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Opinion

Opinion

Media miss point on religion

May 25, 2012

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Evidence of big media’s bias against religion that doesn’t advance the secular and liberal agenda of the Democratic Party is beyond dispute. Any faith attached to a conservative agenda is to be ridiculed, stereotyped and misrepresented. Islam is a notable exception. The media appear to bend over backward not to offend Muslims.

The Washington Post on Monday, reporting from Carrollton, Ark., uncovered an event that occurred nearly 155 years ago and then sought to link it to the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney: “On Sept. 11, 1857, a wagon train from this part of Arkansas met with a gruesome fate in Utah, where most of the travelers were slaughtered by a Mormon militia in an episode known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre.”

The Romney connection? “There aren’t many places in America more likely to be suspicious of Mormonism — and potentially problematic for Mitt Romney, who is seeking to become the country’s first Mormon president.”

As Carrollton, Ark., goes, so goes the nation? Would the Post question the legitimacy and faith of a Muslim candidate for Congress, or any office, because of 9-11? Do you even have to ask? Should the Spanish Inquisition reflect on a Catholic candidate?

Since Jimmy Carter announced during the 1976 presidential campaign that he was a born-again Christian, the media have been fascinated by religion, but not so much that they would labor to understand it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a devout Mormon, but Reid gets a media pass on his faith because he toes the line on the secular left’s agenda, from abortion to same-sex marriage, which Reid endorsed last week. That his church teaches the opposite of the way he votes doesn’t appear to concern him. Senator Orrin Hatch, also a Mormon, is running for re-election in Utah. Hatch is less scary to the media because he made friends with the late Senator Ted Kennedy with whom he occasionally cooperated on legislation.

Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, a devout Catholic, opposes the death penalty, as does the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church also opposes the “death penalty” for the unborn, but Cuomo challenged the Church’s position on abortion in his speech at Notre Dame in 1984 titled “Religious Belief and Public Morality: A Catholic Governor’s Perspective.” Why did no reporter press Cuomo on his “cafeteria theology”? Answer: Because his positions on the death penalty and abortion reflect the views of most in big media.

The questions reporters should be asking Mitt Romney are not about his style of worship or about Mormon theology, but rather which of his church’s beliefs he thinks are connected to earthly policies and which ones, if any, he will attempt to implement should he become president.

On her Washington Post blog, Jennifer Rubin says the media has a “Mormon Obsession”: “In sum, the left’s obsession with Romney’s faith tells us more about their ignorance of faithful people of all religions than anything else. ... Whether born of ignorance (i.e. that other faiths don’t share these essential values) or rank bias or intention to paint Romney as weird, the definition of Romney as nothing more than a Mormon stick figure is pernicious in our political culture and begs the question: Why is the media entirely uninterested in Obama’s religious influences, and indeed has dubbed such discussion racist?”

Journalists and media organizations should be required to take advanced religion courses so that they can better understand faith, explain it accurately and ask the right questions of candidates who believe in an Authority higher than the state.

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.

Comments

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 7 months ago

"The Washington Post on Monday, reporting from Carrollton, Ark., uncovered,,, the Mountain Meadows Massacre.”

Ace reporters they are not. They should have sent someone to talk to me about that. That event is well known, at least among well read people, and there is a memorial that was placed there by the 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' as a gesture of apology for a very serious mistake that was made 155 years ago. It's time to get over it.

Here is a picture of the monument: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mmm...

My opinion is that politicians can believe whatever they claim to, which is usually culturally defined. Of course, what they claim to believe and what they actually believe are two very different things.

The problem that can arise is that a politician might try to use his claim of religious conviction to apply to the laws of the land. That is not what the founding fathers intended, but it has happened many times in the past, and I am sure it will happen many more times in the future.

When a situation such as that occurs, it is incumbent upon the voters to vote that politician out of office.

But in many cases that isn't done, and that is the real problem.

"Every nation gets the government it deserves." - Joseph de Maistre, written in 1811

cato_the_elder 2 years, 7 months ago

Excellent column on the rank hypocrisy of the liberal print and electronic media in America as far as religion and politics are concerned. They do indeed miss the point, as do two of the regular far-left posters on this forum.

Orwell 2 years, 7 months ago

An excessively biased perspective is the most common cause of a belief that others are biased. Unsupported attack is no substitute for rational discourse.

cato_the_elder 2 years, 7 months ago

"Unsupported attack is no substitute for rational discourse."

How would you know that? I've never seen you post a rational thought on this forum.

Orwell 2 years, 7 months ago

How could I? The only "rational thoughts" you recognize are your own.

Q.E.D.

cato_the_elder 2 years, 7 months ago

Try this on for size, Einstein:

  1. My comment to which you originally responded praised this column for its rational thought.

  2. The author of this column is someone other than I.

  3. Therefore, I recognize rational thoughts of others, as long as they are capable of articulating them - a process that clearly eludes you.

Q.E.D.

jonas_opines 2 years, 7 months ago

"to be ridiculed, stereotyped and misrepresented."

Oh, delicious. Thank you, Cal, that's awesome. Coming from you, in this column. Love it.

grammaddy 2 years, 7 months ago

How about we just keep religion out of politics and vice versa.

Armstrong 2 years, 7 months ago

For those keeping score your liberal media has the rankings as follows

Romney - Mormon - Republican - Bad Hatch -Mormon - Republican ( got along with Kennedy sometimes ) - ok Reid - Mormon - Democrat - can do no wrong

Christians - tyrants - bad Islam - ( even though they stone to death, take away rights of women, gays ... ) - good

The liberal mindset what a joke

Armstrong 2 years, 7 months ago

Courtesy of ABC,NBC,CBS,MSNBC,CNBC, Washington Post, NYT or any other liberal rag you care to site. You know the daily propaganda fed to the masses that helps misinform their opinion

Armstrong 2 years, 7 months ago

Yes your volume of posts have yielded the typical zero contribution

Armstrong 2 years, 7 months ago

Agnostick liberals have substitutued politics / govenment as their god. Whatever you view as a threat to your god is a threat to you directly. Since agnostick's have no belief other then the here and now you are stuck with defending the "god" ( political view ) you created. IMHO that is a sad existance

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a devout Mormon, but ... That his church teaches the opposite of the way he votes doesn’t appear to concern him."

Then he's not a devout Mormon. Cuomo, who disagrees with his church on abortion, is not a devout Catholic. If you're not deeply committed to the teachings of your church, then you're not devout. It's simply what the word means.

But Cal is old enough to remember when the Media had a field day with Carter's "Born Again" theology - and that was because it was new and Carter was obviously committed to it. This attention has nothing to do with partisanship, but with the fact that even the media realizes that Wright is a bitter, racist, dotard that no one - not even Obama - takes seriously.

On the other hand, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the media going after Romney on his religion, or at least exploring its implications. It just proves that a) magic underpants are something new in the collective American consciousness, and b) they believe the man takes his religion seriously.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 7 months ago

Way back in the Olden Days, there was some debate as to whether a Roman Catholic could ever win an election to the Presidency of the United States of America.

But, John F. Kennedy got elected anyway. Today, very few seem to know or remember that he was the first and only Roman Catholic President that the USA has ever had.

Maybe we need another Roman Catholic president.

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