In running down the degree of religious seriousness of a few more recent presidents in an article portraying GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's heavy involvement with Mormonism, Semuels wrote (bold is mine):
“[S]ocial conservatives believe that efforts to protect gays from assault, discrimination or bullying impinge on their religious freedom to express and act on their belief that homosexuality is an abomination. That’s stating it harshly, but it is the underlying belief,” Time religion reporter Amy Sullivan huffed in a November 4 Swampland blog post on the magazine’s website.
“[T]he Michigan legislature is doing its best to make me hang my head in shame,” Sullivan, a “transplanted Michigander” groused, explaining that:
While the liberal media scoffed at George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism" in 1999 and 2000 as gimmicky and insufficient compared to traditional big government social welfare spending binges, they're starting to miss it now.
"I am fairly certain that when Paul Ryan first decided to publicly share his admiration of Ayn Rand, he could not have imagined it would lead to him speed-walking to his SUV to avoid a young Catholic trying to give him a Bible and telling him to pay more attention to the Gospel of Luke," Time's Amy Sullivan snarked in a June 3 Swampland blog post.
The pastor who preached the Easter sermon that Barack Obama heard this past Sunday is not another Jeremiah Wright, Time's Amy Sullivan insists in an April 29 blog "Swampland" blog post entitled "Conservatives Go After Another Obama Pastor."
Sullivan was responding to the complaints of conservative talkers Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, who highlighted some controversial remarks Smith made to a college audience last year:
On Friday afternoon, Time magazine religion reporter Amy Sullivan briefly blogged her complaint about what she sees as hypocrisy from conservatives who oppose federal monies for Planned Parenthood but support federal support for faith-based initiatives.
"Money is Fungible," blared her April 8 Swampland headline. Well, "[o]bviously," she agreed, then carped that:
Rebellious son of infamous 1980s televangelists returns (sort of) to the faith of his parents, pastors a church, but now takes a decidedly liberal tack on the Christian faith.
That's certainly a compelling story for a secular magazine to cover, especially in this Lenten season.
But with her March 15-published interview with Jay Bakker, a self-styled "evangelical punk preacher," Time religion writer Amy Sullivan failed to critically evaluate Bakker's claims or present challenges to Bakker's theology from within the mainstream of orthodox Christian thought.
Indeed,Sullivan seems to sympathize with if not outright agree with Bakker's take on how Scripture can justify his stand on homosexuality (bolded sections are Sullivan's questions, unbolded are Bakker's responses):
When a sitting U.S. congressman's behavior is so erratic and inexplicable that his own staffers want him to get psychiatric care and some of them quit in horror upon his reelection, it's a legitimate news story for national media coverage regardless of the political party of the person involved.
Of course, if the congressman were a Republican, it's difficult to imagine his political affiliation would go unmentioned in any media account.
But the federal legislator in question is Oregon Rep. David Wu, a Democrat.
In a February 23 Swampland blog post for Time.com, Amy Sullivan omitted Wu's political affiliation even as she detailed the troubling behavior he's exhibited over the past few months:
Yesterday I rebuked Time's Jay Newton-Small for falsely characterizing a bill before South Dakota's state legislature that would make it legal to use lethal force against a person attempting to kill an unborn child in the commission of a crime.
"South Dakota is apparently considering legalizing the murder of doctors who perform abortions," Newton-Small complained.
Later yesterday afternoon, Time magazine staffer Amy Sullivan corrected her colleague about the purpose and scope of the legislation, but feared that extremist violence might be encouraged by the state's relatively restrictive abortion laws:
The editors of the mainstream media must think we all have very short memories.
Their latest schtick is to smear conservative talk show host Glenn Beck as a creepy Mormon who has no business influencing evangelicals.
Aside from the disgusting hypocrisy of Mormon-baiting one minute and then bashing Islamophobia the next, these news outlets are also hoping you've forgotten about their recent smearing of evangelicals like Sarah Palin, John Hagee, and James Dobson.
But hey, they shouldn't be held accountable for their own religious bigotry on display in 2008. That was a whole two years ago, and anyway they had a Democrat messiah to protect.
For a flashback at how low the media stooped then, let's review an editorial cartoon shamelessly bashing Pentecostalism that appeared on the Washington Post's website on September 18, 2008:
The number of Americans from all kinds of demographics who are unsure that President Obama is a Christian have grown since he's been in office. For instance, "fewer than half of Democrats (46%) know Obama is a Christian, down from 55% in March 2009. Barely four-in-ten African-Americans say he's a Christian, down from 56% last year," an exasperated Amy Sullivan noted in an August 19 Swampland blog post at Time.com.
So who's fault is that? Conservatives, of course, the religion reporter insisted:
It would also be foolish and naive to pretend that conservatives who call Obama a Muslim are doing it in a neutral way and that their intention is anything other than to raise questions about his "otherness."
Sullivan failed to name which prominent conservatives in particular she felt were responsible for moving public opinion on the president's religious loyalties. But in her zeal to vigorously defend Obama as a follower of Christ, Sullivan concluded by asserting that the White House has to take care to "offset those perceptions [that Obama is secretly a Muslim] with a little more openness about the president's real Christian faith." Perhaps Sullivan was being extremely charitable and wished to avoid rank cynicism, but not once did it occur to her that President Obama might be an agnostic who, like many Americans, nominally associates with the Christian faith because it's a proper thing to do.
When Glenn Beck told listeners of his radio show on March 2 that they should "run as fast as you can" from any church that preached "social or economic justice" because those were code words for Communism and Nazism, he probably thought he was tweaking a few crunchy religious liberals who didn't listen to the show anyway. Instead he managed to outrage Christians in most mainline Protestant denominations, African-American congregations, Hispanic churches, and Catholics--who first heard the term "social justice" in papal encyclicals and have a little something in their tradition called "Catholic social teaching. (Not to mention the teaching of a certain fellow from Nazareth who was always blathering on about justice...)
So to whom did Sullivan turn for complaints about Beck's characterization? Some theologically conservative Catholic theologian? A conservative Protestant theologian like Baptist seminary president Al Mohler or Presbyterian theologian R.C. Sproul?
Nope. She highlighted two stalwarts of social gospel-oriented liberal Christianity:
Sullivan did some number crunching and found that, due to concerns about a lack of a restriction on abortion spending in the Senate bill, Pelosi may end up being a few votes shy of the threshold to pass the legislation.
Sullivan's advice to the Speaker? She just needs to moderate her testy tone to dupe enough pro-life Democrats to voting for a bill that lacks the Stupak amendment which was passed in the House version of the bill (emphasis mine):
Time's Amy Sullivan has little use for moderate Senate Democrats throwing up any semblance of a road block, nay, even a speed bump, to ObamaCare, especially if it entails pro-life measures which would keep abortion from being covered by the taxpayer-subsidized government option.
"What is it about those Nebraska governors-turned-senators?" Sullivan huffed in the beginning of her December 8 Swampland blog post. "Did they not get enough attention as children? Do they chafe at being told they hail from a 'flyover' state? Does that unicameral legislature leave too few adoring supporters?"
Sullivan's ire was directed at Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson (D), who along with Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) has offered a pro-life amendment to the Democratic health care reform bill that Sullivan insists is all but doomed to fail and which is not likely a deal-breaker for either Sens. Nelson nor Casey when it comes to final passage:
Last week the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to U.S. Senators about current health reform legislation. The USCCB has supported the goal of universal health coverage for decades, but the letter made clear that they do not yet support the Senate Finance Committee's bill because of concerns about affordability, coverage for immigrants, and financing for abortion. I'd like to focus on that last point, because I think it's here that the bishops may be moving the goalposts on what they can and cannot accept.
Sullivan lamented that the bishops are not accepting the word of the Obama administration as the gospel truth when it comes to abortion:
A year ago Time magazine's David Van Biema wrote up a short, favorable take on the so-called Green Bible, an edition based on the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) that placed "green references" in "a pleasant shade of forest green, much as red-letter editions of the Bible encrimson the words of Jesus." But wait, there's more, The Green Bible also includes "supplementary writings" several of which "cite the Genesis verse in which God gives humanity 'dominion' over the earth" and "Others [which] assert that eco-neglect violates Jesus' call to care for the least among us: it is the poor who inhabit the floodplains."
Even though The Green Bible is risible both from a commercial standpoint as a marketing ploy and theologically as a bastardization of the real heart of Christian doctrine, neither charge was entertained as a valid criticism by the Time staffer. Van Biema even hinted that evangelicals, 54 percent of whom "agreed that 'stricter environmental laws and regulations are worth the cost'" might embrace the translation despite strong reservations from conservative theologians.
One sign your news magazine might be out of touch with average Americans is when you take a look at abstinence-only sex ed guidelines and declare that, in the Obama administration's hands, it's "not the end of the world."
Time's Amy Sullivan, however, aims to reassure skittish liberals weary of the Bush administration's socially conservative tack on sex ed funding:
Time’s Amy Sullivan seems to have a special assignment to try and play up the religiosity of liberal Democrats despite their libertine policy stands, from Barack Obama to Ted Kennedy. On Thursday, Sullivan underlined "Ted Kennedy’s Quiet Catholic Faith." How does that match with his ultraliberal political record on abortion and homosexuality, his perfect 100-percent scores with NARAL or the Human Rights Campaign? Sullivan simply ignores that obvious problem.
(HRC’s YouTube channel proudly shows Kennedy suggesting Jesse Helms might be in Hell at a March 2008 dinner. So much for Christian charity.)
Kennedy "fully embraced" the Catholic Church, Sullivan claimed:
Kennedy only fully embraced Catholicism later in life, particularly after marrying his second wife. Vicki Kennedy was one of a handful of prominent Catholic Democrats who strongly urged John Kerry to defend questions about his faith during the 2004 presidential campaign, and she served as a surrogate for the Obama campaign in 2008 in heavily Catholic areas.
Time’s Amy Sullivan, who worked tirelessly to sell Barack Obama as an acceptable choice for Bible-toting Evangelicals -- a choice that most evangelicals didn't accept -- reported Obama has refused to pick a D.C. church as his religious home. In his latest move copying George W. Bush, he’s going to designate the Evergreen Chapel at Camp David as his official church. Now go away, she insists to people still disturbed by his longtime pastor Jeremiah Wright.
She quotes Obama religion adviser Vashti McKenzie: "Everybody needs to just back off and settle down. Let him choose where he's comfortable, choose where he and his family are going to be spiritually fed, and then let it be his choice." Sullivan added her own "Amen."
Between the lines, a cynic can see all the political convenience on display: no flashy minister, and not much ministerial contact either:
Time magazine’s senior editor Amy Sullivan, who, like most of her peers in the mainstream media, is an amateur when it comes to religion, twice implied in May that the pro-life Catholics in the U.S. who are upset about President Obama’s recent commencement address at Notre Dame are more Catholic than Pope Benedict XVI. In a May 16, 2009 article on Time.com, Sullivan, the former aide to Democrat Tom Daschle, and the author of an entire book on how Democrats could appeal to Christians, snarked that the Pope “may find his next trip to the U.S. dogged by airplanes overhead trailing banners with images of aborted fetuses,” due to his purported silence on the matter.
Less than a week later on May 21, after outlining on Time’s “Swampland” blog that the semi-official Vatican news has been “calm” and “fairly positive” towards the Democratic president, “in stark contrast to the furious reaction of many conservative Catholics here,” the editor quipped, “Uh, oh. It sounds like the Vatican newspaper ‘doesn’t understand what it means to be Catholic.’” Sullivan, like the rest of the media, was also selective in the articles she chose to emphasize from the newspaper.
Dear religious pro-life Catholics, get over yourselves. Signed, Amy Sullivan.
Okay, I'm paraphrasing, but the Time magazine staffer practically expressed those sentiments in two April 30 Swampland blog posts wherein she suggests that even the pope wouldn't mind hanging out with Obama on stage at Notre Dame when he accepts his honorary doctorate later this month.
[Ed Henry's press conference] question is a misstatement of Obama's campaign pledge to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that "the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act." Of course, before Obama could sign the bill, Congress would have to first pass it. And he's never expressed the hope that Congress drop what it's doing and prioritize FOCA.
Less than an hour later, Sullivan sought to marginalize conservative Catholics who are disturbed by Notre Dame honoring the very pro-choice President Obama:
George W. Bush has said nothing negative about his media-worshiped successor in the Oval Office. Yet that doesn't stop the liberal mainstream media for mocking the former president out of the blue -- while ignoring Obama gaffes -- for events that happened on his watch years ago.
The latest example, Time's Amy Sullivan, on the magazine's Swampland blog today entitled, "Quote of the Day":
Amy Sullivan’s article on Time.com on Thursday, “The Catholic Crusade Against a Mythical Abortion Bill,” tried to downplay President Obama’s past and current support for abortion, and tried to use a technicality to “prove” that there is no chance of passage for the staunchly pro-abortion Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA): “...FOCA has also provided ammunition for those on the right who want to paint Obama as ‘the most pro-abortion president ever.’ It’s been less than a month since he took office, but so far the President has given social conservatives little evidence to back up that charge. He did repeal the Mexico City policy banning federal funds to foreign family planning organizations that provide abortion referrals or services — but so did Bill Clinton.” In reality, the Obama adminstration’s record on the issue consists of much more than merely support for legislative proposals and signing executive orders.
Hat-tipping gay blogger Andrew Sullivan, Time's Amy Sullivan (no relation) expressed impatience at the Obama administration for not moving yet on ending the ban on openly gay personnel serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Sullivan is chagrined that a Kansas National Guardsman was reportedly discharged after Army brass discovered her MySpace page in which she declared she is a lesbian.
It would be funny if the subject matter wasn't the destruction of unborn children in the womb. Time magazine's Amy Sullivan asked in a Swampland blog post headline from February 4: "Barack Obama, Pro-Life President?"
Sullivan's evidence? Well, the president has picked a Pentecostal preacher -- who once worked for a New Jersey Congressman with a 100% score by NARAL Pro-Choice America -- to head his faith-based initiatives office and "abortion reduction" is one of the major stated goals of one of the president's advisory boards:
Lamenting that there's no legal recourse against factually inaccurate political advertising, Time's Amy Sullivan scoffed at the notion that voters are smart enough toweigh campaign ads with a grain of salt. But her language seems to suggest not only that American voters are dumb, but that government regulation, not journalistic vigilance, would be the only long-term solution.
In a country with a free press, after all, journalists are able to fact-check campaign advertisements and let voters know when claims are exaggerated or misleading. What does it matter if McCain says Obama would impose a new tax burden on middle-class families or if Obama claims that McCain proposed abolishing the Department of Education? Candidates lie, fact-checkers out them, and voters have all the information they need to make their choices.
In "Kilpatrick Out, a Boost for Obama?", Time's Amy Sullivan explores the question of whether the resignation of the Democratic Detroit mayor will help the Obama ticket's chances in the swing state of Michigan. Sullivan relays that the Obama camp is "thrilled" by the end of the Kilpatrick saga, which had "damaged an already weakened Democratic brand in Michigan."
Yet as NewsBusters has docmented time and again, the national media has largely ignored the Kilpatrick scandal, and often omitted his Democratic party affiliation and Democratic superdelegate status when it has.
Indeed, even local papers with undoubtedly great familiarity with Kilpatrick's Democratic Party credentials have ignored his party label in news reporting. From my colleague Jacob Lybbert's blog entry earlier today:
Time magazine writer Amy Sullivan, the former Tom Daschle aide, has been one of the media elite’s most enthusiastic evangelists for the implausible idea of Democrats closing the "God gap" among Christians (including a book titled The Party Faithful). This leads to all kinds of aerobically biased writing. But the latest article was truly ridiculous, headlined "An Antichrist Obama in McCain Ad?"
She began: "It's not easy to make the infamous Willie Horton ad from the 1988 presidential campaign seem benign. But suggesting that Barack Obama is the Antichrist might just do it." The first problem for Sullivan: The people who made the Willie Horton ad used his name and picture. Trying to locate the the Antichrist in this comedic ad is like trying to find little orange Oompa Loompas. It takes an overactive imagination.
Can those rascally Republicans once again dupe otherwise well-educated, smart pro-choice women into sacrificing their womb on the altar of Republican presidential power?!
That's the sentiment you might expect from deep within the bowels of NARAL Pro-Choice America or Planned Parenthood, but it was essentially the question that Time's Amy Sullivan posed in her June 23 article, "Will Pro-Choice Women Back McCain?"
Sullivan's thesis boiled down to this: pro-life Republican candidates do as well as they do with some pro-choice voters because they throw out some bones trot out their pro-choice spouses and pro-choice feature speakers at Republican conventions to throw pro-choice Republicans and independents a bone, while Democrats are ham-handed in their efforts to downplay their pro-choice policies (emphasis mine):
For decades now, the national media have insisted in each presidential election cycle that voters should ignore the liberal wizards hiding behind the curtain of the Democratic Party. Each plausible Democratic presidential contender is a "moderate" or "centrist," be he Walter Mondale or Michael Dukakis or John Kerry. But now to describe Hillary Clinton as a "moral conservative" is so upside down and backwards it sounds like.... "This is your brain on drugs."
That’s what Time reporter Amy Sullivan announced on Tucker Carlson’s show on MSNBC. She suggested Hillary might be "fairly liberal" on economic issues, "but she’s a moral conservative." Sullivan was once an aide to Sen. Tom Daschle. In Hillary Clinton, Sullivan has allegedly found an authentic Christian conservative’s role model.