Washington Post Legitimizes "War on Christians"
Joan Bokaer printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun May 06, 2007 at 07:15:25 AM EST
The Washington Post is a liberal newspaper. Right? Yet yesterday it published an article, Is There Disdain For Evangelicals In the Classroom? that could have came out of the "War on Christians" playbook.  The article discusses a lawsuit filed by the Alliance Defense Fund, which, given the tone of the article, sounds like a good organization. Americans United clarifies ADF's real nature and goals:

ADF champions a radical agenda to destroy the wall of separation between church and state. It even has close ties to the most extreme faction of the Religious Right - a movement that wants to create a harsh fundamentalist Christian theocracy in America.

The Washington Post article legitimizes the lawsuit -- UNLESS you are among the few readers who actually follow an article to the end. From the Post:

Frank G. Kauffman was teaching a course in social work at Missouri State University in 2005 when he gave an assignment that sparked a lawsuit and nearly destroyed his academic career.

He asked his students to write letters urging state legislators to support adoptions by same-sex couples. Emily Brooker, then a junior majoring in social work, objected that the assignment violated her Christian beliefs. When she refused to sign her letter, she was hauled before a faculty panel on a charge of discriminating against gays.

If you just read those opening paragraphs, you might feel some serious sympathy for Emily Brooker. The article goes on to cite an important study that has an "'explosive' statistic: 53 percent of its sample of 1,200 college and university faculty members said they have "unfavorable" feelings toward evangelical Christians." Only after you read this "explosive" statistic - if you are inclined to read more -- do you hear a counter viewpoint from one professor:
Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors, disagreed. What the poll reflects, he said, is "a political and cultural resistance, not a form of religious bias."
Nelson, a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said the unfavorable feelings toward evangelical Christians probably have two causes: "the particular kind of Republican Party activism that some evangelicals have engaged in over the years, as well as what faculty perceive as the opposition to scientific objectivity among some evangelicals."

But the real shocker comes at the very end. After getting the impression that the ADF is an admirable law organization helping this poor student fight the coercive behavior of a professor forcing her to advocate for something against her religious beliefs do you hear the professors viewpoint:
Kauffman, who stepped down as director of Missouri State's master of social work program, said he has been "vilified around the world" as anti-religious, when in fact he is a former assistant pastor and youth minister in the Assemblies of God, a Missouri-based Pentecostal denomination.

He said that all the students in his class voted to accept the letter-writing assignment as a lesson in political advocacy and that, contrary to the allegations in Brooker's lawsuit, he did not require them to sign or send their letters to state legislators.

"In the classroom I give equal time to everybody's views -- always have and always will," Kauffman said.

The Washington Post has increasingly become a neoconservative sounding board over the last several years. We can see evidence of this progression on the op-ed page where the likes of Robert Kagan, Charles Krauthammer and others their ilk increasingly hold court.

And as a neoconservative sounding board, it is increasingly being used to further the factious technique of alleging religious hostility in order to break down the wall that separates church and state. Remember: religious sects are often undemocratic and are only accountable--if at all--to their memberships.

Once theocratic governance emerges, accountabiity to an electorate of an aggregate majority goes out the window.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sun May 06, 2007 at 04:43:19 PM EST

Alan Cooperman has been criticized here before for blurring the distinction between theocratic and theocentric concepts.

Frederick complained in January http://www.talk2action.org/story/2007/1/11/202318/102 that a recent Cooperman article seemed to lack an appreciation for the fact that groups like the IRD ought not to be reported in terms of equivalency with the NCC.

I am pretty sure Mr. Cooperman is... well, not a Christian of any denomination.  He has no existential appreciation for anything Christian, in my opinion, and that is why he relies  uncritically upon any and every source of  information (including the IRD).  I wouldn't go as far as calling him a neocon, but his previous "beat" was political, centered in Moscow and Jerusalem, if I am not mistaken.  My guess is he's doing religion now because it's - well, politically charged.

A question I would ask is - How shall religion be covered by newspapers and magazines?  Editors know that they would hear complaints of "unfair" if they were to give the work to practicing Catholics or to persons of a particular Protestant denomination.  But are ex-religionists and non-Christians any better suited to the job?

I say - as in the issue of Bible in the schools - it might be better if we kept religion "personal" and didn't have public guidelines and "religious opinion pages" in our major media.  It cannot be done in an adequate manner, in my opinion.

God bless the whole world - - No Exceptions
by John Anngeister on Tue May 08, 2007 at 12:39:14 PM EST

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