Over the weekend in Columbus, Ohio, American Episcopalians elected a female as a new presiding bishop for America, Katherine Jefforts Schori of Nevada. The news media greeted this in typical terms: female bishop (no liberal ideology listed) selected, angering church "conservatives." (Ann Curry did that on NBC this morning.) Dig a little deeper, and find that of course, the new bishop delights the libertine left, as the Washington Post reported Monday:
The Rev. Jennifer Adams, who presides at Grace Episcopal Church, which is deemed "gay friendly" by the Grand Rapids, Mich., branch of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, described Jefferts Schori at the convention as "a woman of integrity, consistency and faith. I have no doubt her election as presiding bishop will be a gift to our church."
Feminists hailed the selection of Jefferts Schori, who holds degrees in divinity as well as in oceanography and biology, as an important step toward achieving gender equality.
"Justice comes along slowly, but it eventually comes along," said Gloria Feldt, an author and women's rights leader, in an interview yesterday.
Integrity USA, a group representing gay Episcopalians, also lauded the church's decision.
Now why does Post reporter Juliet Eilperin quote Gloria Feldt? Is she a believing Episcopalian, or just a "women's rights leader"? (She's best known, of course, as the longtime president of Planned Parenthood.) It is true that gay Bishop Gene Robinson spoke supportively at a meeting of Feldt's Planned Parenthood folks in 2005. But her official biography makes no mention of her religious faith (although it does say she's "part Mae West," whatever that means.) She's even been honored by the God-spurning American Humanist Association.
What Eilperin is doing here is common for the liberal media: the female bishop is not only a landmark for religion, in their eyes, but a landmark for society in general: hence quoting non-religious experts for praise.
Another sign of the Post's tendency to equate feminism with "women" as a whole occurred on the front page. In an encouraging story from David Fahrenthold about the decline in the rate of rape in the United States, support for the argument that this is real good news, and not some statistical blip, is the leader of NOW:
"Overall, there has clearly been a decline over the last 10 to 20 years," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. "It's very liberating for women, in terms of now being able to be more free and more safe."
It is certainly true that NOW opposes rape. But they are not representative of women as a whole. Conservative and Republican women (and men, too) also oppose rape, even if that amazes Tom Brokaw. Imagine the liberal reaction if the Post reporter tried using Concerned Women for America's Wendy Wright as the sole and unlabeled advocate against sexual violence against women, and you'll get the point.