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Sunday, August 19, 2007

CNN: God’s Gift to Religion

Thank God CNN understands religion better than any of its ignorant adherents. We need CNN’s unparalleled interpretive skill to understand complex Jewish, Muslim and Christian issues. For instance, without CNN, we would never know:

“…that during the last 30 years, each faith has exploded into a powerful political force, comprised of followers – “God’s warriors” – who share a deep dissatisfaction with modern society, and a fierce determination to place God and religiojn back into daily life and to the seats of power. Their political and cultural struggles to save the world from what they view as secular materialism, greed and sexual corruption have caused (sic) anger, division and fear.

You see? It isn’t secular humanism that causes problems. How could it be? Secular humanism has only been around since the Enlightenment, has only really gained traction in public culture with the growth of industrialization in the late 1800’s, and only had public advocates in the American political sphere in the latter half of the 20th century, that is, within the last thirty to fifty years.

No, the problem isn’t secular humanism, rather, it’s the explosion of faith into a powerful political force in the last 30 years that causes “anger, division and fear.” As every CNN viewer knows, faith in politics was never a powerful political force prior to 1970.

“Wherever I go,” CNN’s Christiana Amanpour says with wide-eyed amazement, “what the believers do all have in common is that they want to bring the politics of faith into the very center of public life - we are seeing this now on almost every continent."
Not on every continent, thank God, but almost every one. Who would have thunk it? Mrs. Amanpour, herself a Muslim, is apparently shocked, shocked to discover that some people actually expect religion to inform politics.

Her breathless revelation, indeed, the entire CNN special on religion is remarkable both in what it considers important and what it leaves out.

Take a look, for instance, at the timeline CNN provides on the documentary website. Beginning somewhat arbitrarily with WW I, it conflates international events like the fall of the Ottoman Empire, an event that changed several national boundaries, with purely local events, like the Scopes trial in Tennessee, an event that didn’t change much of anything.

Skipping entirely over WW II (the secular humanist's war of scientific economic theory and racism that created more body bags than all pre-20th century wars combined), skipping over the atheist-inspired conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, the timeline suddenly picks up twenty years later so as to claim that the 1960’s was the hinge decade of the 20th century. “By the 1960’s, secularism was beginning to be in trouble,” says Karen Armstrong, "There's a certain feeling of bankruptcy."

Bankruptcy? But why? Every European and trans-Atlantic war since (and including) the French Revolution has been based in secular humanist principles. Together, they have generated more famine, rapine, torture and slaughter than the rest of human history combined. What could possibly be the problem?

Furthermore, given the enormous strides made by secularism between 1960 and 2007, the ability of politicians to actually embrace the dubiously titled "ethos" it promotes and still get elected, Armstrong's statement is curious, to say the least. Who is Karen Armstrong that she would reach such a conclusion? Oddly enough, the CNN website fails to tell us.

But it isn't difficult to find out. Armstrong’s qualifications to comment on religion in the 20th century consists in the fact that she is an ex-Catholic ex-nun whose doctoral thesis in English was rejected by Oxford University. She herself claims to see no real difference between Judaism, Islam and Christianity, a position held only by Muslims. It is a pity that Christiana, herself a Muslim, didn't find a news story in that all by itself.

However, Armstrong's background might explain why she finds Roe v. Wade to have been “a rallying cry for Christian fundamentalists in the United States.” The ex-Catholic ex-nun is certainly a good enough scholar to know the 1970's opposition to abortion in the United States was originally led by, and unique to, the National Council of Catholic Bishops (NCCB). Most other Christian denominations didn't entertain the pro-life position until the late 70's and early 80's at best.

Thus, Armstrong is unique in referring to the Catholic bishops of the NCCB (now USCCB) as "fundamentalists", although given their notorious politically Democrat leanings, it is difficult to entirely disagree.

But, we are picking on a single one of CNN’s large list of “featured individuals.” Isn’t that unfair? Let’s find out. CNN provides a complete list of the “featured individuals” who will appear in its 6-hour opus. A quick perusal of the list is instructive.

The segment on Judaism features 28 individuals. Of these, at least five were either soldiers or directly involved in bombings, while several more actively funded military activity.

The segment on Islam features 34 people. At least seven are related to suicide bombers or were themselves soldiers, not to mention several more who directly support militant Islam.

The segment on Christianity lists only 14 people, one of whom, Jimmy Carter, is a repeat from the Jewish list. Of those fourteen, none have military ties. One pastor is creating an “army of Patriots Pastors”, men who urge their congregations to vote for change. Another is a couple who homeschools their five children. In the promotional video, this is represented as "frightening."

If the timeline and list of commentators is instructive, the map of “flashpoints” is equally so. For instance, in the US flashpoint, the Muslim attacks on the USS Cole, the 1993 World Trade Center and September 11, which killed 3000 people, are together counted equal to Eric Rudolph, the lone anti-abortion bomber who detonated bombs in a clinic, a gay bar and the Atlanta Olympic games. Apparently, one white guy is worth several dozen Arabs.

Oddly enough, however, there seems to be no reference to the 7000 acts of violence committed by pro-abortionists against US citizens and communities. Similarly, CNN somehow fails to mention the thousands of Christian pastors who denounced Rudolph, nor does its on-line material make any references to the reactions of Muslim muftis and imams to the multiple world-wide Muslim suicide bombings.

CNN’s silence in regards to Judaism is equally puzzling. The documentary claims militant Judaism draws inspiration from the Book of Ezekiel, "and saw Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War in 1967 as the fulfillment of prophecy: they believe that when Jews return to their Biblical homeland and live according to the Torah, the Messiah can come." For some reason, CNN fails to point out that many orthodox Jews find the establishment of the state of Israel as counter-prophetic. These followers of Judaism see Israel as an abomination precisely because it was established by secular Zionists who have no respect for Mosaic law or authentic Jewish faith.

“There are millions of people around the world who feel that their faith is being ignored – pushed aside – and they are certain they know how to make the world right,” Amanpour says. “We cannot and should not ignore them. And, with this report, we’ve tried to explain them.” Apparently, billions of believers throughout the world need a secular humanist to explain their own monotheism to them and to the world at large. Thank God Christiana Amanpour and CNN are here to help us. We all look forward to the follow-up special, "Godless Warriors."


Apparently CNN isn't the only group of journalists who haven't a clue. Check out this Chicago Tribune review, in which the reviewer shows a complete lack of familiarity with the Islamic teaching on the hidden imam. She's apparently unaware that this is both a major tenet of Shi'a Islam and that Iran's president holds to this view.


Anonymous said...

Has the Catholic church stopped molesting children?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Has Bill Clinton stopped raping women?

Anonymous said...

The only thing poster one can say after that intelligent analysis, whether it is right or wrong, is "Has the Catholic church stopped molesting children?"

Ridiculous. The Priest abuse scandal, engineered by the left, was a terrible chapter in Christianities history.

Hey I know what to do?

Let's all become either Muslim or CNN-style secular humanists. That's the ticket.

Jordan Potter said...

Has the American people stopped murdering their unborn babies, prostituting their daughters and sons, and mass-marketing pornography?

Robert said...

Lot prostituted his daughters, and then had sex with them afterwards. Moses took sex slaves and handed them out to his priests. So what else is new?

And who is this secular humanist WW2 person that he is referring to? "Gott mit uns" and all that, don't you know.

Kate B. said...

Karen Armstrong made it on CNN's list of talking heads, I suspect, because she's also a well-known author on "spirituality." She writes on many different traditions, and how they're accessible to everybody, and all equally good, and all that jazz. Because talking heads should be famous, doncha know?

Also, just to nitpick, Amanpour's first name is Christiane, not Christiana. Not that I'll be watching the series. I have no interest in CNN's views on faith. Anyone's faith.

Jordan Potter said...

"Lot prostituted his daughters"

Yes, in terror of a mob intent on sodomising his guests, he offered to throw his own daughters to them in hopes of saving his life and those of his guests. (The Sodomites didn't accept his offer, though: they wanted men to rape, not women.)

"and then had sex with them afterwards."

Yes, when they intentionally got him drunk first, thinking they were the only humans left on earth and reasoning that there was no other way to repopulate the planet, and knowing there would be no way they could get their father to agree with their idea while he was sober.

"Moses took sex slaves and handed them out to his priests."

Wrong, he took no sex slaves, ever. He did allow the Israelite soldiers to spare and marry those Midianitesses who had not yet been initiated into the perverted sex worship of their pagan religion, while the rest of the Midianites were slain, and there are feminists who regard all marriage as nothing more than sex slavery, for no reasonable or honest reading of the text would lead to your characterisation of what Israel did to their Midianite enemies.

"So what else is new?"

Yes, because we all know that if ancient Israelites ever committed horrendous sins, that means it's really not bad if we Americans commit the same or worse sins. Right. Got it.

"And who is this secular humanist WW2 person that he is referring to? 'Gott mit uns' and all that, don't you know."

That would be Adolf Hitler, who peppered his secular race theories and leftist socialism with pseudo-religious verbiage. He wasn't opposed to giving his political theories a veneer of religion, whether pseudo-Christian or neo-pagan, but that doesn't change the essentially secular, atheistic nature of the Nazi enterprise, which was a classic example of the spirit of antichrist -- secular messianism.

ForzaMillan said...

I thought that Ms. Amanpour is Christian, maybe even Catholic as she was wed in Catholic rites. Although she was also married later in Jewish rites.
Nevertheless, I do not think this matters, as her bias shows.

Patrick said...

CNN bias is par for the course. It just makes me laugh to hear them complain about Fox News being too biased, and then to watch one of their indepth reports. It reminds me of the huge piece they did on 20 year old priest scandal allegations at the same time that 5 different public teachers abusing students were making the national headlines on other shows. However, as a Ted Turner creation, we shouldn't be surprised for their hatred for Christians. Here is a nice National Review description from 2003:
"Christianity is a religion for losers," he once said. On another occasion, Turner joked that the pope should step on a landmine. Seeing CNN employees wearing ashes on their forehead on Ash Wednesday, he remarked, "What are you, a bunch of Jesus freaks? You ought to be working for Fox." He is so viscerally uncomfortable with the Christian faith that he blamed his divorce from his third wife, Jane Fonda, partly on her decision to become a practicing Christian."
Talk about a man with issues.

Anonymous said...

Amanpour is not Muslim, but Christian according to CNN.