While the media are fixated on the ire gay activists are directing at the president-elect for selecting Prop 8 proponent Rick Warren to give the invocation at the Obama inaugural, I've noticed little attention given to the fact that the man selected to give the benediction is pretty much the polar opposite of Warren on some key doctrinal matters related to homosexuality.
Rev. Joseph Lowery, a liberal United Methodist minister, has mostly been referred to in the media in connection to his work in co-founding the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, one of the key organizations in the civil rights movement. Yet freezing Lowery in time as an icon of the 1960s civil rights era doesn't do justice to his status as a vocal clerical advocate of same-sex marriage and openly gay clergy.
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:
My colleague Tim Graham and I have found over the years that religion reporting in the secular media is often lacking any exploration of the one thing most of us who actually geek out over religion news want to see given attention in the press: theological disputes. After all, what's the point of having a reporter cover religion if you're not going to have him or her go into the substantial theological battle lines drawn in a given church or denomination.
In her June 11 article, "Southern Baptists Elect New Leader," Washington Post's Jacqueline Salmon completely failed to report on such a major theological implication in the Protestant denomination's election of the Rev. Johnny M. Hunt as convention president.True to liberal media form, Salmon boiled down Hunt and his supporters as the "fundamentalist wing" who are "hard line on the inerrancy of scripture" and opposed to the more relaxed "young reformers" who have questioned the old line Baptists on "its bans on alcohol consumption and female pastors."
Yet Salmon neglected one major theological debate roiling in the SBC that is part of a wider centuries-old conflict: Calvinism vs. Arminianism. Wrote Christianity Today's Ted Olsen in a June 10 post:
With Pope Benedict back in Rome, the media are rendering their verdict of the pontiff's U.S. visit. The pontiff did "better than expected" seems to be the verdict coming from secular journalists, who, of course, found that the pontiff bested the low expectations of unnamed "experts."
NEW YORK, April 20 -- After thanking the United States for his "many memorable experiences of American hospitality," Pope Benedict XVI headed back to Rome on Sunday night, ending a six-day visit in which he directly confronted the clergy sex-abuse crisis and surprised many by drawing large, enthusiastic crowds.