William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

“Media Powerhouses Don’t Quite Get Religion.”

Some fellow named Dean Baquet, New York Times Executive Editor, was holding forth about the election on your tax-dollar-supported NPR (Slogan: You have to pay, but you have no say), and Baquet said, “I think that the New York-based, and Washington-based too, probably, media powerhouses don’t quite get religion. We have a fabulous religion writer, but she’s all alone. We don’t get religion. We don’t get the role of religion in people’s lives.”

He’s right. The State media doesn’t get religion; which is to say, since this is the USA, it doesn’t get Christianity. And the reason for the incomprehension is not far to seek.

Most journalists aren’t Christians. Practicing, believing Christians, that is. There are a lot of Jewish writers at the New York Times and similar venues, it’s true, but they’re so “reformed” that their religion is at best vestigial. Religion isn’t personally important to most reporters. It then follows that if a person doesn’t think something is important to them, they won’t think it’s especially important to others or to their countrymen.

They’ll even suppose, as is human, that their non-religious point of view is superior, and thus to be preferred. Which is why they shy from Christians. At least, the ones who really believe.

It’s increasingly Us vs. Them. David Bernstein at the Washington Post noticed. “To what can we attribute Trump’s success? The most logical answer is that religious traditionalists felt that their religious liberty was under assault from liberals, and they therefore had to hold their noses and vote for Trump.”

Religious traditionalists didn’t just “feel” their liberty was under assault from “liberals” and Tolerants, they knew it was. They knew the one thing Diversity mavens could not tolerate was diversity. If Hillary would have won, many secular “activists” would have interpreted her victory as a mandate to shut out any remaining traditionalist voices.

In short, many religious Christians of a traditionalist bent believed that liberals not only reduce their deeply held beliefs to bigotry, but want to run them out of their jobs, close down their stores and undermine their institutions.

Bernstein thinks this attitude will cost liberals the Supreme Court majority (via Trump). He might be right, but it’s not sure money.

Others were quick to notice Baquet’s admission. David French from National Against Trump Review, for instance.

The original sin of religion reporting is the failure to believe what religious people say. There’s always an “other” reason for their actions.

In much coverage of American Christianity, this mindset is obvious: You believe that God ordained marriage as the union of a man and a woman? Well, that’s just bigotry in search of a belief system, religion wielded as a club against the marginalized.

What was it nominal Christian Antony Kennedy said about “irrational animus”? Poor fellow didn’t understand loving Reality is not equivalent to hating people.

Then there’s the third sin: the belief that a good Google search or a quick Wikipedia read transforms a reporter into a theologian. Few things are more irritating than the argument that, “If you really believed the Bible then you’d…” followed by a theological interpretation of such profound stupidity that you’d be embarrassed for the reporter if he or she had an ounce of shame.

Atheists are prone to strict literal interpretation of the Bible. Even after it’s been pointed out to them that nobody believes the interpretation they’re pushing. Once again, this is human nature. Short cuts are easier than in-depth investigation. Lastly:

A reporter doesn’t have to be religious to “get” religion. I’ve known atheists who understand Christians quite well. But in my experience, secular reporters are selectively credulous. They’ll accept at face value a secular activist’s motivations and question their sincerity only when presented with evidence of opportunism. But when it comes time to extend the same charity to a Christian, they either can’t or won’t discard their skepticism that he truly believes the tenets of a faith that they find to be repressive nonsense.

It’s not always follow-the-money. Especially in matters of morals, it’s follow-the-heart. And Reason. Non-believers can’t believe believers believe what they profess to believe. So, as above, they don’t seek out the why of that belief.

If they did, they’d realize some beliefs are non-negotiable. This is why, as French understood, the Culture Wars are not over. And never will be.

15 Comments

  1. How could people who lie day after day after day to the American people believe in any morality other than “win at all costs”? Religion and MSM journalism are mutually exclusive.

    The media also believes that no one voted for Trump, only against Hillary. It’s impossible that anyone actually supported Trump because THEY did not support Trump and they are the arbitrators of what one is to support. No one dare go against them, only maybe tiptoe around and hold their noses to vote because they don’t want to be slapped and sued by the MSM and the Left. Tolerate, loving people that the Left are.

  2. Reporters may be blinded and deceived by their skepticism. Besides that religion is really very hip.

  3. Correction: Religion is really not very hip.

  4. Well, maybe a rational religion is not “very hip” (whatever that is) but an irrational religion of self-worship is certainly very popular indeed.

    Blardy rationalism, even amongst those who call themselves Christian is rife. Gone is the tradition of explanation! Everything is relative to the mood and convenience of the day!
    Ah!! Blessed “Evolution”! Truth and Virtue are “becoming” and T’Googlio Monster, supported by his sycophants, is the star leading the lemmings into the abyss.

    Oops! Maybe I got that back-to-front. Perhaps T’Googlio Monster is just a puppet of the pecuniary plutocracy and publicity oligarchy. Hmm! I might better leave such assessments to the Judge.

  5. Oldavid. This is a time of “follow your heart”, no such thing as truth, and 57 varieties of self indulgence. Who needs God anyway is the mantra of some. No wonder He is not giving out many gifts of faith these days. And the Pope!!! Have we ever had a Pope who condemned Catholics for being Orthodox? It is in times such as these that we imagine that a reckoning is near at hand.

  6. Dowdy,
    What is a “heart” not guided by right reason? My guess is that it is some kind of “New Age” mush.

    Truth? As Pilate said: “what is truth?”

    Poor ole Pilate! If he was around now some adolescent bravado could have filled him in; truth is any feel-good political correctness and/or convenience.

  7. The first and most feared target of cultural Marxists is Christianity.
    Now we can see them for what they are thanks to Trump they’ve
    all sallied forth from under their rocks. The NYT, WSJ, and WP are
    now running ads extolling their journalistic imprimatur over alternative
    sources, never thought I’d see the day but their denouement is at hand.

  8. Sorry guess it’s locked here’s the full text;

    Christmas Eve in Space and Communion on the Moon

    In July 1969, sitting in the Lunar Module, Buzz Aldrin ate bread, drank wine and read from the Gospel of John.

    By Eric Metaxas

    Dec. 23, 2016

    It happened on Christmas Eve, 48 years ago. Three men took turns reading from the first 10 verses of the Book of Genesis. They were nearly 250,000 miles away from Bethlehem, but since it was the night before Christmas, and there was no chimney from which to hang their stockings, the three astronauts inside the Apollo 8 capsule orbiting the moon thought it would be appropriate. So as Jim Lovell,Frank Borman and Bill Anders looked at the faraway Earth through the small window of the spacecraft, they read the verses: “In the beginning, God made the heavens and the Earth.”

    Their distant-sounding voices from far beyond our atmosphere were broadcast live to the whole planet that night over radio and television. It was one of those moments that brought the world together, that helped us to see our common humanity as children of God whom he loves equally, and whom he placed on the beautiful planet that he made.

    Seven months after this extraordinary event, in July 1969, another NASA spacecraft, Apollo 11, carried two astronauts to the surface of the moon itself. One of them, Commander Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, thought he might do something similar to mark what was certainly an epochal moment in the history of our race. But what could one do to mark the first time human beings landed on another heavenly body? He asked Dean Woodruff, the pastor of his church in Webster, Texas, who had an idea.

    What if he were to take communion? What is more basic to humanity than bread and wine? He could do it as his own way of thanking God—for the Earth and for everyone on it, and for our amazing ability to do things like build spacecraft that could fly to the moon. So the pastor gave him a small amount of consecrated bread and wine and a tiny chalice, and Mr. Aldrin took them with him to the moon. After the Eagle had landed and he and Neil Armstrong sat in the Lunar Module, Mr. Aldrin said this over the radio:

    “This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.”

    He then ended radio communication and there, on the silent surface of the moon, read a Bible verse, and took communion. For reasons he explains in his own account, none of this was made public until Mr. Aldrin wrote about it in Guideposts magazine the following year:

    “In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup.”

    Then Mr. Aldrin read Jesus’ words from the Gospel of John: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.” He explained that he had wanted to read this over the radio back to Earth, but at the last minute NASA asked him not to because the agency was in a legal battle with the outspoken atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair. As it happened, she was suing over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis on Christmas Eve. And that of course is why so few people have heard of this amazing story.

    I sometimes wonder what’s more amazing, this story—or the fact that so few people know about it. When I first heard it I almost couldn’t believe it was true, but about 10 years ago I had the honor and privilege of meeting Buzz Aldrin in person and asking him about it.

    Mr. Aldrin said that he agreed not to read the words over the radio, but only “reluctantly.” I find his own words of the event very moving: “I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

    And of course right now, as Christians around the world are celebrating the birth of Jesus, it’s fascinating to think that some of the first words spoken on the moon were his words, the powerless newborn in the dirty manger who came to Earth from heaven, and who made the Earth and the moon and all of us, in His own image. And who, in the immortal words of Dante, is himself the “Love that moves the Sun and other stars.”

    Merry Christmas.

    Mr. Metaxas is the author of “If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty” (Viking, 2016) and host of the nationally syndicated Eric Metaxas Show (www.metaxastalk.com).

  9. It seems more like Narnia each year if you rely on the media for keeping Christmas. People will just go out instead to find it.
    On keeping Christmas:

    “I’ll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob. Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit.’

    Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

    He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”

    Kings College has just finished on BBC. It’s not quite Narnia yet over here.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVGKfDoANRA

  10. Saying that MSM reporters “don’t get religion” misstates the situation, I believe. As others have often stated in this space, it’s not that they aren’t religious, is that’s they worship a different god (e.g., Gaia, humanism, etc). Humans do indeed seem innately programmed to believe in something beyond their ability to perceive.

    It goes both ways, though. Rush has lately taken to describing the hyperventilating Hillary supporters/reporters as “a special kind of stupid”. I really like this characterization on an emotional basis, but having been on the receiving end of similar characterizations, I’ll concede that the underlying truth is a bit more nuanced.

    I’m willing to grant the Trump-deranged a little more time to adapt to their new reality, out of sympathy for their plight, and, well, ok, the not insignificant entertainment value.

  11. The thing that atheists and ‘cultural religionists’ don’t understand is the scope of religion, the context where it’s applicable. They think it’s just another set of philosophical tenets for determination of personal behaviour. That the meaning of separation of state and religion has innate impact beyond legislation. And that it means religion has no place outside of your own home, your own mind, and the Church, Synagogue, Temple, Mosque, etc.

  12. “We judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions. And this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose.”?
    —?President George W. Bush

  13. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/dec/26/outraged-critics-assume-rnc-meant-trump-not-jesus-/

    I assume you have all seen this. Its not prejudice it’s ignorance. It looks as if your education system was allowed to wither away in the last few decades of the last century.
    The trouble is other countries have followed you because they thought you were modern and were showing the Way of the Future.. Utopianism.

  14. Liberals believe they are intellectually and morally superior people and if you disagree with them you are stupid and evil. Liberal SCOTUS justice Kennedy just told you what he thinks about people that disagree with him, you have an “irrational animus”, translation, you are stupid and evil.

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