The Sliming of Journalist Greg Metzger
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:12:35 PM EST
There has been, and no doubt will continue to be, much written about the controversies engulfing Rev. Samuel Rodriguez.  But this is not about all that.  

This is a story about the banal hubris of a public figure, facilitated by the unhinged boosterism of a major periodical (and at least one of its editors) that published unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks against a writer in an apparent effort to intimidate, discredit and ultimately silence him.  "So this person," as Rev. Samuel Rodriguez put it in his Patheos interview, "in my opinion, loses any sort of legitimacy as a commentator on issues of the public sphere."

This is the story of a sliming.

Journalist Greg Metzger was in for it.  He had had the temerity to write critically about the protean Christian Right leader, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez at the very moment when Rodriguez was being hailed as the Great Hispanic Hope for the Republican Party.  And what Metzger was writing on his personal blog (and here at Talk to Action) just would not do.  Someone might, you know, read it.  And consider it.  

The sliming was to be a tag team effort by one Timothy Dalrymple the managing editor for content at Patheos -- and the Rev. Rodriguez himself.  

You could tell the slime was coming at the end of Dalrymple's introduction to his interview with Rodriguez, which was to appear the next day.  

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of the interview, concerning Samuel Rodriguez himself, his responses to his detractors, and the role of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Dalrymple, who holds a doctorate in Religion from Harvard and a Master of Divinity from Princeton, is ostensibly a scholar, a journalist, and a committed Christian.  But he is nothing if not a Man of Diction.  Thus it was telling that he used "detractors" instead of a neutral term like "critics."  

In any case, the sliming was certainly all that Dalrymple's Tell portended.  

Rodriguez said, among other things:

The intolerance embedded in the hard Left is as venomous as the bigotry embedded in the hard Right.  It's amazing.  On both extremes, you have this cancer of intolerance.  What they fear are voices that really offer a reconcilliatory platform without sacrificing truth.

Who exactly is this "hard Left" and the people who populate it? And what exactly have they said that is venomous, bigoted, cancerous and intolerant?   Rodriguez didn't say -- but he suggested that they might be prochoice.

I am one hundred percent staunchly pro-life.  That offends people. Now, in no form or shape to I discard or disrespect those who disagree with me, but that conviction drives me to want to reconcile, to appreciate the beauty and purpose of every single human being on this planet.  They see it as a political issue.  I see it as a biblical issue.

The sly implication here is that all prochoice people come to their views for non-religious reasons, and must be non-Christian or non-religious themselves. Of course, there are religious and non-religious people on both sides of the abortion issue. Indeed, the prochoice religious community formally includes much of mainline Protestantism and the major bodies of Judaism, epitomized by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.  For these historic Christian and Jewish institutions, making reproductive choices is not only moral, but biblical.

But this has nothing to do with abortion.

Rodriguez's effort to cast Metzger's writing as the malignant effort of an anti-biblical abortion supporter couldn't be more off the mark. Metzger is a Democrat, but his is also a prolife, Christian.

Dalrymple asked Rodriguez to respond specifically to recent critical articles by Metzger and Religion News Service writer, Mark Silk.  And the slime continued to ooze like crude from a BP oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico:  

One of the individuals behind the articles you mention -- and I say this without any hesitation -- has a very discriminating, very bigoted anti-Pentecostal, and in my opinion anti-Latino, presentation.  Looking at other articles this individual has written, he explicitly went after the Pentecostal/Charismatic community and tarnished the group as a bunch of lunatics....  So this person, in my opinion, loses any sort of legitimacy as a commentator on issues of the public sphere.

He was openly referring here to Metzger.  In fact, Greg Metzger is a meticulous writer (and a contributor to Patheos!) who goes where the facts take him and draws carefully considered, fair-minded conclusions.  Dalrymple and Rodriguez present zero evidence to the contrary.  But thanks to the slimefest featured on the front page of Patheos people may come away thinking that Greg Metzger is a "hard Left," pro-abortion, atheist and an anti-Pentecostal, anti-Latino bigot to boot.  

Rodriguez then congratulated himself on his performance in the interview.

I'm not the first Christian leader ever to be criticized.  It's the price you have to pay when you speak the truth with love.  The question is how do you respond.  Do I respond with equal amounts of anger and venom?  I'm not going to cross that line.

A reasonable person who is unfamiliar Rodriguez, Metzger, and for that matter Patheos, might be wondering what to make of all this. Did Rodriguez actually cross any lines?  They might also wonder, as I did, what editorial standards does Patheos apply to the work featured on their site?  After a considerable effort I was able to find this two sentence assurance in the Patheos "press room."

Our content is produced by the world's top experts on religion and spirituality. In addition, the content is peer-reviewed to maintain objectivity and accuracy.

Elsewhere, to their credit, they acknowledge:

Patheos is not perfect.... We are working to constantly improve our content and resources, and we appreciate your feedback and suggestions.

Clearly, Patheos has some work to do. In the meantime, maybe some one or all the founders, directors, and editors will explain for us what standards of accuracy and objectivity guided Patheos in the sliming of Greg Metzger.  




Display:
So what if Mr. Metzger WERE a "hard life, prochoice, whatever"? Does not make him immoral. Prolife people are often prochoice. They understand the value of women as more than empty vessels to be left to die to 'save' an embryo - as if that made sense. Prolife may or may NOT be what Mr. Rodriguez is. Pro EXISTENCE is not quite the same if the value of the adult is not equal to the blastocyte. Those who define all morality as the "Power of NO" cannot hold a candle to those of us who believe in the "Power of YES". We are the ones who affirm the value of all people, not just the unborn. Or "preborn" as they say, more or less making all the rest of humanity merely the "predead". The Power of YES affirms all people and their right to love freely and well, affirms the value of women as more than wombs, affirms things such as contraception as OUR care for creation and OUR family values that preserve and protect family intimacy. Mr. Rodriguez may not like being called narrow- minded and a bigot, but he fits that definition, and he is self serving in fighting Mr. Metzger. Calling Mr. Rodriguez out for hypocrisy and political self promotion is not evil. It is truth. If you don't like it, Mr. R. don't ACT that way.

by Churchlady on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:47:00 PM EST

If this is what a publication will do to one of its own contributors, imagine what it would do to you.

by Frederick Clarkson on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 10:58:34 PM EST
that the dominionists/"Religious Right" are very dangerous and growing more violent and open about it.  IMO, this is just an extension of the violence that those who oppose them have already experienced at their hands.

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 11:07:37 AM EST
Parent


Dalrymple has responded to this post: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/philosophicalfragments/2012/11/20/th e-online-slime-fest/

Can't say that I am very impressed with it.  I like a lot of bloggers at patheos, but I am get the impression that the people who run it are a little sketchy.

-------------
"I believe in a President whose views on religion are his own private affair" - JFK, Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association
by hardindr on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 02:04:04 PM EST



WWW Talk To Action


Real Religious Liberty is Not Oppression
This is a reposting of an op-ed I recently published at LGBTQ Nation -- FC Real Religious Liberty is not Oppression FREDERICK CLARKSON Senior......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Houston Mayor Ignites Fervor of Religious Right
The best take on Houston Mayor Annise Parker vs. the churches in her city is the story written by Marv Knox in the Baptist......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Four Stories
LGBTQ Nation   In my first bi-weekly column on religious liberty, I discuss how  "Religious liberty is a progressive and liberatory value, over which......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Christian Right Voter Mobilization -- The Season Finale
One of the secrets of the success of the Christian Right over the years has been that opponents have taken the movement with insufficient......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Sins Of Omission: When Religious Right Leaders Speak, The Whole Truth Is Often Left Behind
When an individual doesn't feel like being absolutely truthful, there are a couple of things he or she can do. One is to simply......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Bishop Finn Under Vatican Investigation
Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has long been a symbol of the ongoing institutional intransigence in addressing......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
"The $1-Billion-a-Year [Religious] Right-Wing Conspiracy You Haven't Heard Of"
In honor of the 2014 incarnation of the event known as The Gathering, I've given an interview with Jay Michaelson, writing for the Daily......
By Bruce Wilson (5 comments)
(Un)Fantastic Five: A Remembrance Of Values Voter Summits Past
The Religious Right's annual "Values Voter Summit" (VVS) takes place this weekend. Americans United staffers Simon Brown, Sarah Jones and I will be there.......
By Rob Boston (7 comments)
The Christian Right's Voter Mobilization Strategy for 2014
My latest post at Political Research Associates is about how this weekend's Values Voter Summit fits into the Christian Right's wider electoral strategy for......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
NYT's David Brooks to Speak at Antigay Luncheon of Billionaires Who Fund Racist Preacher
Recently, government-encouraged outbreaks of mob violence against LGBT persons in countries from Uganda to Russia, and draconian new anti-gay legislation in those countries too,......
By Bruce Wilson (2 comments)
D'Souza's Downfall: Religious Right Favorite Sentenced For Campaign Donation Violations
Yesterday conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza was sentenced to five years of probation and a term of community service for violating federal campaign laws. He......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Short Takes -- Taking Action Edition
Banned Books Week is being celebrated this year from Sept. 21-27.  Yes its time for the annual celebration of the Freedom to Read, sponsored......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Archbishop Schnurr Throws Cold Water on the Ice Bucket Challenge
The Ice Bucket Challenge has been an outstanding success in raising both awareness and research money needed to find a cure for Amyotrophic lateral......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)
The Secret Antigay U.S. Money Behind The WCF and the Global Evangelical War on LGBT Rights
[note to readers: this is an excerpt from my first installment in a Twocare.org/Center Against Religious Extremism series that will examine extensive ties -......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Race as Religion
Reading Edith Beer's book, The Nazi Officer's Wife, I ran across an interesting account of her fake marriage license.  She married a Nazi officer......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)

Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.