Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Response to the politics of division

What bothers me most is that little response can be found for religious topics which is the main focus of this blog. I certainly don’t think I can persuade anyone from their political beliefs because they are based upon ones emotions and philosophy they certainly can change but it is often a slow process. This is also very true of religion however it seems that it is harder to get Adventists involved in discussing their religion then their politics.

But now to the politics. Ryan Bell writes:

My job as a Christian, and even more so as a pastor, is not to say which party is closer to being right, but to declare the gospel of the kingdom, which eschews violence.

The vast majority of Pastors do not preach politics from the pulpit. Which is why the NY Times article is being used by the Religious Left. Their assumption which they treat as simple truth is that Evangelicals are preaching Republican politics and bringing in Republican political candidates to speak to their congregation. The NY Times article said:

The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

If you pay attention to the political world you will rarely see a Republican politician make a speech in any Evangelical church. While during the Election campaigns you will regularly see Democrat candidates for President appear before some Black Church. Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, they have all done it. Personally I don’t like to see a church where the Pastor decides what can and can not be announced to the congregation. A table in the lobby is not really an issue of the church mission. I know of several churches which have coffee stands in their lobbies, [update, I got curious and yes Woodland Hills church also has a coffee stand, it's ministry team is called Sunday Coffee Team ] so is it really an affront to let someone have a table to lobby against abortion or for someone to give out voter guides. No the reason these are mentioned is because they represent societal actions of members of the church and they are in harmony with the Republican and or conservative view. And that to the Liberal media is the problem. And make no mistake the NY Times is very much a Liberal organization. Daniel Okrent, the Times Public Editor, said that his was a liberal newspaper in a July 25, 2004 article.
Or read the comments of the publisher of the NY Times Publisher Copies Michael Moore

[Update: Bill O'Reilly's latest column points out the Liberal media Bias I will quote the article in the comments of this post since the link will change when he posts his next article]

The gospel of the kingdom is not the gospel of the countries. Society needs rules to deal with people that attack others either physically or by methods of theft or carelessness etc. If a person eschews violence do they also eschew the police? The words of Christ say to turn the other cheek, should our society abandon our system of authorities, no need for police or judges or jails? The military is another form of police, it however acts upon larger forces then individuals and law breakers. It sounds very nice to say that one eschews violence, most of us really don’t like it, either to use it or to be the victims of it, however much most people don’t like it, it is a part of life in this world. There is a reality to life and we must recognize and deal with it.

Alexander said...

We are of the same faith and I share a desire for greater peace and justice.

Re-read the language of your post. And compare it to the four Adventist posts on the Times piece. Where is the divisive language?

I did not say the other Adventist posts were divisive, I merely said some were excited by the NY Times article. The article itself was not really divisive but it is being used by the Liberal media for its own purposes.

Using novelist Crichton again to dismiss danger misses the point. When experts talk and consensus builds, we need to act. See Katrina, 9/11, welfare reform.

It does not because Crichton is not dealing only with the issue of global warming but with the whole concept of speculation and media’s use of projected crisis. It does not take that much time to read those speeches I would be interested in hearing back from anybody who reads them and still has a disagreement with his positions.

What disturbs me is not the mix of politics and religion - they did it and it is reality. Rather, the sin is the manipulation of religion for political ends, especially by the religious right on the war in Iraq, gay marriage and abortion.

Certainly the war on Iraq had nothing to do with Evangelicals. If we look at history we see that it was approved by both parties. In fact it is my contention that any President in similar situation with the type of Intelligence we and other nations had would have done the same thing. Gay marriage was not an issue raised by the religious right either it was raised by Gay activists and the religious right and society in general responded against the redefinition of marriage. And of course abortion has always been a issue, raised to a new level when the Supreme Court found it to be a right of privacy.

To toe the status quo is itself political and to call those who work for progressive change "divisive" fails to follow the long arch of justice and Christ's mission to the least of these.

There is a divide between the left and right that is the divide I mentioned I have no idea what you have read that leads to you statement. In the political world there really is not a status quo. Which is why we have laws upon laws and every few years someone claims they can make the country or world better.

Sherman Haywood Cox II said...

I agree with alexander...Your piece is much more "partisian" using language like "liberal media" and attacking some sort of liberal establishment...than the post on Spectrum's blog or the commenters to that entry...

Again that is the point, to show that there is a liberal manipulation going on with the article in the NY Times. That is why my quotes were taken from the Washington Post article dealing with the activities of the religious left. If you find you agree with Alexander it may be you need to re-read the article as a couple of his points were without merit.

JS in DC said...

'Over the top generalization' was invented by talk radio hosts -- most of whom are wildly conservative. To suggest that this kind of rhetoric is only visible in the 'liberal media and blogosphere' is itself and over the top generalization.

No, actually over the top generalizations were invented long before radio was invented or before there where talk show hosts. Nowhere did I suggest that such generalizations are exclusive to anyone in particular I noted that it was commonly found in certain liberal outlets, comments like the one quoted in the Post article.


Alexander said...

It's not clear how the article itself has a liberal bias. It's dangerous for a media critic to conflate the stance of a newspaper op-ed and its beat reporters.

So here's the super liberal Dallas Morning News op-ed sounding a similar note about change for evangelical pastors and politics.

Brotha Ron, why are you linking to AIM, which hawks ten commandments pins and Ann Coulter? Talk about bias. . .

And finally, there are plenty of places in the Adventist blogosphere to just talk religion. It's not a kind move to launch into a political discussion and then try to pull the high moral ground, saying: "What bothers me most is that little response can be found for religious topics which is the main focus of this blog."

Hey, you control your own blog.

In good faith,

Ron Corson said...

To a Liberal it is often hard for them to see since the bias is the same as their own bias. It was listed, the remarks about not allowing tables for those operating with conservative ideas. The article was pretty fair for the NY Times if it is accurate which is always a question. But the overall message was religious right must be avoided. Now who is it that says that the most, liberals. It was the liberals who make the claim that evangelicals are all so political in their churches. This was not actually ever true and now a few years later they cite places where the churches are not political and this tells them that evangelicals are turning away for the politics side of things.

I had forgotten that liberals are afraid to visit conservative web sites and so instead of reading about the NY Times head man it is easier for the liberal to complain about advertisements on a web site. And since we were talking about the bias of the NY times it is perfectly appropriate to read about what the head of the times says.

Why don't you list some of the places in the Adventist blogosphere that just talk religion. Have you ever listed any. I have lots of posts on this quarter's sabbath school lesson have you read any of them or offered any links to them. I have a discussion with Jud Lake over the 2005 Ellen White Summit. He just put up another response to my articles, any comments, nope.

What about the message boards at Spectrum. Not much activity there, SDAnet has two or three posts a day and usually one of those is a news post. But then again all this is not pulling the high ground it is merely lamenting the condition of the intellectual elements of the SDA church.

Ron Corson said...

Liberal Jihad

By: Bill O'Reilly for
Thursday, Aug 03, 2006

Perhaps the biggest reason why so many Americans are confused about the chilling dangers posed by Islamic fascism is the reportage of the terror war by the liberal print press. Day after day, committed left-wing newspapers frame their coverage with an emphasis on the inadequacies of the Bush administration or Israel, not the aggressive worldwide jihad that seeks nuclear weapons. Routinely, those who act confrontationally against the fascists are marginalized and sometimes personally attacked. Rarely do the left wing dailies give a fair hearing to both sides of the terror war controversy.

But, of course, the journalists toiling at the committed liberal papers don't see it that way. In a recent appearance on National Public Radio, Los Angeles Times reporter Tom Hamburger presented a point of view that is anything but rare in liberal circles: "Targeting the mainstream, even establishment media ... as having a liberal bias, has been one of the most successful campaigns that's been organized by the conservative right. And it's made editors and reporters cautious about what they say."

According to Hamburger, his paper and others like The New York Times, are not liberal at all; their images have been distorted by the right. Well, let's examine the facts.

The New York Times has four über-liberal op-ed columnists whom, within the last 18 months, have written more than 150 columns about the Bush administration. None of the columns were positive—not one. The Times has no pro-Bush columnists.

In addition, the TV columnists for the Times, its business media writer, and the lead film critic, A.O. Scott, are also committed liberals, as is sports columnist William Rhoden. I don't know about the head obit writer.

And it's the same thing at most of the other left-wing papers—the deck is stacked with liberal writers, not only on the editorial pages, but also in every other section of the paper. The result is a constant barrage of negativity towards those who believe we are fighting World War III, and we'd better get serious.

The Fox News Channel generally takes a strong anti-terrorist position, and it is not well received by the print press. I get a clip file every day from newspapers around the country and the coverage of FNC, and my program "The O'Reilly Factor," is relentlessly negative. Yet every day Americans somehow overwhelmingly choose us over our competition, so at least there is some balance in the media.

Truthfully, this nonsense about "conservatives" falsely describing the newspaper industry as predominately liberal is flat-out dishonest. Even a recent media study done by UCLA professor Tim Groseclose and University of Missouri professor Jeffrey Milyo came to the conclusion that "almost all major media outlets tilt to the left."

And the tilt becomes a freefall when President Bush's name comes up. The liberal newspapers generally consider him an inarticulate bumbler, too unsophisticated to deal with complicated issues like stem cell research and global warming. The committed left editors remain furious Bush defeated Al Gore in the Supreme Court and are crazed that many of them bought into the WMD threat in Iraq.

Thus, no matter what the President does now, and no matter how much danger nations like Iran present to the world, the liberal dailies are not going to play it strong. The big story is, and will remain, that Bush is an idiot.

That kind of narrow media groupthink is dangerous. Granting Hezbollah moral equivalency with Israel, putting forth that America is a nation of human rights violators, and labeling Iraq a failure before the all the dust has settled—all these things absolutely makes life easier for the jihadists.

That may not be the intention of the left-wing press, but that very well may be the result of their own jihad.

Alexander said...


Do liberals do this?

I've colporteured for six summers, attended a self-supporting academy, had a Newt poster on my wall, read Irving Kristol's Autobiography of an Idea when I was 17 and listened to Rush again last night. Perhaps there's a bit o' nuance is called for.

I'd enjoy the conversation more without the parrot-like "liberals think this or that." I believe we're talking issues, not ideology. As I read the Washington Times and the American Spectator several times a week, I am familiar with the goal of undermining the dialogue by attacking progressives for not really understanding conservatives and reading too much of the other Times.

People who complain about media bias don't know how to read critically. In fact, everything is biased; the key is to read widely enough and do comparative analysis to understand how facts and points of view mix.

And not (cut and paste, come on, Ron, if that's not parroting?) repeat what they catch from their favorite pundits. Hey, I watch Fox weekly, too.

And, once again, you conflate op-ed with reporting along with O'Reilly, something that makes ya wonder.

Here is an example of a non-fact. Yours.

Ron writes:

"evangelicals are all so political in their churches. This was not actually ever true."

Have you attended Willow Creek? Because I have, and the People's Church, and Saddleback. And I've met Richard Cizik, head of governmental affairs for the 30-million member National Association of Evangelicals and he spoke with me at the National Press Club about the changing political emphasis of the church organization.

Are you familiar with the three thousand Korean churches who are organized politically for North Korean change along with the Southern Baptist Convention?

Are you familiar with the Patriot Pastors in Ohio and the PPN in PA?

And this article on Ohio politics New Yorker, is factually correct, even though it directly contradicts your statement about politics in churches. It features Ohio pastors Ron Parsley and Russell Johnson.

"On a tour of the church, he [pastor Russell Johnson] talked all the way. In a coffee shop above the sanctuary, an aquarium of exotic fish started him off on intelligent design. That led him to what he called “the secular school system,” and principals who resist school-voucher programs—“They teach survival of the fittest, they just don’t want to practice it.” He also said that Roe v. Wade had led to the crisis in Social Security: “Abortion is also an economic issue. It has killed millions of American consumers.”

I assume that you are broad-minded and don't believe everything from the government, so you might appreciate the tricky thing that the far right has done in constantly bashing newspapers. Every time a story comes out that attacks the movement, folks just blame leftist media bias and miss some of the facts.

Because now you understand the difference in the Times article, which by the way, stayed as second most emailed for four days? Also, I read an article this morning about the Christian Coalition making a mistake in its work with Florida churches.

On August 1,the Orlando Sentinel said this:

"For years, on the Sunday before Election Day, the Christian Coalition has put out voter guides that list candidates' positions on issues of interest to evangelicals. The voter guides are distributed at churches."

What say you, friend? Because if you are going to attack for bias, you might want to not argue from error. Sorry pal, but I had to call you out.

Monte Sahlin said...

Ron, the problem with the Christian Right is not that it takes political positions. I think all serious followers of Jesus are called to take moral stands that have political implications from time to time. The problem with the behavior of the Christian Right over the last two or three decades boil down to two things:

One, they want to use force (the law) to impose their moral views. The abortion issue is ultimately rooted in a theology that says that human life begins instantly at conception because a ghostly "soul" or "spirit" is placed by God in the zygote. Adventists and other Christians say this is not what the Bible teaches. Other examples could be given.

Two, the willingness of the Christian Right to allow politicians who are not genuine believers to use Christian moral issues to empower immoral, unChristian policies. One of the founders of the Christian Right got caught with his pants so far down on this issue recently, that Republicans in Georgia refused to make him their candidate for Lt. Governor.

Whatever their other failings, the Christian Left has not been involved in these two kinds of problems. You may feel for reasons of politics or economic theory that their positions are wrong, but you cannot fault them for the misuse of Christian faith in the way the Christian Right has misused it.

That, from what I can see, is Greg Boyd's point.

Ron Corson said...

Nothing ticks off liberals more then being called liberals. I wonder why that is. You can give them evidence of liberal bias in the media and they ignore it and complain that it is not fair to call things liberal. Well Conservatives own talk radio and they proudly call themselves conservatives. Why don't they complain like the liberals do when called liberals? The reason is Talk Radio does not claim to be objective news, which is what people expect from newspapers and TV news.

Now I can find lots of Religious Liberals who make comments about Politics and economics and schools and American social politics. So what. I don't try and pretend that the Religious liberals don't have just as much right to be concerned about these things then any other American. So why is it that when the Religious right talks about these things they are demonized? The answer is that it is contrary to the desires of the left. It is OK for the left to talk about it's political concerns just don't listen to the conservative side. They have no business in politics leave it to the progressives, because they are afraid to be called liberals, it is Christian when they talk about it, it is mix of church and state if a conservative talks about it.

It is a double standard and it is unreasonable. In a democracy every person has the freedom to endorse the ideas or attack the ideas he agrees with or disagrees with.

There will always be people who are an embarrassment to the left or the right. No side has a lock moral or decent behavior, but if the idea is to just pick on the worst cases of the other side and ignore those on your side then you are not being objective. And that is a problem in the media which leads to media bias which is very well documented by the way. If you read the Greg Boyd article do you see anything other then elements against conservative views?