christian conservatives. The segment, an examination of the so-called "separation of church and state," featured extensive soundbites from Pastor Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church in Ohio, characterized Parsley as "no agent of tolerance," due to his stance against homosexuality and criticism of Islam.
Foreman opened his segment with a line that is eerily reminiscent of the creation account in the biblical Book of Genesis, and reflects the Left's view of the First Amendment.
TOM FOREMAN: In the beginning, there was a wall, a mighty barrier built by the Founding Fathers to separate church and state, block one from meddling in the affairs of the other. In school, we are taught that's what makes our country special. But what if that wall never existed? What if it's a myth conjured up in our lifetime to mask a greater truth, that America was conceived as a Christian nation?
After a Los Angeles judge agreed on Monday (7/16/07) to the $660 million settlement between 508 individuals and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, several plaintiffs stood outside the courthouse in front of a throng of television and newspaper reporters. Many told incredibly sad and horrific stories of the immense suffering they've endured over the years as a result of the despicable abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy.
But what about the priests who have adamantly denied the charges made against them and whose cases may never have had any evidence against them? This past week the Los Angeles Times and others have been largely silent in this regard.
For example, Msgr. Manuel Sanchez from Sacred Heart Church in Pomona, CA has been accused of brutally raping an 8-year-old boy in 1981. His accuser came forward in 2003.
The Los Angeles Times first covered the case in February of 2004, and here's what the Times wrote at the time :
The day after Independence Day, ABC reporter Terry Moran jotted down his thoughts on what makes some people become terrorists. His answer: freedom.
Rather than explore religious fanaticism or just plain depraved human wickedness, Moran insisted in a July 5 blog posting that modernity and the freedom of association it fosters is causing many a young Muslim male to descend into the hellish depths of terrorism.:
The "BeliefWatch" column in the front section of Newsweek magazine is often better described as a "Non-BeliefWatch," offering the latest supportive coverage of atheists, humanists, Unitarians, free-thinking leftist dissidents, and "blasphemy challengers." In this week’s "BeliefWatch," Newsweek's Lisa Miller highlights leftist Rocky Anderson, the mayor of Salt Lake City, running down Utah as deluded and denouncing Mitt Romney as a sellout to right-wing handlers.
"There is a culture of obedience in this country, but it's probably no more evident than in most parts of Utah," Anderson told NEWSWEEK in an interview. "That's why we've seen the highest approval ratings here for this entirely corrupt, disastrous presidency." As for Romney, his "opposition to abortion and stem-cell research is a very different Mitt Romney than the one who ran for governor of Massachusetts. I felt that Mitt Romney was a man who could really bring people together in a nonpartisan fashion, who would always stand up for the highest ideals and not worry about the polls ... I can only think this is a man who's caving to what his handlers want him to say."
Monday’s Early Show on CBS picked up on Time magazine’s promotional cover story "How The Democrats Got Religion." Reporter Jeff Glor used two guides to explore how the Democrats would "level the praying field," but didn’t exactly tell viewers that these guides were involved in the drive to help the Democrats. The first expert was Time magazine’s Amy Sullivan, who wrote a "God Gap" essay for the magazine. CBS didn’t explain she was an aide to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and during her stint with the liberal magazine The Washington Monthly, she advised the Democrats on how to "get religion" in the last presidential election cycle, to no avail.
The other expert was so-called "conservative evangelical" Rev. Joel Hunter, a man eager enough to help the Democrats that he was selected by the people at the left-wing magazine Sojourners to ask Hillary Clinton a question at the CNN/Sojourners Democrat debate (clips of that event were sprinkled throughout the CBS story.) He asked Hillary Clinton a seemingly pro-life question that enabled her to proclaim that she's always been for abortion being very rare. Rev. Hunter’s also written a book titled Right Wing, Wrong Bird: Why The Tactics of the Religious Right Won't Work with Most Conservative Christians.
On the same day that he attacked the GOP as being "scared of black folks," CNN contributor Roland Martin posted a column on CNN.com in which he proclaimed the "irrelevancy" of Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church, specifically in the context of a recent document that clarified what the Catholic Church teaches about other Christian denominations. He advised non-Catholic Christians that they "shouldn't even bother getting upset" over the recent document issued by the Catholic Church. "Just chalk up to an old man trying to get a little attention," he said of Pope Benedict XVI. Martin also described the Pope as a "hardliner" who was trying to correct interpretations of the Second Vatican Council by liberals, who, in the Pope's view, had gone "too far in some of their declarations." At the same time, he also praised a Catholic priest in Chicago (Martin's current place of residence) who launched a death threat publically against a gun shop owner in a nearby suburb earlier this year.
Martin's column, as described by CNN, "are part of an occasional series of commentaries on CNN.com that offers a broad range of perspectives, thoughts, and points of view." CNN's own past indicates that they probably aren't going to make the "range of perspectives" very broad. When controversy erupted over the Danish Mohammed cartoons in 2006, they took the following stance: "CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons in respect for Islam."