With the recent racial slur outburst from "Seinfeld" actor, Michael Richards, we will have to pay close attention to see if Richards gets a softer treatment than Mel Gibson did with his own racial slur laden rant earlier in the year.
But, if this AP report is any indication, it seems sure that "Kramer" won't be as maligned as Mel Gibson.
NBC's Today carried a series on faith this week, and finished it Thursday morning with two liberal journalists about a new website Newsweek is setting up on faith. It all sounded very much like soft-soap Episcopalianism, no doubt because the preacher on the set was Newsweek editor and Episcopalian Jon Meacham, along with Sally Quinn, a writer best known as the wife of former top Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. Ann Curry began by saying Meacham and Quinn "started a conversation about religion over lunch one day, and that discussion hasn't stopped." Curry continued:
"It's so interesting to think about how, just, what, 20 years ago, we would not speak about faith in America in any sort of big way. We talked about basically the separation of church and state meant that we didn't speak about church because we felt it was going to inflame and cause problems. What has changed? What has changed fundamentally about America that now lets us talk so much about it? In fact, have it influence policy in America. Sally."
As NewsBusters reported Saturday, the politically correct crowd appears to have lost this round concerning whether the Christmas season should be referred to as the holiday season so as not to offend, well…anybody. Another sign that it will once again be acceptable to recognize the religious aspects of this annual ritual with total impunity (meaning without fear that the ACLU will serve you papers instead of egg nog for the holidays!) is when we start seeing news reports concerning this on television.
With the official start of the shopping season now just ten days away, the following videoof a report filed by WRCB in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is guaranteed to get you in the mood to shout from the rooftops -- as well as in your favorite store -- “Merry Christmas.”
The story: A priest works at a Miami high school as a history teacher and assistant chaplain. Nude photographs of him interacting physically with other men are discovered on the Internet. The priest resigns from his job. Graphic Internet photos are readily available for the media.
In light of the recent media frenzy over Rev. Ted Haggard (5,500 results at Google News), it sounds like everything would be ripe for a story that the media would just love to jump all over. But, curiously, the mainstream media has essentially ignored this story. Why?
The answer may lie in the priest's denomination. Here's the story. You see, Rev. Parry is not a Catholic priest. He's not even a pastor from one of those conservative Evangelical churches. Rev Parry is a priest of the increasingly liberal Episcopal Church in the USA.
Organized religion fuels anti-gay discrimination and other forms of bias, pop star Elton John said in an interview published Saturday.
“I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people,” John said in the Observer newspaper's Music Monthly Magazine. “Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays.”
“But there are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion,” he said. “From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. Organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate.”
A November 6, 2006, Los Angeles Times op-ed by someone named Peter C. Boulay blares the title, "Will Catholicism OK Condoms?" Because of errors in fact and misleading information, the article appears to be just another cheap slap at the Catholic Church by the Times.
The column suggests that the Catholic Church is possibly readying to allow for the use of condoms in "situations in which there is potential for HIV infection." Besides the fact that such an allowance by the Church is quite unlikely, Boulay argues that if the contraception "rule" is changed, the result is a challenge to "the entire contraception doctrine, to the doctrine of papal infallibility and even to the church's abortion rules."
After years of "holidays" being used to describe the Christmas season, some cracks in the politically correct dam have begun to open as some retailers like Wal-Mart and Macy's are beginning to use the term "Merry Christmas.
Ironically, as the Associated Press reports this news, it can't retrain its political correctness:
This holiday season, Wal-Mart isn't trumpeting big bargains only. It's also bringing "Christmas" back into its marketing, after several years of playing down the term.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Christmas cheer seems to be a hot trend this season as several other retailers including Kohl's Corp. and Macy's, a division of Federated Department Stores Inc. , are also stepping up their Christmas marketing. The moves respond to mounting criticism from religious groups that staged boycotts against Wal-Mart and other merchants after they eliminated or de-emphasized "Christmas" in their advertising.
"We learned a lesson from that. Merry Christmas is now part of the vocabulary here at Wal-Mart," said Linda Blakley, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.
Wal-Mart said Thursday that it will launch its first Christmas-specific TV ad in several years, feature Christmas shops, previously called Holiday Shops, and increase the number of seasonal merchandise labeled "Christmas" instead of "holiday" by 60 percent.
Macy's is adding Christmas signage in all of its department stores and Kohl's is playing up Christmas this year in its TV, print and radio advertising, according to Vicki Shamion, a Kohl's spokeswoman.
But MacFarquhar, who went to elementary school in Libya and was once the Times' bureau chief in Cairo, disposes of the controversy in two sentences and frames it as Ellison being "attacked on religious grounds."
Aren’t liberals supposed to be the tolerant ones? On Wednesday’s "American Morning," co-anchor Miles O’Brien derided a plan by disgraced former minister Ted Haggard to seek spiritual counseling as a "reality show." Haggard resigned his positions as pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado and head of the National Association of Evangelicals after being accused of drug use and a gay affair. He has announced that he will undergo an intense form of religious counseling known as restoration. Reporter Ali Velshi and Mr. O’Brien seemed to find the whole concept laughable. Velshi, describing the individuals who would and wouldn’t be involved, began by talking about "fixing" Ted Haggard:
Ali Velshi: "But one of the godly men, theoretically, asked to be involved was James Dobson of the -- he was the founder of Focus on the Family, also a Colorado-based Christian ministry. He's already backed out. Apparently, this is so tough, James Dobson says that he backed out because 'emotionally and spiritually, I wanted to be of help, but the reality is, I don't have the time to devote to such a critical responsibility.' I think this is more than just a PR thing. They really -- these guys believe it's going to fix Ted Haggard."
Miles O’Brien: "Well, I think it could be a tremendous reality show."
Over at GetReligion, newlywed Mollie Hemingway forwarded to her blog audience an e-mail from a reporter comparing Ted Haggard to much-celebrated gay Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson. The big difference between the two is which side of the political/cultural divide they stand on:
A pastor is married for years, has children, runs a successful church, advances in his denomination/sector of Christianity, and then “finds himself” and abandons wife and children for a live-in situation with another man. His reward? Consecration as a bishop in the Protestant Episcopal Church of America and wide-ranging media praise. LATimes, I believe, had a nice kiss-up interview with Gene Robinson just this week.
A friend pointed out to me Julia Duin's report in Thursday's Washington Times on the Saturday consecration of Episcopalian presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at Washington's grand National Cathedral, and wonders how Katie Couric and the others who disdain orthodox religion will greet her formal acceptance. Duin brings a more traditional understanding of religion in her article:
Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, a former oceanographer who still pilots her own plane, will be consecrated the world's first female presiding bishop Saturday morning at the Washington National Cathedral. Since her election June 18 at the Episcopal General Convention in Ohio, an unprecedented seven Episcopal dioceses have declared that they will not accept her leadership because she allowed same-sex blessings during her 2001-06 tenure as bishop of Nevada. Her 2003 vote in favor of V. Gene Robinson, the denomination's first openly homosexual bishop, and her statement that "our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation" in a sermon three days after her election, elicited protest as well. But that expression "was thoroughly orthodox," she said in an interview Tuesday. "I was surprised at the reaction. I was simply using an image that seemed most appropriate to the text."
On CBS’s Early Show Friday morning, political correspondent Gloria Borger declared the usual disdain for political ads: "They started out innocently enough, but political ads this season quickly turned brutal. And in some cases, downright nasty." The only clip shown to illustrate: the "Call me, Harold" GOP ad in Tennessee. But "call me" jokes are nothing compared to what the three network morning shows did with the brutal and nasty news stories the networks aired on Rev. Ted Haggard this morning, rushing to air with allegations from a gay male prostitute and drug dealer that the Reverend paid him for sex and methamphetamines.
Whatever happened to the networks trying to develop a story and answer investigative questions for themselves before running allegations? It’s four days before the election, and apparently there are conservative Christian voters to demoralize. When female accusers suggested that President Clinton was guilty of sexual harassment or rape – certainly a case of hypocrisy by liberal feminist strictures – the networks and national print media waited, and waited, and waited...
On the heels of reporter Suzanne Malveaux saying "we hope" John Kerry’s gaffe goes away, another CNN employee is letting the personal political opinions fly. New CNN afternoon anchorman Don Lemon interviewed Rev. Jesse Jackson Wednesday on the occasion of his 65th birthday, and after noting Jackson’s adultery and asking pointed questions about whether he’s still relevant, Lemon lauded him as a major historical figure: "But for the most part he is an appreciated person in society, in America, and someone who most African-Americans, at least speaking for myself, think that he has made huge contributions, especially when it comes to civil rights." A few hours later, while informally gathering interviewing Jackson’s daughter Santita and Sen. Barack Obama’s wife Michelle for a chat, Lemon cooed: "Let me get you guys right here. Daughter of the great one who's turning 65. Wife of the great one now."
Who doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong? Yet that essential knowledge, generally assumed to come from parental teaching or religious or legal instruction, could turn out to have a quite different origin.
What follows is several slaps at religion, the Times asserting that religion has nothing to do with morals short of serving as "social enforcers of instinctive moral behavior".
But the Times seems not to understand the entire point of morals and the claims religions make about them. Few religions claim to have created morals by their practices and tenets but are merely re-enforcing what God has already given us. So, contrary to what the Times assumes, no religion, Christian ones especially, claims to have somehow invented morals with their religious ideals. They attribute creation of such to God.
The gossip site Gawker reports CBS is trolling on Craigslist for that reliable species of American weirdo, the traditional family-values Christians who have Islamophobia:
Do you get nervous when you see a Muslim on an airplane? Have your opinions about Muslims changed since September 11? Do you have family or friends that get nervous around Muslims?
A NEW CBS SHOW SEEKS New York families who have traditional family values but are uneasy around Muslims.
The show will profile families in different communities across the country. This one hour documentary-style series from the producers of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and "Deal or No Deal" will take a look at the people and cultures that make up America.
While faux-conservative Democratic candidates like Harold Ford (lifetime ACU: 19) declare repeatedly in public their love for Jesus Christ (a "Jesus-loving, gun-supporting believer," Ford said yesterday), let's remember how the folks at NBC greeted Bush's embrace of Jesus as a philosopher at the dawn of 2000. From our newsletter Notable Quotables, recall how they freaked out on behalf of every religious minority in America:
"Governor Bush, in the last debate when you talked about Jesus being the philosopher-thinker that you most respected, many people applauded you. Others said what role would religion have in the Oval Office with George W. Bush. Fifteen million atheists in this country, five million Jews, five million Muslims, millions more Buddhists and Hindus. Should they feel excluded from George W. Bush because of his allegiance to Jesus?...Would you take an expression like ‘What would Jesus do?’ into the Oval Office?"-- Questions from New Hampshire Republican debate moderator Tim Russert to George W. Bush, January 6, 2000.
Writing a lippy account of a Presbyterian service he had recently attended, Stein belches,
"The first thing I noticed about church was how much like PBS it was. The lighting was dim, the speakers talked slowly, the songs were dated, there were a lot of references to reading material and every so often my eye line was interrupted by envelopes asking me to donate money. Also, I kept falling asleep."
And (bold added),
"I'd never realized how much of a death cult Christianity is. When we weren't fixating on how awesome Christ's murder was, we were singing about how terrific it was going to be when we bite it. Chipper up, Christians! There's a lot to live for. They're making more of those 'Narnia' movies."
In today's Media Notes column, Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz reported just how far Rolling Stone is willing to go on its ultraliberal-hippie crusade against social conservatism: it's hired Matt Taibbi, the writer infamously published by the New York Press for "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope." (As in, "Beetles eating dead Pope's brains." ) Oh, and he wasn't sorry, whatever he says today. He left the Press shortly after his editor, Jeff Koyen, was fired for lack of sense.
The most over-the-top writer by far is Taibbi, 36, the son of NBC correspondent Mike Taibbi. The younger Taibbi's style is such that he often seems to be channeling the late Hunter Thompson. "I used to do a lot of drugs, and I'm a humorist," Taibbi says in acknowledging the comparison.
I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. The same kind of folks who professed to find a non-existent right to abortion on demand in the Constitution have "discovered" another imaginary constitutional provision. According to its editorial this morning:
"The First Amendment, with its injunction that Congress shall make no law restricting religion, carries an implied corollary that churches should not meddle in politics."
The context was the Globe's complaint that Mitt Romney is reaching out for support to his fellow BYU alums who - oh, the horror! - also happen to be his Mormon co-religionists. The Globe sternly warns Romney to "make sure that the church stays out of his nascent presidential campaign."
The midterm elections are approaching and some members of the media are revving up their bias. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann recently suggested that President Bush might be as big a threat as the terrorists. This was only a day after referring to conservative talk show hosts who visited the White House as the "Legion of Doom." CNN’s Jack Cafferty wondered if Karl Rove is planning an "October surprise" to salvage the Republicans’ chances in the midterm elections.
The print media have also offered unrestrained attacks from the left. A "Washington Post" report described House Speaker Dennis Hastert appearance as "a cross between Wildford Brimley and Jabba the Hutt." Nothing quite like objectivity, huh? A former "New York Times" bureau chief recently characterized the Christian right as "fascist." Perhaps he’d been chatting with "Newsweek" columnist Jonathan Alter. Alter told Don Imus he hoped the country has seen the last of "values voters."
The "Today" show fawned over Barack Obama, describing him as "electrifying" and a "rock star." This was on the same day that they giddily predicted a "perfect storm" to wipe out the Republicans in the midterms. Another early AM program, CNN’s "American Morning"encouraged author David Kuo to call for Christians to boycott the upcoming election.
Remember Chris Hedges, the former Times reporter and Middle East bureau chief for the paper who got unplugged for his anti-war ranting at a Rockford College graduation ceremony in 2003?
Here was his stirring opener to the assembled graduates:
“Thank you very much. I want to speak to you today about war and empire. The killing, or at least the worst of it, is over in Iraq, although blood will continue to spill, theirs and ours; be prepared for this. For we are embarking on an occupation that if history is any guide will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security. But this will come later, our empire expands and in all this we become pariahs, tyrants to others weaker than ourselves."
It’s always amusing to see media code words and phrases that seem to say one thing but, upon reflection, end up meaning less than at first thought. Phrases like "sources say" would lead one to imagine whole rafts of insiders are affirming a story's bias when really it is just one disgruntled person as the "source", or words like "many" when it is but a very few are used all the time to inflate the importance of a reporter's bias or justify his story.
The L.A. Times used a classic today in the story titled "Some See 'Pink Purge' in the GOP". Notice the word "some"? What exactly does "some" mean? According to the story "some" seems to be the thought of many Christian Republicans.
There's nothing the MSM loves more than a renegade Republican. The GOP maverick-of-the-MSM-week is David Kuo. He is the former #2 man in the Bush administration's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, and has written a book, Tempting Faith, claiming that the operation was a cynical attempt to woo faith-based voters whom top aides including Karl Rove looked at contemptuously.
Chris Matthews predictably had Kuo on this afternoon's Hardball. At one point, Matthews asked whether President Bush has "used faith to get votes" and then "how about the issues like stem cell - do you think he's using them politically?"
"I think you're conflagrating a couple of different things here."
For the second time in less then 24 hours, CNN featured David Kuo, a vocal Bush critic and the former deputy director of the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. Kuo, who appeared on Tuesday’s "American Morning," has written a book that accuses the White House of using Christian conservatives for political gain and ignoring the issues they care about. Co-Anchor Soledad O’Brien interviewed the author and seemed perturbed that Kuo wouldn’t call for conservatives to boycott the midterm elections:
Soledad O’Brien: "Here's what you write -- you say, 'Christians vote our money, our energy. Every politician needs evangelicals. 'You go on to say, 'It's like a teenaged boy out on a date with a beautiful girl; they'll say anything and everything to get what they want. Let's not give it to them. Let's tell them we are fasting from politics for a season.' Are you saying, stay away from the polls? Three weeks, when we go to the midterm elections, don't vote?"
David Kuo: "Absolutely not."
O’Brien: "What's fasting mean?"
Kuo: "When I'm talking about the fast, I'm talking after the election."
O’Brien: "What kind of a fast is it if you stuff yourself silly and then you go on a fast?"
There was more bad news for the White House on ABC Monday morning. Three weeks before the mid-term congressional elections, 'Good Morning America' chose to highlight the claims of a former White House staffer that Bush administration officials had "mocked" evangelical Christian leaders. Former deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, David Kuo, wrote a book, released today, in which he asserts that administration officials have referred to evangelical leaders as "nuts" and that his office was used to curry favor with "Republican base voters," evangelical Christians, rather than to help the poor.
Co-anchor Robin Roberts and substitute host Chris Cuomo teased the 7:40AM segment, which included a report from Jake Tapper and an interview with Kuo:
Chris Cuomo: "Also this half hour, we have new questions about the White House and the religious right. The faithful helped put Bush in the White House, but did the administration mock evangelicals behind their backs?"
Robin Roberts: "Coming up next, a White House insider blows the whistle, accusing the Bush administration of taking advantage of Christian conservatives."
According to the Times, American houses of worship aren't rendering what is due Caesar.
The New York Times has put an ironic twist on the 8th Commandment: “Thou shalt not steal.” It’s accused churches nationwide of fleecing taxpayers and local governments using the First Amendment.
The Times devoted more than 17,000 words and a four-day series indicting religious groups for what it argued was essentially cheating taxpayers across the country. The pro-government, pro-regulation treatise by business reporter Diana B. Henriques was titled “In God's Name.”
"Pope set to bring Back Latin Mass that divided Church," reads the headline for an October 11 story in the Times of London.
Yeah, that's right. According to the Times of London, Pope Benedict is a divider, not a uniter, because he wants Catholics worldwide to be able to attend Latin Mass without having to jump through hoops to find a parish that celebrates it.
The Catholic Church is catholic, that is, universal. It's all over the world spanning virtually every race, tribe, and tongue. Having a universal prayer language for such a diverse worldwide communion makes sense.
And aside from its historical nature as the language of Catholic prayer, Latin, a dead language, is equally accessible to worshipers from all over the world, regardless of native tongue. In other words, it's equally difficult (and simple) to learn regardless of your background.
So where's the divisiveness, exactly? Well, writes Ruth Gledhill, Times religion correspondent:
Gary Trudeau, creator of the 'Doonesbury' comic strip, says cartoonists should draw the line when it comes to offending people. In an interview published in the Santa Barbara Independent:
Q. What did you make of the Danish cartoon mess? I understand that you said you would never play with the image of Allah. But did you feel you should have done so out of a sense of professional solidarity, or to make a statement about freedom of speech?
A. What exactly would that statement be? That we can say whatever we want in the West? Everyone already knows that. So then the question becomes, should we say whatever we want? That, to me, is the crux. Do you hurt people just because you can? Because you feel they shouldn’t be deeply hurt, does that mean they aren’t? Should the New York Times run vicious caricatures of blacks and Jews just to show the First Amendment in action? At some point, common sense and sensitivity have to be brought to bear.
Mike Luckovich, the liberal cartoonist for "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," earned a chuckle from CNN anchor Miles O’Brien by claiming that "80 percent of the priesthood" is gay. Luckovich, who appeared on the October 6 edition of "American Morning," was promoting his new collection of comic strips, "Four More Wars." O’Brien began by asking the cartoonist about the Foley scandal and then attempted to link it with a plan by the pope to ban homosexuals from serving as priests:
O’Brien: "And why don't you explain this one?"
[Cartoon appears onscreen. One priest is looking at the other and says, "Does this make me look gay?"]
Luckovich: "Well, OK. The new pope wanted to -- wants to ban homosexual priests, so you are going to have to lose 80 percent of the priesthood if that happens. But -- so I've got a bishop here saying -- he's looking down at his vestments, and he's saying, ‘Does this make me look gay?"
O’Brien: [Laughs]: "It's -- well, you know, it is a fashion statement, isn't it? All right. And, of course-"
Luckovich: "Yes. You know, I was thinking -- Miles, I was thinking about maybe making Denny Hastert maybe like an archbishop and somehow, you know, making the comparison that way. I'll let you know if that -- if that works out."
O’Brien: "Oh, okay. That sounds like dangerous turf, but I would like to see that one for sure."