A group that "celebrate[s] the inherent goodness of adolescent sexuality" and calls for clergy to "speak out against... coercive parental notification and consent for reproductive health services" has just released a study that concludes by calling on American theological seminaries to go over the birds and bees with their students.
Yet in reporting on the study by the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing, Chicago Tribune's Manya Brachear failed to label the group as liberal or to find conservative theologians to dispute its arguments. [Click here for our archive on Brachear]
The conservative movement lost a great intellectual voice on Thursday. The Reverend Richard John Neuhaus died due to complications from cancer at the age of 72. Neuhaus, a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of New York, was a well-known pro-life advocate, and founded First Things in 1990, a periodical focused on advancing “a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.”
...[We] have lost one of America's leading public intellectuals, a man of profound wisdom and learning, and a great champion for the unborn. It was Father Neuhaus, along with his dear, long-time friend George Weigel and just a handful of others like Michael Novak, who not only championed the pro-life cause for so many years, but who gave the rest of us both the grounding and the vocabulary to speak on this issue.
By now, many readers know the New York Times's definition of a "good Catholic."
A good NYT Catholic doesn't necessarily need to go to Church very often. He or she focuses on the importance of alleviating poverty and other world problems, almost invariably through government handout programs and not individual or private charity. Despite the long standing of "just war" guidance, this person opposes all wars, no matter what is at stake. Finally, this person either keeps their yap shut about abortion and sexuality, or mouths platitudes like, "I'm personally against abortion, but ...." Such Catholics, if they are politicians, routinely defend their support of abortion on demand with such platitudes.
Those who run the Ave Maria family of mutual funds don't see things that way. They offer a group of mutual funds that, in their words, invest "in companies that do not violate core teachings of the Catholic Church." Accordingly, they "screen out companies associated with abortion and pornography," and apparently invest in other companies so-called politically correct (but often not orthodoxally correct) Catholics might not like.
Apparently because the funds have run radio ads, the Times's editorial board (as if it's their business) told readers at its blog that it doesn't like Ave Maria's approach. You'll also see in the bolded text that the editorialists fancy themselves to be Biblical experts:
Tomaso noted that Fr. Ron Elliott describes himself as "very pro-life" but that after reviewing the books in question "he didn't find anything objectionable" and will hence return the books to the shelves "in February or March" as Elliott noted, "after the dust kind of settles."
At that point Tomaso couldn't refuse the impulse to add an editorial quip:
CNN sided against the expansion of health care workers’ right to not participate in controversial medical procedures like abortion and in-vitro fertilization during a report on Friday’s Newsroom program by including only one pro-life voice amongst several statements and clips from pro-abortion groups. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the chief medical correspondent for the network, also criticized this expansion, which was recently made by the Department of Health and Human Services: “...[I]t’s a bit of a slippery slope. I mean, when you say, I’m not going to provide care based on my own conscience...you can imagine that opens up a whole wide range of possibilities, in terms of what is going to be treated and what is not.”
Gupta began the report, which aired 22 minutes into the 10 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, by immediately trying to cast doubt on the need for the new regulation from the HHS, which protects the right of conscience of health care workers, so they aren’t forced to participate in any procedure they object to: “There were laws already in the books, but these laws are stronger, and they involved all health care workers -- so doctors, nurses, anybody who works in a hospital can decide that they can refuse care -- they can refuse access, consults, referrals, and without any discrimination against them. And they can do this based on their conscience.”
At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith teased a segment on the controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s decision to have pastor Rick Warren deliver the invocation at the inauguration: "Barack Obama angers gay rights groups by choosing Rick Warren to give his inaugural invocation." Later Smith brought on Dr. Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas and David Corn of the liberal Mother Jones magazine to debate the issue, declaring: "President-elect Barack Obama has ignited a firestorm of controversy by selecting conservative Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. Warren is an outspoken critic of gay marriage and that has angered many of Obama's liberal supporters."
Later, Smith turned to Jeffress and wondered why Warren would agree to speak at Obama’s inauguration. Jeffress replied: "But I want to say, to me, it's just unbelievable to think that because Rick Warren believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman, somehow that characterizes him as a hate-mongerand makes him unfit to pray at the inauguration. I mean, this sounds like bizzaro world to me-" At that point, Smith interrupted: "Well, excuse me, excuse me though, this is a serious civil rights issue in this country."
Barack Obama has selected Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the president-elect's inauguration.
Based on yesterday's New York Times story about this and other inauguration decisions, you would think that complaints about Warren's selection represent a mere tempest in a teapot. The Times devoted all of one sentence (bolded) to the controversy:
Barack Obama has selected the Rev. Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor and author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, a role that positions Mr. Warren to succeed Billy Graham as the nation’s pre-eminent minister and reflects the generational changes in the evangelical Christian movement.
..... The choice of Mr. Warren, pastor of a megachurch in Orange County, Calif., is an olive branch to conservative Christian evangelicals. Mr. Warren is an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage — litmus-test issues for Christian conservatives. In fact, his selection set off a round of criticism by gay rights groups angered by his support for California’s ban on same-sex marriages.
Though O.J. Simpson was sentenced for robbery and related crimes yesterday, thirteen years ago he walked on a double-murder charge. That might be an isolated case, but Gail Collins apparently believes there are tens of millions of murderers roaming free in America. We call them by a different name: hunters.
Collins made her inane hunting = murder analogy in her column today in the course of taking one more gratuitous swipe at Sarah Palin. The gist of The Senate, Snowe and Dinkytown is that in a Senate where Democrats will fall one or two seats short of the magic 60, the few moderate Senate Republicans will play a crucial role. Collins focuses in particular on Olympia Snowe of Maine. And while wondering why McCain didn't choose her as his running mate, the columnist gets off her smear on Palin, and hunters in general [emphasis added]:
On Tuesday night’s Campbell Brown show, CNN raised liberal worries about the Bush administration’s plan in the final days to broaden the conscience clause for medical professionals who object to performing abortion and sterilization procedures. But Randi Kaye’s report questioning a Catholic doctor in Virginia for daring to refuse to provide "care" (translation: abortion or contraceptives) to female patients was most notable for its lack of timeliness: the interviews are now more than a year old, first appearing on Anderson Cooper 360 on November 26, 2007. CNN did not disclose to viewers that its story was largely a rerun.
On Sunday’s Chris Matthews Show, host Matthews led the panel in a discussion over whether conservatives would choose to cooperate with the Obama administration in making "historic changes" to repair the economy, rather than stand in opposition to his programs. The premise of the discussion seemed to be that times are too serious for conservatives to dare dissent from Obama’s plans. At one point, David Ignatius of the Washington Post suggested that "thoughtful" Republicans will work with Obama as he referred to John McCain’s concession speech. Ignatius: "I thought that John McCain set the tone for thoughtful Republicans in his concession speech election night, where he reached out to Obama. He was remarkably generous. One of the best speeches he's ever made, in my book."
As he teased the show, Matthews seemed to wonder if Republicans would try to stand in the way of Obama accomplishing "great things," or if they would see the light and cooperate. Matthews: "Will the mountain of crises our country faces make Barack Obama do great things? And with all the crises, will even Republicans see historic steps are required?"
In the interview for Wednesday’s Barbara Walters Special on ABC with Barack and Michelle Obama, excerpts of which were also shown on Wednesday’s World News with Charles Gibson, Walters asked few questions that put the Obamas on the defensive, in contrast with her January 2001 interview, aired on 20/20, with then-President-elect Bush in which she challenged him on a number of fronts. Most notably, she seemed to chide Bush for choosing John Ashcroft as Attorney General because he "openly opposes abortion," and claimed that Ashcroft was "not considered a friend to civil rights." She asked Bush about reports that, as governor of Texas, he "spent relatively little time studying specific issues," and "only does a few hours of work" a day. The ABC host also challenged Bush from the left on the trade embargo against Cuba, and even asked Laura Bush if her more "traditional" plans for her time as First Lady would be a "setback for women." It is also noteworthy that Walters asked Bush about his plans for dealing with Saddam Hussein and cited "people in the know" who contended that the Iraqi dictator was "stronger than ever."
On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer referred to a Catholic cardinal’s criticism of Barack Obama’s abortion position as a "scathing rant" and a "diatribe." A CNN graphic also used the "scathing rant" term, and Blitzer later referred to the cardinal’s words as a "blistering rant."
All three of these terms came during Blitzer’s promos for a report by CNN correspondent Brian Todd, which focused on recent comments made by Cardinal James Francis Stafford, who referred to Obama’s pro-abortion stance as "aggressive, disruptive, and apocalyptic." Just before the top of the 5 pm Eastern hour, Blitzer gave the following promo for the segment: "Also, a scathing rant against Barack Obama from a rather surprising source, a Roman Catholic cardinal -- the story behind his diatribe against the president-elect." Ten minutes later, the CNN anchor gave another promo for Todd’s report, in which he stated that the cardinal unleashed "a blistering rant on the president-elect."
The plot surrounding Father Jay Scott Newman's admonishment to Barack Obama-supporting parishoners has thickened.
On Friday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted news that Fr. Newman, a Catholic priest and pastor at St. Mary's Church in Greenville, South Carolina, had informed parishoners who voted for Barack Obama in full knowledge of the Illinois Senator's aggressively proabortion positions that they "should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance."
This is not a controversial position, but rather, as shown at BizzyBlog earlier today, bedrock Catholic teaching, to the point where if you vote for a known proabortion presidential candidate or any other candidate in a position to meaningfully influence the law and do not repent, you're not a legitimate practicing Catholic. Period.
Well, it turns out that Father Newman originally had the full support of Monsignor Martin T. Laughlin, the acting administrator of the Diocese of Charleston, which currently does not have a bishop. But two days later, Msgr. Laughlin reprimanded Fr. Newman in what appeared to be fairly harsh terms (they really weren't; I'll get to that).
CBS News has found a Greenville, S.C., Roman Catholic priest who has warned any and all of his Obama-voting parishioners to repent of voting for the Illinois Democrat before taking Communion, owing to the president-elect's "stance on abortion."
Yet in reporting the November 14 story on its Web site, CBS News failed to ever mention by name the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), the signing of which Obama famously declared would be a top priority in his presidency.
Why wasn't there more of this before the election?
The headline at a Greenville, SC News story carried at USA Today says, "Priest urges penance for Obama voters."
Father Jay Scott Newman is actually demanding it of those who would claim to be faithful Catholics. In the process, he is also stating longstanding Church policy on abortion that has largely been absent from Sunday pre-election homilies at Catholic churches for at least a half-dozen presidential election cycles -- policy that Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and other politicians who claim to be Catholic have long ignored (bolds are mine):
Perhaps Luke Russert should drop his NBC gig as youth-vote specialist and become a full-time Republican consultant. The son of the late Meet The Press host didn't hesitate this evening to share his advice to the GOP, which can be summarized in two words: go left.
The 23-year old Russert dropped his pearls of electoral wisdom while chatting with the hard-working Mika Brzezinski, guest-hosting for David Gregory on this evening's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after co-anchoring Morning Joe at the crack of dawn.
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez actually complimented NewsBusters on Wednesday afternoon for monitoring his Newsroom program: "...[T]he NewsBusters website, which constantly monitors this show -- and we're glad that they do -- questioned my conversation -- criticized it with Neal Boortz. In particular, our suggestion that the GOP needs to remain adamantly anti-abortion, to try and keep the Southern vote" He later thanked the MRC’s blog for watching.
The short segment, which began 23 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, examined "the critics and compliment" of his newscast, as the on-screen graphic put it. Sanchez mentioned how "once the show concludes, I start getting all these Google alerts about what's being written about us, and every day, people are writing after they watch our newscast. We're giving them plenty of material."
In her November 12 article, Washington Post staffer Jacqueline L. Salmon reported on how Catholic bishops are describing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) as "an attack on the church." Yet it's not so much an attack on the church, but an attack on the sanctity of human life and the provision of hospital care that the Catholic bishops are worried about.
Nonetheless, the headline wording choice -- "Bishops Call Obama-Supported Abortion Rights Bill a Threat to Catholic Church" -- and Salmon's lead paragraph practically painted the Catholic bishops' dispute as, well, parochial.
Salmon waited until 10 paragraphs into the 18-paragraph article to cite one bishop's concern about the future of Catholic medicine in America:
During a segment on Tuesday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez asked South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford if the Republican needed to abandon its social conservative principles in order to be successful again:
"Do you have to be anti-abortion, because that's a very important, big topic in the South..?" Sanchez later asked the Republican governor, as well as talk show host Neal Boortz, "Can you be a fiscal Republican and a social conservative Republican at the same time without making one side mad..?"
Sanchez had both Sanford and Boortz on to discuss the upcoming Republican Governors’ Association meeting in Florida. The CNN anchor first brought up a recent New York Times article, with its accompanying exaggerated map, about conclusions that the Democratic Party might draw from the recent election: "You know, as you look at this map and you start to look at the South, there was some suggestion in that New York Times article, for example, that maybe Democrats are going to get from this that you know what, they can win in the future without the South."
A lot of liberal media bias boils down to word choice and the loaded connotations they can bring in service of a liberal slant. The headline for a November 11 Baltimore Sun story about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was no different.
"Bishop denounces U.S. abortion rights" read the loaded headline, which evokes in readers the sense of a stern cleric inveighing against a "woman's right to choose" rather than concerned clergy worried about the loss of life and trauma to pregnant mothers caused by abortion.
The article itself gave a more nuanced portrait than the stark headline announced, reporting that Francis Cardinal George expressed his concern in terms of the incoming Obama administration's record on "social justice" and "universal human rights":
"Controversial." "Onerous." "Ideologically offensive." These are the words used by Washington Post reporters Ceci Connolly and R. Jeffrey Smith to describe the pro-life policies of President George W. Bush. The liberal slam came in an article about some of the early actions President-elect Obama will take when he is inaugurated next year.
"Obama Positioned to Quickly Reverse Bush Actions" was carried in the November 9 edition of the Post. The story revealed that Obama is "now consulting with liberal advocacy groups" in order to create a hit list of "the most onerous or ideologically offensive" regulatory and policy initiatives of the Bush administration. Two of the top three initiatives singled out in the Post's story are pro-life: embryonic stem cell research and abortion funding. The other is global warming.
There really are no words, though I suppose we'll manage to find some. Wonkette, which bills itself as "the DC Gossip," and is the creation of Ana Marie Cox, now gone on to bigger things at Time, has this photograph up of Trig Palin, dressed for Halloween as an elephant and being held in the loving embrace of one of his sisters. [H/t Damian at Conservathink.]
Wonkette appends its comment, suggesting—and there really is no way to sugar coat it—that given the choice Trig would rather have been aborted:
NBC's Brian Williams surely made the abortion lobby smile this week when he asked Sarah Palin in an interview, "Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist?" There's few things that abortion defenders love more than painting pro-lifers as violent bombers, arsonists, and assassins. But reality paints a different picture. The facts (pdf):
There have been zero murders of abortionists and abortion clinic workers in the United States and Canada this decade. The last "attempted murder" was eight years ago, in 2000.
There were zero such murders in the United States and Canada between 1973 and 1992.
There has been one bombing of an abortion clinic so far this decade.
Students that belong to a pro-life campus group called Cornell Coalition for Life (CCFL) spent weeks and hundreds of dollars organizing a pro-life display to be featured on the Cornell University Engineering Campus in Ithaca, New York. This was no guerilla campaign, either, because the CCFL applied for and received permission for its display. Yet, scarcely an hour had passed before an associate dean for the university summarily decided on her own to support the removal of the display by an administrative assistant despite that the display was approved by the college. This incident happened on October 22, yet the media has completely ignored this troubling story.
The CCFL had erected its "Elena Campaign" signs in the Engineering Quad to raise awareness among students of the earlier stages of fetal development, stages when many falsely imagine that a fetus is just a "lump of cells." As the CCFL says, its "Elena Campaign" is "a series of light-hearted educational signs with pictures and text detailing the biological development of an unborn child."
The CCFL reports that regardless of approval, the dean and her assistant removed the display.
In an error-ridden op-ed in Friday's Los Angeles Times (10/17/08), Pepperdine law professor Douglas Kmiec makes the outrageous claim that Barack Obama "has held himself out as a bridge builder" on the issue of abortion. Kmiec then advances a fallacious case that a faithful Catholic can vote in clear conscience for Barack Obama.
A "bridge builder" on abortion? Is Kmiec kidding?? Consider:
Obama has forcefully vowed that his very first act as President would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). FOCA claims a "fundamental right" to abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy, and no government body at any level would be able to "deny or interfere with" this right. Even the pro-choice NOW readily acknowledges that FOCA would literally "sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies."
In an October 16 Web exclusive today, Newsweek's Sarah Kliff looked at the "chorus of disapproval" that met Sen. John McCain's use of air quotes when dismissing the "health of the mother" exception that swallows the rule in some late-term abortion bans. Of course Kliff hit her readers with complaints from such unbiased, neutral observers as Chris Matthews and NARAL Pro-Choice America, which endorsed Sen. Obama in May. She concluded by citing a pro-choice Biden backer insisting that pro-lifers would be turned off too.
Kliff then went on to dive into what the health exception is in federal case law and conceded that:
McCain is correct when he suggests that the law does not specify which conditions or complications should be included in the legal definition of what constitutes a threat to the mother's health. That decision is left up to the doctor.
"Last night I thought it was very poor, quite frankly. I thought he had opportunity after opportunity to go after Barack Obama. I don't know why he held back," noted MRC President Brent Bozell in his October 16 appearance on FNC's "Fox & Friends." [audio version available here]
Reacting to co-host Steve Doocy suggesting that McCain may have "made the case" to sway some undecided voters, Bozell strongly disagreed:
No. I think he had great opportunities to score bigger points. Take the abortion issue, and by the way, I'm glad finally that issue was raised by a moderator. On abortion, Barack Obama's record is perfectly clear. He is in favor of every form of abortion imaginable. He's in favor of taking off all restrictions on abortion. He's in favor of federally-funded abortion, meaning you and I will pay for all the abortions in America. And John McCain never made that point.
On Sunday, October 12, CBS wrapped up its "Evening News" with the apparently charming scoop that Sister Cecilia Gaudette, a 106-year-old Catholic nun living in Rome, would cast her first presidential ballot since 1952...for Barack Obama. That’s one more evening-news story than CBS has devoted to Obama’s radical legislative record on abortion.
Try this on for size: ABC, CBS, and NBC together have unloaded more than a thousand stories on Obama’s presidential campaign, and we’re still waiting for the first broadcast network TV story devoted to examining Obama’s abortion record.
CBS’s man in Rome, Allen Pizzey, packaged his story without the slightest interest into inquiring as to why this Catholic nun would vote for a candidate who is clearly the nation’s fervent advocate of abortion. Instead, Pizzey chose to...ooze. "She has a simple, old-fashioned standard for politicians," Pizzey proclaimed, before giving the good nun the opportunity for her on-air national endorsement of Barack Obama: "A good straight man; good private life, honest and politically able to govern, of course."
Patrick Healy's "Political Memo" today in the New York Times portrays Sarah and Todd Palin as pro-choice by misreporting what the Alaska governor said recently about when she was pregnant with son Trig. Here's how Healy reported remarks Palin made Saturday during a campaign rally in Johnstown, PA:
Kathy Seals, a Republican voter who attended the Richmond event, said she admired Ms. Palin for “unabashedly speaking the truth, especially about life and the choices she made about her baby, Trig, and with her daughter.” Ms. Palin’s infant son, who has Down syndrome, is a frequent presence in his mother’s left arm as she shakes hands with supporters and moves from event to event.
Her references to her son are the most personal part of her speech, as she describes being scared when she first learned that the baby would have special needs. She and her husband, Todd, talked, prayed, reflected and ultimately decided to have the child.
An unsigned article on CNN.com about Sarah Palin’s rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on Saturday failed to mention the Alaska governor’s attack on Barack Obama’s votes against the Illinois Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, and quickly tried the change the subject to the recent "Troopergate" finding against her after its first sentence: "Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin charged into the culture wars Saturday in Pennsylvania, painting Sen. Barack Obama as a radical on abortion rights. The stop comes amid news that Palin violated Alaska ethics law by trying to get her former brother-in-law fired from the state police, a state investigator's report for the bipartisan Legislative Council concluded Friday."
The CNN article then continued about the apparent divisiveness of the abortion issue: "Ethics woes aside, Palin focused her attention on abortion -- an issue that rallies the conservative base but some say alienates independent and women voters." After quoting from some of the governor’s comments at the rally, the anonymous writer tried to spin the significance of her bringing up the issue: "Palin has mostly avoided raising her opposition to abortion rights on the campaign trail since she was tapped as Sen. John McCain's running mate, a fact she readily acknowledged in her remarks. But Palin said Obama's record on the matter is too extreme to be ignored, and she spent 10 minutes of her 30-minute speech discussing abortion."