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."
What a difference a year makes. The publishing of Muhammed cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllends-Posten caused an uproar among Muslims worldwide last year. Despite the newsworthiness of the cartoons as they related to the unfolding story of violent riots throughout Europe and the Middle East, many news outlets reporting on the story refused to publish or show the cartoons out of, um, respect for Muslim sensibilities.
Now, the outcome of a lawsuit resulting from the fracas is left floating somewhere in a media backwater, as journalists seek more lucrative prey. A Muslim group based in Denmark that filed a libel lawsuit against a Danish political party leader has lost. They sued because Pia Kjaersgaard, leader of the Danish People's Party (DPP), accused some members of the Islamic Faith Community of treason for traveling to the Middle East in order to publicize the drawings, thus fanning the flames of violent dissent. The court found the term "treason" non-libelous "because it was used extensively in public debate."
Time magazine has a lengthy piece on Democrats and religion called, "How the Democrats Got Religion." (HT: Drudge) (Btw, the original title on the web yesterday was "Leveling the Praying Field.") It focuses on efforts by Democrats (most notably, Sens. Obama, Clinton, and Edwards) to attract voters who are religious. There is certainly an attempt at balance in the article, but the folks at the DNC must be pretty happy. The article, penned by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, claims, "The Democrats are so fired up, you could call them the new Moral Majority."
"The new Moral Majority"? Yikes. The article devotes substantial space to showing how Democrats are trying to muster up a majority to win elections, but what about the "moral" part? Gibbs and Duffy neglect a number of important issues and episodes regarding Democrats and religion. Witness:
1.John Edwards and anti-Catholicism:
How on earth do you compose a piece thousands of words long on Democrats and religion without mentioning John Edwards' gross episode with anti-Catholic bigotry earlier this year? (See this and this.)
New York Times reporter Michael Luo's front-page Saturday story on Hillary Clinton's religious faith, "For Clinton, Faith Intersects With Political Life,” was a pretty transparent attempt to moderate the candidate's secular reputation by emphasizing her religiosity.
Meanwhile, Luo naively cast Hillary Clinton as a passive spouse betrayed by her husband during the Monica Lewinsky scandal -- as if Bill Clinton’s White House philandering came as a total shock after all the years in Arkansas.
"Long before her beliefs would be tested in the most wrenching of ways as first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton taught an adult Sunday school class on the importance of forgiveness. It is a lesson, she says, that she has harked back to often."
Through the long piece, Luo portrayed Hillary as a victim.
The old-style "Latin Mass" (the "Tridentine use") of the Catholic Church was never banned, but it required the permission of a local bishop to be performed. But in a recent announcement, Pope Benedict XVI has "opened the door to wider use" of the Latin Mass by not requiring local authorization. The effect on Catholics around the world, if any, will be minimal, as the vast majority of masses will continue to be celebrated in people's own languages.
Big whoop, eh? This is the kind of news that maybe justifies a tiny "In Brief" appearance in your paper. But the Los Angeles Times never leaves a stone unturned in trying to portray Catholics and Catholic-related news in the most unflattering light. (I posted this only a few days ago.)
London-based New York Times reporter Alan Cowell was no fan of Tony Blair's support for George Bush and the Iraq War -- he particularly enjoyed repeating left-wing anti-war mockery of Blair as "Bush's poodle."
"Before Gordon Brown took power as Britain's new prime minister, there was much talk about whether the electorate would warm to the dour, methodical and detail-driven Scot, particularly after so many years of soaring oratory from his predecessor, Tony Blair
The Los Angeles Times has slammed Robin Williams' new film, License To Wed, in a review in today's paper (Wed. 7/3/07). However, the review made no mention of Williams' offensive and bigoted anti-Catholic remarks on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno two weeks ago, as reported by NB's Michael Chapman. (See also this and this.) Neither has the paper published anything about Williams' words, although the episode took place in the Times' backyard. Yet the Times gave tons o' ink to Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic tirade last year during a DUI arrest. (Read about that here.)
The story of Immaculée Ilibagiza is nothing short of remarkable. During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Immaculée and six other women hid in a tiny bathroom in the house of a Protestant minister as rival tribesmen searched to kill them. They hid under unimaginable conditions for three months as the threat of a gruesome death lurked outside.
During my waking hours I was in constant communication with God, praying and meditating for 15 to 20 hours every day. I even dreamed of Jesus and the Virgin Mary during the few hours I slept. (page 107)
Yet when 60 Minutes profiled Ms. Ilibagiza's story last night (Sun., 7/1/07), no mention at all was made of her persistent prayer, even though this is absolutely a central component throughout her amazing story. Her prayers seemed to result in miracles during her confinement. (Read the book. I have, and it's unbelievable.)
On Thursday’s Today, NBC’s Meredith Vieira interviewed Robin Williams, introducing him jokingly that he "has always made people look to the heavens and say what was he thinking? So it's only appropriate that in his latest film, License To Wed, he plays a man of the cloth. And his character, Reverend Frank is more than a little unorthodox." He’s playing an Episcopalian minister, but all his trouble lately has been by making harsh jokes about Catholic priests and pedophilia.
On the June 18 Tonight show, Williams unfurled a whole routine suggesting there were pedophiles everywhere among the Catholic priesthood, a smear on the vast majority of serious and celibate priests, as well as mean-spirited jokes about priests being sexually aroused in the confessional. Ten days later, he smeared his critics – specifically, without citing names, Michael Chapman on NewsBusters -- suggesting they didn’t care whether child-abusing priests were exposed, that keeping it quiet was okay. About halfway into the interview, Vieira steered into his mockery of priests:
After the network morning shows allowed Elizabeth Edwards to speak out against Ann Coulter, with limited challenge, host Bill O’Reilly discussed the subject with Ann Coulter and later Dick Morris on the June 28 edition of "The O’Reilly Factor." On two occasions, first with Ann Coulter then with Dick Morris, O’Reilly noted that he invited Elizabeth Edwards on "The Factor" to discuss personal attacks, not only on the right, but on the left as well. This is how the Fox News host described the situation first when interviewing Ann Coulter.
"Okay, now after that interview, and nobody knows this, we called Elizabeth Edwards. And we said, ‘you know we’re real interested in this personal attack stuff because we have a problem with that on the left. Would you come on, either sit, you know, on a set, or on the phone?’ ‘No.’ Now, I’m saying to myself, wait a minute, you call into a program that no one watches, alright. And you have a point, no one watches. She’s- nobody sees this. I’m giving you a forum where ten million people on radio and TV are going to see it and you say no."
Maybe this afternoon's oppressive heat and humidity on the Hardball Plaza in DC were getting to Chris Matthews. I'm not sure how else to explain his complaint, to the effect that it is wrong of the Roman Catholic Church to apply its rules to politicians as it does to other adherents.
His remark came in the course of a debate on religion on this afternoon's edition of "Hardball" between Christopher Hitchens, author of the atheist polemic "God Is Not Great", and the Reverend Al Sharpton.
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Today you have the Roman Catholic church through its bishops challenging the rights of Catholic office-holders to take positions for abortion rights. They basically say you have to be for imprisonment of people involved with abortion or else you're not a Catholic and you'll be excommunicated. It seems to be an era, not just because of Islam, to keep religion out of politics . . . Why are they foisting themselves, why are the religious leaders jumping into the political marketplace and saying to politically-elected people, who are duly elected, "you cannot take that position and be in our church, or we will excommunicate you"? That seems to be what's going on.
On Tuesday's episode (6/19/07) of The View, Michael Moore advocated socialized medicine by saying that "Jesus told us that we would be judged by how we treat the least among us." (Video at Hot Air.)
The problem? For one, starting many years ago, Michael Moore has displayed behavior that many followers of Jesus would find offensive. Moore also reportedly has a dubious history in dealing with "the least" around him in his own life.
1. Back in high school, the rebellious Moore staged a play that openly mocked Jesus' Crucifixion. Read about it on Moore's own web site:
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program used an attack by an aide to presidential candidate Sam Brownback on fellow contender Mitt Romney to delve into the former Massachusetts governor’s religious beliefs and whether bigotry will derail his campaign.
Comparing the treatment of Romney’s religion to past campaigns, Dan Harris asserted that this sort of thing "happened for orthodox Jews when Joe Lieberman ran for vice president in 2000."
But unlike in 2000, when Joe Lieberman ran for vice president on a liberal Democratic ticket, Mitt Romney is running a social conservative. And thus, Harris alternated from wondering if "a resurgence of the type of bigotry the church has faced since it was founded 177 years ago" might torpedo Romney’s bid, to speculating on the "uncomfortable questions" about Mormon beliefs: