The Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog network bills itself as “a conversation on religion and politics.” But the conversation of “On Faith” more accurately resembles a diatribe justifying liberal politics with religious imagery.
During this past week, Becky Garrison claimed that Christian actor Kirk Cameron was not a Christian because he opposes homosexual marriage, and Lisa Miller declared that “In churches across the land, women are still treated as second class citizens.”
Hell-bent to speed down its dead-end road to irrelevance, Newsweek's editors stubbornly cling to the self-delusion that their magazine is not a partisan rag. But any cursory look at the June 7 dead tree edition proves otherwise.
[No, I didn't get inspired to write this following a dentist's visit. Sadly, we still have a subscription here at the office.]
Take, for example The Index feature in the Scope section. Assigning a number score from zero (awful) to 100 (awesome), Newsweek writers snarked that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal [score of 15] has often "[railed] against big government" but is now complaining "big government isn't doing enough to protect his shorelines." Writers also smacked around conservative J.D. Hayworth, former Rep. Vito Fossella and failed Idaho congressional candidate Vaughn Ward while praising author Joe McGinniss [score of 74] for moving next door to Sarah Palin's Wasilla, Alaska, residence. No Democrats were ridiculed by name.
A quick flip to the Back Story on the last page asks "How Queer Is That?" with a look at how it's "[f]unny how prominent conservatives with antigay records are so often caught in gay sex scandals." For that feature, three former and one current Republican politician were featured, as were former evangelical pastor Ted Haggard and minister George Rekers.
Whatever your view on homosexuality might be as it pertains to Christianity, there's probably one place one wouldn't go to seek clarity on the issue - a Jewish TV host that's in his seventh marriage.
However, CNN, the so-called most trusted name in news, had "Larry King Live" host Larry King tackle this issue on his April 23 program in a special broadcast entitled "Can You Be Christian and Gay?" King's special featured recently-out Christian singer Jennifer Knapp, embattled former evangelical preacher Ted Haggard and Horizon Christian Fellowship Senior Pastor Bob Botsford.
ABC has apparently never heard that phrase, "There are two sides to every story." On Feb. 1, "World News Sunday" helped shamed former-pastor Ted Haggard take shots at the Christian conservatives who he says "shunned him."
Reporter Dan Harris introduced the piece by qualifying Haggard as a former "insider, a powerful pastor at the highest levels of the Christian conservative movement."
Haggard, who made headlines two years ago for getting caught in a gay sex scandal, is now offering advice to the Christian conservative movement; and ABC gave him the megaphone. Here is a portion of Harris' interview with Haggard:
On Thursday night’s Anderson Cooper 360, CNN used most of a half-hour replaying large chunks of Larry King’s interview with Ted Haggard, the evangelical preacher who lost his ministry after he used a male prostitute. He’s the subject of a new HBO documentary by Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of liberal House speaker Nancy Pelosi. This is no mystery, just synergy: CNN and HBO are both Time Warner properties. But Cooper brought on TV psychologist Paul Dobransky and felt Haggard’s pain: "It also seems sad because his belief system, I mean there are plenty of gay Christians who are happily gay and happily Christian and have fulfilling lives. They're not mutually exclusive."
Cooper also mocked reparative therapy (to convert people from gay to straight) as a failure in every case: "every one of them basically admits that they still are attracted to a member of the same sex, they're just forcing themselves to repress those feelings....That can't be a healthy thing." Dobransky claimed homosexuality cannot be chosen, and then used pet metaphors: "Imagine a metaphor of what you were a cat born in a dog kennel. It might feel dangerous, it might feel threatening, and you might pretend you're not a cat, but you're still a cat."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith played the role of amateur theologian as he interviewed disgraced evangelical pastor Ted Haggard, who had an affair with a gay prostitute, asking: "You believe that gays are sinners?...You think God hates homosexuals?" Haggard ultimately replied: "Jesus proved his faithfulness to me more than ever. You know, he said he came for the unrighteous, not for the righteous...so I don't fit into the religious righteous crowd anymore. He really came for me. I'm the chiefest of sinners." Haggard’s wife, Gayle, also added: "And I think the teachings of Jesus are forgiveness and love. And what he tells us not to do is judge." Smith liked that non-judgmental response, saying to Ted: " She says is better than you do, I'm sorry."
Throughout the segment, Smith preached moral relativism over "fundamentalist" Christian beliefs. At one point, Haggard explained why he waited so long to seek counseling: "I wish I'd done it 20 years ago, but I think the culture that I was in kept me from being able to do that." Smith replied:"Having grown up in a fundamentalist church and an evangelical background, there's -- everything is very black and white." Haggard agreed: "Very black and white." Smith then attacked Haggard’s former church: "You've spent your life building this church. This church is really, literally, your community. And your church says you have to leave this day...you have to go away. And in the best New Testament sense, isn't that the point at which the church should be embracing you?"
Does the media treat hypocrites of differing political preferences similarly? The evidence would suggest not. When noted Christian televangelist Jim Bakker was found to have committed adultery and mail fraud back in 1986, the national media were beside themselves with glee, running hundreds of stories about Bakker's hypocrisy. The same pattern repeated itself with other Christian evangelists, including George W. Bush supporter Ted Haggard in 2006, a case that Wikipedia admits "may have affected voting patterns in the 2006 elections". The media made sure to feature the haggard case as a front-page story during the run-up[ to the election, probably hoping (correctly as it turned out) that it would help the Democrats take control of Congress. However, the shoe is now on the other foot.
Famed left-wing radio personality Bernie Ward of San Francisco, a former priest who had one of the loudest and most consistently anti-George W. Bush voices in the entire nation, was found guilty of possessing and distributing child pornography on Friday and will serve at least five years in prison. ward tried to argue that he was "doing research" on child pornography, but as the San Francisco Chronicle reported:
On the Wednesday night edition of MSNBC's "Hardball" Chris Matthews and David Shuster continued to use the Larry Craig scandal to bury the GOP and while Matthews declared "the downfall of" Bush's party was "driven by every movement of the body politic" it was his colleague Shuster who outdid him when, after running down a litany of GOP troubles ranging from Craig to the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, charged: "It all adds moral insult to the injuries being suffered today by the victims of Hurricane Katrina."
For NBC's "Today" show crew it wasn't enough to label Larry Craig's scandal as a crisis for him personally or even to call it a crisis for the Republican Party, no "Today" went even further as it declared it a "crisis" for conservatives everywhere. NBC's Matt Lauer opened the Tuesday "Today" show asking his viewers: "Can the right wing withstand yet another scandal involving one of its own?"
Lauer's colleague Ann Curry, then piled on, as she wondered if the Craig incident spelled doom for the GOP's chances in ‘08: "How does this specter of hypocrisy affect the party, especially as we're now moving into a very critical time for the Republican Party facing this presidential election year?"