National Public Radio knows how to identify itself as the secular liberal media. On Good Friday, the show Fresh Air with Terry Gross recycled a 2004 interview with retired academic John Dominic Crossan, a co-founder of the Jesus Seminar, a man who believes the Gospels are largely mythology, someone's ahistorical hopes, and that the resurrection of Jesus never occurred, and that perhaps the body of Jesus was consumed by wild dogs. In this interview, Gross also asked him to comment on (disparage) the movie The Passion of the Christ, which he eagerly did. He suggested too much focus on the passion of Christ is "dangerously close to pathological." (Photo from NPR.org)
Last night on CNN Headline News's "Showbiz Tonight," so-called Hip Hop Professor Marc Lamont Hill noted that he was "freaked out" by Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus's claim that she loves Jesus. Host AJ Hammer played a clip from a YouTube video where Cyrus and pal Mandy answered fans' questions, this one dedicated to their religion:
Are we Christian?
Yes. We are.
We love Jesus. Happy Easter by the way. He died for our sins. That is how great he is. That`s why we do what we do. I sing and act Jesus. Not the acting but I sing and dance for Jesus. Actually, I act for Jesus, too. And now that I think about it, I do everything for Jesus.
In all the brouhaha last week over the incendiary comments made by Barack Obama's pastor the media seemed to forget to partake in their traditional Holy Week Christian-bashing excercise. There were a few entries in the "Easter Hit Parade," like the Comedy Central show "Root of All Evil" which my boss, Brent Bozell, wrote about in a column recently, and an episode of "Law and Order" which featured another Christian-stones-someone storyline.
I suppose it's good news that there was less faith flagellation courtesy of the liberal media, and yet at the same time it's sad that I was expecting to find it at Easter time. But the fact remains that Christmas and Easter are generally times when the media attacks on Christians are more pronounced.
If you ask the average man on the street, regardless of his religion, he'd probably tell you that anyone who would disrupt an Easter Mass with a political protest -- complete with stage blood and attempted "die-in" -- is a jerk with little if any reverence for God or the sanctity of a church as a place of worship.
But according to the Chicago Tribune's Manya Brachear the so-called Catholic Schoolgirls Against the War are representative of a "frustrated faction" of Catholic faithful (emphasis mine):
Cardinal Francis George has long opposed politics at the communion rail. But Sunday’s anti-war protest at the start of his Easter homily spotlighted a frustrated faction in the Roman Catholic church who believe committed Catholics must do more than preach and pray for peace.
The New York Times continues to glorify Barack Obama for the speech he delivered on race, eager to help Obama not only move on from Wright, but to paint the whole affair in lambent tones, while suggesting GOP presidents including Reagan went "under cover" and used code words to promote racial strife and win elections.
The latest brushwork is on display on the front page of the Times's Sunday Week in Review, a story by Janny Scott, "Talk About Race."
The rantings of Barack Obama's pastor sound strange to most Americans, Christian or non-Christian, black or white. Yet to some in the media, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's preaching is in the "mainstream" of Christian doctrine.
Take the Chicago Sun-Times's David Roeder, reporting on Trinity United Church of Christ's (TUCC) Easter Sunday service:
Theirs is a mainstream Christian theology, but shaped by oppression that they feel yields a connection to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. It's a church they said most Americans could embrace if they only got beyond media sound bites.
Roeder noted that TUCC, as it proudly declares on its Web site, is "Unshamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian." The TUCC Web site also celebrates the church's identity as "an African people" that "remain[s] 'true to our native land,' the mother continent, the cradle of civilization."
Now, of course, there's a wide array of debate among "mainstream" Christians over varying points of Christian doctrine, both between and within denominations, but the notion of ethnocentric identity within the church itself is alien to the preaching and teaching with which most American Christians, black or white, would be familiar:
The Huffington Post has learned that Bill O'Reilly -- who claims to love America -- spent Sunday at a "church" run by a former Hitler Youth named Joseph Alois Ratzinger. Ratzinger has gone to elaborate ends to hide this connection, including taking on the absurd pseudonym "Pope Benedict XVI." Which, even if it doesn't prove anything, certainly makes you think.
This shocking revelation comes only a week after Barack Obama admitted he attends a church formerly run by Jeremiah Wright, who talks smack about America, although probably less than Goebbels did.
On March 19th, I found a story on The Jerusalem Post detailing an attack by Muslim youths on a rabbinical assistant that occurred at a Brooklyn, New York subway station. The youths grabbed Uria Ohana's yarmulke off his head then ran off yelling "Allahu Akbar," which is Arabic for "God is great." I have waited four days to report this story myself to see what other news outlets decide to cover the incident and how they would cover it. So far, the only U.S. news outlet that covered it was the New York Post. It has been nearly ignored by the rest of the media.
The dearth of coverage is curious because it seems a natural story for the left to get their "hate crimes" dander worked up over. After all, we have a Muslim gang attacking a lone Jew right in the middle of Brooklyn! Yet, the news gives us zip for coverage.
Italy's most prominent Muslim, an iconoclastic writer who condemned Islamic extremism and defended Israel, converted to Catholicism Saturday in a baptism by the pope at a Vatican Easter service.
An Egyptian-born, non-practicing Muslim who is married to a Catholic, Magdi Allam infuriated some Muslims with his books and columns in the newspaper Corriere della Sera newspaper, where he is a deputy editor. He titled one book "Long Live Israel."
Yesterday, Gateway Pundit noticed what he called an "Uh-Oh... This wasn't supposed to happen" event for presidential candidate Barack Obama:
An amazing article appeared in the mainstream news today. McClatchy actually reported that Obama's church merges Marxism and Christian Gospel and preaches that the white church in America is the Antichrist because it supported slavery and segregation.
That they did. But how did they headline it, and how many McClatchy newspapers actually ran the story?
Margaret Talev's Thursday, March 20 description of the fundamental doctrines of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) does get right to the point. Talev even goes so far as to question the candidate's motivations for his involvement with the church.
Most importantly, which I why I've bolded the related text, Talev notes that while TUCC's radical and racist philosophies will survive the Rev. Wright's retirement, their continued presence will not deter Obama from continuing to attend:
Somebody better break it to the New York Times: they might still be the paper of record in their own minds, but to the rest of the world they're just one more dead-tree joint struggling for attention.
The Old Grey Lady's unjustified conceit was on display during this afternoon's Hardball, when one of its columnists was aghast that Chris Matthews had had the audacity not to have read her oeuvre.
Deborah Solomon, who has a weekly column in the NYT Sunday magazine, had interviewed the Rev. John Hagee, a minister who has endorsed McCain and has made a number of controversial statements. I'd mention in passing that while Hagee's critics have accused him of anti-Semitism, he has in fact received numerous awards from Jewish groups for his steadfast support of Israel.
Barack Obama’s interview with Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night's "Anderson Cooper 360" on CNN was quite gentle. While Cooper did press Obama to address some of the criticisms that have erupted over his pastor Jeremiah Wright, he did not press him about Wright’s criticism of white people, or his claims of the government giving blacks AIDS, only one (truncated) 9/11 passage. Cooper used ten-foot-pole language about those people who would be alarmed by Wright’s America-bashing remarks: "Patriotism is going to be used by whoever it is you are facing." Used? Have you ever noticed how the media never asks if America is being "used" by leaders who spit on America?
Obama was spinning furiously.
I never heard anything nasty about America.
COOPER: In the past, you said you didn't think that your church was particularly controversial. Yesterday, in the speech, you said that -- you admitted that you did hear in the church remarks that could be considered controversial. Do you know specifically? Do you remember what you heard?
Anti-Catholicism still thrives at the Los Angeles Times, even though readers of the paper continue to call them on it. Last week, the Times published a smarmy op-ed by "humor" writer Barry Gottlieb ("That 'thou shalt not' list just got longer," 3/17/08). In addition to propagating the false story that the Vatican had composed a list of "new sins" (it didn't), Gottlieb mocked Catholic belief, ridiculed the sacraments, and derided the Church. In other words, it was just another episode of Catholic bashing at the Times.
Today (Thu. 3/20/08) - to its credit - the Times published three letters to the editor from readers who objected to the column's blatant bigotry. (I couldn't help but embolden some of the right-on points.)
This screed [Gottlieb's piece] insulting the Catholic religion is inexcusable. To publish this in a daily paper is an insult to every Catholic reader.
Time editor Rick Stengel made his regular Thursday Morning Joe appearance today, revealing the magazine's cover to be published tomorrow. But while we learned that the Dalai Lama's photo will appear there, the bigger story is the "cover" Time is trying to provide for Barack Obama's Rev. Wright problem.
Here's the gist of Time's defense of Obama, a distillation of Stengel's statements and Time articles by Amy Sullivan and Joe Klein:
An important aspect of the problem is that white Americans are incredibly ignorant about black churches in America.
In fact, Rev. Wright's church isn't that radical as black churches go.
It was understandable for Obama to have joined Wright's church. At the time he was a 27-year old bi-racial man trying to figure out his identity as the son of an atheist father and skeptic mother and needed a church "he could learn from."
It's understandable that Obama didn't leave the church: it's like reading a book--you don't necessarily agree with the author.
Obama's speech was a "triumph," and Americans will be thinking "small" if they make the Wright thing a big issue in the campaign.
Talk about bending over backwards to excuse racist comments! Charles Coulter, Opinion Page Editor of the Kansas City Star (pictured at right via KC Star's Web site) has said that he's had "Enough" and says that these "attacks on Obama and Jeremiah Wright are ludicrous." Coulter is scolding any of us who take offense that Obama's racist Rev. has said things like "God damn America," and is himself outraged over our "ludicrous" anger over Wright's claims that the U.S. invented AIDS solely to kill black people.
Coulter starts off with this dismissive summary:
So the Rev. Jeremiah Wright made comments that some portray as hate-filled and anti-American.
It's hard not to "portray" Wright's comments as "hate-filled and anti-American" when he said that the U.S. basically deserved the murderous attacks on 9/11/01 that killed thousands of innocent Americans!
Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show" devoted four segments to Obama’s speech on race and the Jeremiah Wright controversy and that coverage began with a proclamation by co-host Maggie Rodriguez that: "It's being called a defining cultural moment in America. Barack Obama speaks about America's racial stalemate, a moving moment, a political risk." Rodriguez went on to tease upcoming coverage of the speech by again emphasizing its "historic" nature: "It was without question a defining moment in American political history. But for an African-American presidential candidate who'd played down race in his campaign, this was a huge gamble politically."
The first of the show’s four segments featured a report by correspondent Byron Pitts, who observed: "If critics hoped Senator Barack Obama would disown his controversial pastor, they were disappointed." After speaking of Obama’s "disappointed critics," Pitts went on to praise Obama’s unifying message and give some political advice:
But beyond condemning his minister's words, Obama tried bridging the racial divide, acknowledging years of bitterness and anger amongst blacks and whites...While Obama invoked the tone of a preacher, it was a politician speaking. With a slip in the polls, the Illinois Senator needs to take the nation's attention off race and back on jobs, health care, and the war in Iraq.
Barack Obama's Philadelphia speech Tuesday was a transparent attempt to quell the controversy over his ties to fiery anti-American minister Jeremiah Wright. But the New York Times, along with the rest of the media, portrayed the speech just the way the Obama camp would have wanted -- as a transcendent address on race in America, past, present and future, with Obama's long connection to Wright a secondary matter.
It was an extraordinary moment -- the first black candidate with a good chance at becoming a presidential nominee, in a country in which racial distrust runs deep and often unspoken, embarking at a critical juncture in his campaign upon what may be the most significant public discussion of race in decades.
Are Reverend Wright’s anti-American sermons simply taken out of context? According to "View" co-hosts Sherri Shepherd and Barbara Walters they are. Sherri Shepherd first made excuses for Wright claiming "he suffered racism full force,"and then added viewers are not getting the full context and any of "The View" co-hosts could be tagged as racist with a sound bite.
Barbara Walters concurred noting that in Joy Behar calling Barack Obama "literate" could be taken as a racial slur. Elisabeth Hasselbeck struck back challenging the co-hosts to "put [Reverend Wright’s inflammatory remarks] in a context that sounds good. It doesn’t."
Joy Behar, who does not even know the Constitution and its history, took a shot at President Bush’s intelligence labeling him illiterate and claiming if he were to give a speech about race, "it would be about NASCAR."
Barack Obama’s pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, made excuses for Obama’s association by comparing it to her family remaining loyal to the Catholic Church despite the sex abuse scandal. Barbara Walters called Obama a "uniter" and hopes the pastor’s words do not "taint" Obama’s presidential aspiration.
Joy Behar made an apples and oranges comparison that members of her family should not be "indicted" for continuing attendance at the Catholic Church after the sex abuse scandal. Behar excused Obama’s long time relationship with an anti-American minister, but scolded John McCain for a random supporter calling Hillary Clinton a "bitch." Does Behar grant more leeway for a Democrat than a Republican, or is she more offended by anti-Hillary comments than anti-American ones?
Following Monday’s sanitized coverage of the controversial comments of Barack Obama’s pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show" continued to gloss over the most inflammatory of Wright’s comments, spending over 6 minutes on Obama’s upcoming speech on the issue while devoting only 16 seconds of video to Wright’s more mild statements. Following this video, co-host Russ Mitchell asked left-wing commentator Nancy Giles: "How careful does he [Obama] have to be today not to denounce Jeremiah Wright and make some black voters angry?"
The rest of the analysis with Giles, who was ‘balanced’ with Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, was entirely about political strategy, not about Wright’s statements. Mitchell asked Trippi about the possibility of race affecting Obama’s appeal: "Joe Trippi, sticking with the risk factor for a second. There are folks out there who are going to look at Barack Obama, who's made no secret of the fact that he's black of course...And look at this speech and say 'you know what honey, I just realized something today, he brought up race. Barack Obama is black.' How risky is that in this speech?"
Roland Martin, a talk radio host out of Chicago and contributor to CNN, appearing on the network immediately Barack Obama’s "race speech" on Tuesday morning, compared the reaction to Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s much-publicized comments to the reaction to the Catholic sex scandal. Co-anchor Heidi Collins asked, "He [Obama] didn't disagree strong enough to go to a different church though. He stayed for many, many years. How do you think that will play?" Martin’s responded, "But frankly, I think that is irrelevant, because I don't -- look, I was born and raised Catholic. The first 25 years of my life of my life, I was Catholic.... And there are a number of people out there who are still Catholic today, even though the Church dropped the ball when it came to the whole issue of sex offenders, and some who left. But that's fine. But the reality is a person's faith is a personal decision."
Martin made similar comments on Monday’s "Newsroom" program during a discussion of Rev. Wright’s comments with co-anchor Don Lemon and Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus at the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour. "[Y]ou have a number of people who have said that, for Catholics, will you leave the Catholic Church because of what the church did when it came to sexual abuse victims? And you know what? A lot of folks have stayed."
The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. -- Barack Obama, Huffington Post, March 14, 2008
The key question before Barack Obama today was the one going to his integrity: was he was telling the truth when he claimed in his HuffPo piece of March 14th that he never heard Wright make, in public or private, the remarks "that are the cause of this controversy"?
During the roundtable segment on Monday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty compared the racist and anti-American words of Barack Obama's pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, to Jerry Falwell's and Pat Robertson's condemnation of the many abortions in America. Cafferty, who in January suggested that abortion is a "crap" issue, asserted: "How is this different than John McCain chasing after Pat Robertson or the late Reverend Jerry Falwell, who talk about how we have a culture of murdering unborn children in this country and that we've turned into Sodom because we coddled the gay community in this country? I mean, to me, that stuff is considerably more offensive than decrying racial violence and intolerance in this country, which members of the black community have some firsthand knowledge of." (Transcript follows)
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," a total of over 13 minutes of coverage was given to the controversy involving comments of Barack Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, but only 16 seconds was given to play video of Wright’s comments, video which did not include some of the Reverend’s most shocking comments that September 11 was caused by U.S. foreign policy or that the AIDS virus was part of a government plot against the black community.
The coverage began with a report from CBS correspondent Dean Reynolds, who suggested the media was paying too much attention to the story: "For days now the news media have recycled Reverend Wright's sermons or at least their most inflammatory parts." That was followed by a relatively mild 3 second clip of Wright declaring: "Not God bless America! God damn America!" Reynolds went on to explain that: "Obama has denounced that and other anti-American statements, though the Senator says he never heard such comments before from the man who was his spiritual mentor." Reynolds never mentioned what those other "anti-American statements" were.
The Early Show did its best this morning to help Barack Obama climb out of the hole he's dug for himself with his close association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
In a set-up segment, CBS's Dean Reynolds rhetorically asked: "the question is whether the rhetoric is so remarkable, because in African-American churches pastors often seek to rouse their congregants to self-reliance by speaking harshly about the country's troubled racial past and the need to overcome it."
Nice try, but how does accusing the US government of introducing AIDS and giving black people drugs equate to a call for self-reliance?
Reynolds concluded by stating that the Obama campaign is concerned that its candidate has been "victimized" in the same way the Trinity church claims Rev. Wright has.
Then it was on to a Russ Mitchell interview of the Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts, III of Harlem's famed Abyssinian Baptist Church. The thrust of Mitchell's questions and Rev. Butts' responses was that the controversy is being blown out of proportion, that fiery rhetoric is a tradition in black churches with roots in the Bible and even in the words of Jesus. Moreover, it would be wrong to expect congregants to criticize their pastors' words.
One set of facts, two diametrically different NYT op-eds addressing it this morning. The fact: that Barack Obama is backpedaling as fast as he can away from the hateful anti-American rhetoric of Jeremiah Wright. The op-eds: Bill Kristol's, offering a dose of sobering realism about Obama's feet that if not of clay, then are certainly those of a garden-variety politician.
And then there's Roger Cohen's, the Obama fan who, in a bit of breathtaking revisionism, would explain away Barack's moonwalk on the theory the candidate has simply "grown beyond" the problematic preacher. And Cohen's just fine with that.
Many in the newsmedia are reacting with quite restraint to the revelations of comments by Obam's racist "spiritual mentor," Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. Imagine if this were a Republican politician linked to such outrageous talk and you'll realize how the MSM has been studiously underplaying this controversy. A benefit of the doubt seems to be the rule of thumb for how the media is treating Obama, a benefit that would be denied a GOP candidate.
But, as ABC's Jake Tapper asked concerning Obama's knowledge of Wright's racist rants: What did Obama know and when did he know it? In this posting Tapper finds that Obama was distancing himself from Wright a year ago causing the question to be raised if Obama long ago wondered if Wright would be a liability? But, there is video of Obama lovingly introducing Wright even after that proving not only that Obama is very, very close to Rev. Wright, but also that he was not distancing himself from the man at all.
How much trouble is Barack Obama in over the extremism of Jeremiah Wright? Enough that Dem strategist Donna Brazile has been reduced to arguing that as black preachers go, Wright is relatively moderate. Enough that the normally affable Brazile got a bit short with Time editor Mark Halperin, he of the infamous memo to his subordinates during the 2004 presidential campaign while serving as ABC News political director.
The comments came during the panel discussion on today's This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC.
The liberal media has a simple policy about the religion of candidates. Democratic front-runners are "devout Christians," whether they go to church or not, since liberalism and the Lord’s work are pretty much the same thing. Republicans are the ones whose religious beliefs and associations are approached with fear and loathing.
Take one recent eruption from Obama about so-called gay marriage, as reported by CNSNews.com. "If people find that controversial, then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans." The scowling echo in that phrase disturbed many, that a Christian would say this piece of the Bible is true, and that other line of God’s word is obscure and worth ignoring. Is Obama trying to assemble today’s version of Thomas Jefferson’s bible, cutting out only the passages that display the Jesus he believes in, and shredding the rest?