In his first epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul made it perfectly clear that a belief in the bodily resurrection of Christ as the sine qua non of Christianity. If Christ was not raised from the dead, that the whole of the Christian faith is an utter sham, the apostolic witness fraudulent, the basis of Christian hope nonexistent, and the poor saps who go on attempting to live a life guided by the teachings of Christ are "of all people most to be pitied."
But the editors of the Washington Post's On Faith section apparently didn't get that memo, choosing to run for their Holy Saturday edition a Religion News Service article which hyped the beliefs of liberal religious scholars like the former Episcopal Bishop of Newark, John Shelby Spong, who not only denies that Jesus was physically raised from the dead but that the Bible really, truly teaches the same if you just interpret it the way he prefers to.
Al Sharpton entered truly ludicrous territory during an appearance Wednesday on Tom Joyner’s radio show. While talking about the meaning of Easter, the Baptist minister and MSNBC host dragged President Obama into the mix:
"As I looked at President Obama at our convention last Friday, where all he took he’s been able to rise politically again, I’m not comparing him to Jesus, but I am saying that to every crucifixion there is a resurrection for those that believe." [YouTube video embedded below.]
In an interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over the Killing Jesus author wanting the historical life of Christ to be taught in schools: "[In] public schools these days, you go sit in one of those classes and you're surrounded by kids of four or five, six different faiths. Why should they sit there and listen to the story of Jesus Christ?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Reilly replied: "If they are American children, because that's what forged the Constitution. And if they don't like it, that's too bad." Lauer worried: "How do you protect, though? How do you draw the line and the balance between someone who would go into a classroom, a teacher, and teach the historical story, as opposed to imposing religious beliefs?...Who enforces that?"
Saturday’s Washington Post once again promoted the Muslim author Reza Aslan’s history-mangling Jesus book “Zealot,” this time by reproducing a top-ten “most intriguing religion books” list from Religion News Service. Not every selection was a liberal journalist's pick to click, but these books were laid out with large, color images of the covers.
John Murawski of RNS praised Aslan's work for providing a “much-needed antidote” to how Christians have ethnically and historically sanitized Jesus buried in “aspic”:
I'm interrupting my series on Common Core State Standards for public schools to join the appeal to Iran and North Korea for the release of American hostages like imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini and missionary Kenneth Bae. And I'm also calling upon President Obama and Congress to step up their action, stand for religious freedom and fight for the release of these godly men, whose crimes were nothing more than exercising their faith.
For those who haven't followed the news on these men of the cloth, pastor Abedini was sentenced to eight years by an Iranian court last January for starting house churches in the 2000s, an era in which they weren't even regarded as a threat to Iran's security.
The Washington Post's habit of promoting Muslim author Reza Aslan and his lame book about how Jesus was a political messiah resurfaced on Thursday. On the Post's "WorldViews" blog, Max Fisher interviewed Aslan on the occasion of Megyn Kelly's statement on her Fox show that "Jesus was a white man, too. It's like we have, he's a historical figure. That's a verifiable fact, as is Santa."
Fisher declared "Kelly's insistence on a white Jesus has offended a number of people, who counter that Jesus's Middle Eastern ethnicity would likely have given him a darker complexion than that of, say, Kelly herself." Then Reza Aslan told Fisher that Jesus looked a lot like Reza Aslan:
The Washington Post is promoting Amazon.com today – a new series of “trim biographies” called “Icons.” The list of subjects includes Stalin and Hemingway, Poe and Van Gogh.
The Post is also bashing Fox News again today. The first “Icon” biography is about Jesus Christ. Post book reviewer Ron Charles surely caused a few coffee spews by suggesting that Christians typically threaten the lives of people who write about Jesus in a bad light:
Author Reza Aslan was disingenuous about his biases in his weekend interview with Fox News Channel's Lauren Green, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell told FNC's Shannon Bream on the July 31 edition of America Live. Aslan, as a Muslim, denies the divinity of Christ, and should have been straightforward about how his religious beliefs would necessarily color his view of Jesus, which he protests is purely a scholarly inquiry.
Besides proudly insisting he has no biases, Aslan got a number of basic things about Christ wrong, Bozell said, including the absurd claim that Jesus is never quoted in any biblical account as claiming divinity. Additionally, the MRC president noted, Aslan "also said, more than once, that he had a history degree in religion" when "in fact, he doesn't." [to watch the full segment, view the embedded video below the page break]
When liberals and their media allies have an agenda to push, they’ll use any tool at hand. The left often rails against the presence of religion in civic life, mocking conservative Christians as “Taliban” agitating for theocracy. But other times, they find faith to be a handy weapon to bludgeon conservatives. And they’ll go so far as to reinterpret and rewrite the Bible to justify any liberal cause, no matter how outrageous.
In 2010, MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry summed up this strategy in her call for “re-imagining the Bible as a tool of progressive social change.” Huffington Post contributor Mike Lux embraced Harris-Perry’s advice, writing that the Bible embodies “all kinds” of “liberal, lefty, progressive values.”
The Washington Post's religion writers have been hard at work of late to boost the religious left's push for more stringent gun control legislation. On Thursday, for example, Post religion writer Michelle Boorstein treated readers of the paper's Metro section with a puffy front-page item celebrating the pulpit-pounding for gun control from the likes of the dean of the Episcopal Church's National Cathedral, Rev. Gary Hall, a self-described "left-wing Democrat." Hall has cravenly lumped gun control in with the message of the Christian gospel, using liberal applause lines like "I believe the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby."
As I argued yesterday, the Advent season is exploited every year by the liberal media to tweak faithful Christians, using the holidays as a hook for liberal political and religious themes or to advance ancient heresies. Ditto with the Lenten season.
Well, the latest example comes from David Gibson of the Religion News Service, who has picked up on a new complaint from a feminist scholar, Margaret Miles, which boils down to essentially this: How come we never see depictions of the Virgin Mary breastfeeding the baby Jesus? I kid you not.
As we at NewsBusters have noticed, Advent and Lent seem to be the times of year that the liberal secular media loves to tweak devout Christians with attacks on historic, orthodox Christian teaching. The latest example is the media being abuzz over Irish playwright and novelist Colm Toibin's "The Testament of Mary."
The "silent, obedient, observant" Mary of Scripture that has "echoed down" through church history is ripped apart by "the masterful Irish writer Colm Toibin" who "puts a jackhammer to the cozy, safe, Christmas-card version" of the Mother of God, gushed Karen Long of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in a December 7 Religion News Service piece accessible at the Washington Post's "On Faith" section.
Ah, the holiday season. It's that time of year when the liberal media loves to use Jesus and the Virgin Mary to push liberal talking points if not outright push the envelope. So while NPR is busy promoting a new novel that presents the Virgin Mary as a skeptic who believes her son Jesus was a fraud, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry went a safer but equally trite route, using the story of Jesus's nativity to erroneously lecture viewers that Jesus was the son of a single mother and that, as such, we should celebrate all kinds of families, not just the "1950s Leave It to Beaver"- style nuclear ones.
Forget the Letters of Paul. It’s time for the Gospel of RuPaul, at least for the Huffington Post, which celebrated a drag queen take on faith. HuffPo's surrealist theology was fully displayed in a Sept. 16, 2012, article, titled “What I Learned About Drag Queens From the Gospel.”
Rev. Wil Gafney, an associate professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadephia, preached a truly crazy sermon to her congregation, which HuffPo found too good to pass up. Her sermon referred to transgender TV personalities such as RuPaul as theologians. “Drag queens like RuPaul, Sharon Needles and Latrice Royale are some of my favorite critical gender theorists and theologians,” she said.
Jesus Christ would favor a tax rate as little as 50 percent and as high as 100 percent. So really, President Obama's preferred tax rates are a bargain. That's one of the big "idea" of Erika Christakis's August 14 Time magazine Ideas blog post, "Is Paul Ryan's Budget 'Un-Christian'?"
Christakis has a master's in education but apparently hasn't a clue about exegeting Scripture, nor does she seem to care. Jesus is just a convenient figure to use to make a flawed political talking point:
MSNBC's Martin Bashir -- who attends a New York City church pastored by a conservative minister who signed the pro-traditional marriage Manhattan Declaration -- yesterday maligned the Holy Bible in an attempt to defend President Obama from the charge that his support of same-sex marriage contradicts biblical teaching on matrimony.
The incident came in an interview with Dr. Robert Jeffress after the Dallas-area Baptist minister affirmed that he "absolutely" agreed that defending same-sex marriage "contradicts" the teaching of Scripture. "I think the president is violating the very teaching and words of the Jesus he says he follows," Jeffress noted. That's when Bashir sprung his "have you stopped beating your wife, yet"-style gotcha question:
April 15, Tax Day, fell on a Sunday this year. American taxpayers get a two-day reprieve on the deadline this year thanks to Monday being a public holiday in the District of Columbia. But all the same, it was the perfect occasion for the Washington Post's On Faith feature to give readers a liberal homily on taxes.
Liberal theologian Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite had the honors. "There’s nothing more hypocritical today than the kind of political gamesmanship we have about paying taxes," the former Chicago Theological Seminary president groused, explaining:
Here we go again. Washington Post "On Faith" contributor Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is once again twisting Christian scripture to push a liberal economic agenda.
You may recall the liberal theologian and Center for American Progress fellow last month contorted The Lord's Prayer into an argument for government to "forgive" students loan debt contracted between private parties. Now the Chicago Theological Seminary professor is charging that Jesus was a first century "occupier" having "occupied" the Temple when he drove out the moneychangers. What's more, the reverend argued, one of Jesus's most haunting parables -- the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 -- is a condemnation of the banking system (emphasis mine):
The American Family Association is conducting a “Naughty or Nice” campaign noting which major retailers sound hostile in avoiding Christmas in their seasonal sales. Somehow, on his Monday program, leftist radio host Thom Hartmann yelled that this made him sick and that the AFA is “promoting blasphemy.” He threw the B-word repeatedly.
Citing the Gospel of Matthew, Hartmann also insisted that Christianity and welfare statism are synonymous, and that the House Republicans are terrible Christians because they propose “Oh, we’ve got to cut these social safety net programs – which is the essence of what Jesus Christ said you’ve gotta do to get into Heaven! And instead replace them with tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.” Hartmann began by asserting the AFA thinks Jesus is a liar, but the AFA’s Bryan Fischer drove Hartmann crazy by refusing to take the bait and fight:
Novelist and infamous liar James Frey has a new novel out, "The Final Testament of The Holy Bible," which he pompously holds forth as a "theoretical third volume of the Bible" that conceives of a second coming of the Christ in the person of "an alcoholic bisexual living in the Bronx who impregnates prostitutes, titillates priests and becomes the ultimate seducer himself," John Murray of the Irish newspaper the Independent noted in his review.
So why does writer and musician Michael Lindgren -- in his May 16 review for the Washington Post -- hail Frey's novel as "an honest attempt to follow the teachings of Jesus to their radical conclusions"? Indeed, Lindgren adds, "in doing so, [Frey] has created a chronicle that, despite its contradictions, moves to its own inner spirit."
But one suspects Frey's inner spirit is one filled with disdain for orthodox Christianity, particularly Catholicism. One vignette revealed by Murray but left out of Lindgren's review:
In his "Rewrite" segment last night, MSNBC's "Last Word" host Lawrence O'Donnell pounded out a 9-minute-long sermonette against conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.
O'Donnell slammed Limbaugh as biblically illiterate, reacting to a monologue from his April 25 program in which Limbaugh complained about liberals co-opting Jesus Christ for political purposes in the federal budget debate, posing questions such as "What Would Jesus Cut" from the budget.
"What would Jesus take?" Limbaugh countered, answering "nothing." O'Donnell vehemently disagreed, going on to cite Scripture references -- divorcing them from context -- in order to argue Jesus was a fan of "progressive taxation," among other things.
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann mocked Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, tagging her as "Worst Person in the World," for her recent declaration in an interview with World Net Daily that she would like to dine with Jesus Christ, Ann Coulter and a number of other historical and public figures. In addition to cracking that Coulter would accuse Jesus of being gay and that conservative talk radio host Mark Levin would "run out on the check," the MSNBC host concluded that Jesus would try to stop Bachmann and presumably other conservatives from "mak[ing] the House of Representatives a house of morons."
Olbermann: "Coulter would question Jesus’s sexuality. Levin would run out on the check. And Jesus would shout, "Get these out of here. Do not make the House of Representatives a house of morons," and then turn over the table. You know, like in the Real Housewives of New Jersey."
The Countdown host went on to mock the conservative concept of adhering to the original intent of the Constitution as meaning slavery would be legal and that women would not have the right to vote. Olbermann:
Comedians often pride themselves on being irreverent, and in today's popular culture a favorite thing to ridicule is religion. The network Comedy Central has made laughing at religion its bread and butter. Their irreverence has limits, however, and it has nothing to do with taste. When radical Muslims wrote ominously online that the creators of "South Park" could end up like Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh - shot eight times on the street - mockery of Muhammed was formally and publicly censored.
Within weeks of that very public retreat, Comedy Central announced plans to work up a series laughing at Jesus Christ called "JC," a half-hour animated show about Jesus trying to live a normal life in New York City to escape the "enormous shadow" of his "powerful but apathetic father." God the Father is preoccupied with playing video games while Christ is the "ultimate fish out of water."
Beyond the glaring double standard there is this question: Where is the market demand for an entire television series dedicated to attacks on Jesus Christ? What did Jesus Christ do to Comedy Central that they must relentlessly mock Him by portraying him defecating and talking about his "yummy, yummy crap" on "South Park" and roast him on specials titled "Merry F--ing Christmas"? Why the visuals of Jesus Christ being stabbed to death? Of the Blessed Virgin Mary menstruating? To call these attacks "juvenile" is an insult to juveniles.
"[F]or all its satanic fanfare and heretical rejiggering, 'The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ' is -- God forbid -- kind of inspiring," Washington Post book reviewer Ron Charles proclaimed in today's review of the latest novel by avowed atheist Philip Pullman.
Charles began by suggesting that Pullman's publication was a veritable act of courage -- "if you fiddle with Jesus, people begin collecting dry sticks" the book review quipped. That may have gotten chuckles in the newsroom, but it's not all that amusing when you consider that it's radical Muslims, not devout Catholics or evangelical Protestants, who have threatened edgy taboo-shattering atheists like the creators of South Park.
Of course, attacking orthodox Christianity is always in season among the secular literary elite as well as their friends in the mainstream media. Charles himself cheered on Pullman's fictional take on Christ by equating it somewhat agreeably with the strain of liberal Christianity that has for centuries attacked such central elements of orthodoxy as Jesus's divinity and virgin birth, his miraculous earthly ministry, and his bodily resurrection from the tomb:
What would Jesus do? Well, Ed Schultz thinks he knows - that is on health care reform at least.
Schultz, on his Sept. 2 MSNBC program, "The ED Show" told viewers he believed Jesus would vote for a government public option. That, he said, was to the dismay of some on religious right, or what he used the pejorative "Bible thumpers" to describe.
"Now, I have been referring to the health care reform deal as the real moral issue of our time," Schultz said. "I believe Jesus would vote yes for a public option, but some Bible thumpers don't see me eye to eye on this one."
Schultz later elaborated on his statement, likening "fixing health care" to a moral obligation.
PBS "To the Contrary" host, staunch feminist, and Pope-basherBonnie Erbe has now taken to preaching vegetarianism on the Thomas Jefferson Street blog at US News & World Report. Fortunately for everyone, Erbe wouldn't dream of joining vegan supermodels in skin-bearing protest. All the same, she threw out this ridiculous claim to Christian readers in a March 27 post:
Even if you believe in the Christian god, there is ample evidence that Jesus Christ was a vegetarian.
Of course, the Bible records that the resurrected Jesus not only ate but on one occasion personally prepared a tasty breakfast of broiled fish for his disciples. Perhaps that's why Erbe hedged her bets by adding:
Family Guy – talk about a misnomer. The animated Fox television series crossed sexual, moral and religious boundaries on Sunday evening when it aired content inappropriate for its young target audience.
The controversial material was not limited to one subject, or isolated in a single scene. Images of gay men kissing, a baby eating semen, physical abuse, sexual touching and a half naked male were just a few of the disturbing images viewers were treated to in the March 8 episode.
The Parents Television Council has issued a press release regarding the indecent content. Tim Winter, President of the PTC has alerted the Federal Communications Commission to the controversial content aired at 8:00pm CT, during the so-called family hour.