How Quickly They Forget : Christians In (and Out of) the News
In light of the recent NEW YORK TIMES scandal, you'd think the press would be more careful about what they do. I don't know whether it's laziness or willful blindness that accounts for the incredibly twisted perspective the press gives to the belief system of 80 million Americans. That's the latest number, according to Gallup, who claim to be born again.
If you watch the press coverage of the religious world, you would think that all those Christian people are cranky religious fanatics, good for nothing except as objects of derision.
For example, the leader in the effort to help the AIDS victims in Africa was Franklin Graham. He lobbied intensively in Washington, and the two of us met with President Bush to strategize about how to increase support from the people and the Congress. Many of you responded to BreakPoint with phone calls. And as a result of that pressure, an historic bill was passed. Fifteen billion dollars are now available, with abstinence the top priority.
What appeared in the BOSTON GLOBE? A cartoon that showed a hospital patient lying on a bed labeled "Africa," President Bush standing with a clipboard marked "AIDS plan," and an angry preacher in the doorway. He was carrying a bag labeled "Religious Right," saying "If you want a second opinion, I say she's a sinner." This cartoon makes villains out of heroes.
A more recent example was the release of a study by the University of Pennsylvania about IFI, Prison Fellowship's faith-based prison program. It was a five-year, $400,000 research project peer-reviewed by secular scholars at Harvard and Princeton.
The president had a group of us into the White House when the study was released. The press was there, and they took pictures. University of Pennsylvania put out an excellent press release. When we left the White House, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chow, Jim Towey, the president's assistant, Mark Earley, and I addressed the White House press corps. Dr. Byron Johnson, who conducted the study, explained the report. This is the first thoroughly documented, academic peer-reviewed study of a faith-based program.
This is a hot issue, debated repeatedly on Capitol Hill with much press and fanfare. So you would think this would be widely reported. But you would be wrong. USA TODAY printed a picture of me walking out of the White House, no mention of the report, simply Chuck Colson making an emotional return to the White House where he had left in disgrace years ago. Then they recited the Watergate litany. The WASHINGTON POST and the NEW YORK TIMES didn't cover it at all, though the WALL STREET JOURNAL published a magnificent editorial.
Is it willful blindness? Dare we say, bias? It's hard to believe it's ignorance when you're dealing with a world health crisis of enormous proportions or a report that has huge implications for the multi-billion dollar prison system.
This is one reason why I hope you'll stay tuned to BreakPoint. We will cover the things that are important, and we will say the word that the press dare not say -- God.
Why do UNC students go to the movie theater in groups of 18 or more? 'Cuz 17 and under not admitted.
In a press release, Berkshire-Hathaway, which owns the Pampered Chef company, has announced that it will stop its shareholder-designated contributions program which benefited the abortion industry--effectively cutting off Planned Parenthood.
This decision comes after hundreds of Pampered Chef consultants began leaving the company because contri- butions were being delivered to organizations that pro- moted and endorsed the killing of unborn children.
In an email letter to consultants, Pampered Chef presi- dent Doris Christopher said, "Let me be clear, there will be no possibility of any Pampered Chef profits being donated to any cause other than those we initiate, including our three current charitable giving programs: Round-Up from the Heart, Help Whip Cancer and the Family Resiliency Program."
"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord." --Leviticus 19
Please note: If you see a UNC student or a liberal reading 'Thought & Humor', please explain to them which is thought & which is humor. They always get it backwards.......
Since the start of the Danish cartoon controversy, Vatican officials have expressed sympathy with Islamic outrage over the depictions of Muhammad. This sympathy comes from knowing what it's like to have your beliefs treated with disrespect and even contempt. Yet in much of the Islamic world, that sympathy isn't a two-way street.
That's why the Vatican recently issued a statement "urging Islamic countries to reciprocate by showing more tolerance toward their Christian minorities." As Angelo Soldano, the Vatican's Secretary of State put it: "If we tell our people they have no right to offend, we have to tell the others they have no right to destroy us . . . "
Destroy is not too strong a word. The anger originally directed at Denmark is increasingly being directed at Christians. In Turkey, a priest was murdered in an attack that the Turkish media has connected to the cartoon controversy. In Pakistan, protesting mobs have ransacked churches and beaten Christians. In Beirut, which, unlike Pakistan, has a large Christian population, a Christian neighborhood was attacked by a Muslim mob.
By far the worst attacks have occurred in Nigeria. In the state of Borno, attacks left as many as fifty-one Christians dead, including a priest. The Christian property destroyed included at least six churches, both Catholic and Protestant, the Bishop's home, and a Christian bookstore.
The rioters, who went on a rampage after hearing a Muslim cleric denounce the cartoons, sent a clear message with their choice of targets: These are our true enemies, the Christians. This led to a deplorable, yet predictable, response: Nigerian Christians retaliated against Muslims, killing one and burning a mosque. This is tragic.
And where Christians aren't under physical attack, they still face restrictions that far exceed the ones being decried by Muslim protesters. These restrictions, which have been chronicled on "BreakPoint," include bans on public and, in Saudi Arabia, even private worship.
This lack of reciprocity, along with the violence in places like Nigeria and Pakistan, has the usually-conciliatory Vatican saying, "Enough!" Pope Benedict told the Moroccan ambassador that peace requires a reciprocal "respect for the religious convictions and practices of others . . . "
Other Vatican officials were even sharper. The Secretary of its supreme court told an Italian newspaper, "Enough now with this turning the other cheek! It's our duty to protect ourselves."
His frustration arises from the well-founded doubts that the West will do anything about Muslim persecution of Christians. He noted that "half a century" of relations with "Arab countries" had not produced "the slightest concession on human rights."
Sadly, he's right. While countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are cited for their violations of religious freedom, there are not any sanctions. So, the message is that we are not really serious about freedom and democracy.
Without religious freedom, efforts to spread democracy are futile, because societies that don't respect the rights of religious minorities cannot be expected to respect any other human rights. What this tragic turn of events really proves is that, contrary to the politically correct wisdom of our day, not all worldviews or religions are alike. And the differences really matter—just ask the Christians living in the Islamic world.
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