Resistance to the Guardian is futile

The General Synod of the Church of England — the legislative organ of the Protestant state church — will take up the question of women bishops this week. Should the delegates to synod be unsure as to how they should vote, the doctrinal authorities at The Guardian appear to be instructing them what they must do. On July 9 the newspaper of the English establishment ran a silly news report entitled “Church of England women bishops: archbishops will overrule synod” that… Read more

Latin Mass: Why did NYTimes avoid rite’s liberal enemies?

There is this old, old, old saying that you will often hear quoted in discussions of worship trends in the modern and postmodern Catholic church. It goes like this. Question: What is the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist? Answer: You can negotiate with a terrorist. Now, you either get that joke or you don’t. If you get that joke, then you probably are the kind of person who cares a whole lot about discussions of why Catholics can’t… Read more

Pod people: Grading the grades on Supreme Court coverage

After two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings, I tried a different approach to analyzing some of the major news coverage. I did what I dubbed “big news report cards” on coverage of the high court striking down a Massachusetts abortion buffer zone law — and on coverage of the court’s 5-4 decision in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties. In the Hobby Lobby post, I focused on how various media handled one of the big misconceptions about the… Read more

Do the words of the Dalai Lama matter to all Buddhists?

CNN reports the Dalai Lama –the spiritual leader of Tibet — has urged his co-religionists  in Sri Lanka and Myanmar to halt the sectarian violence that has pitted majority Buddhist populations against Muslim minorities. The assumption behind this story is that the Dalai Lama is a person of consequence whose words will carry weight with Buddhists round the world. What he says matters, CNN reports. But does it? And if it does matter, to whom does it matter? The attacks… Read more

In Catholic schools: Demographics is destiny, so is doctrine

Not that long ago, I wrote a post about religious faith and mathematics that turned into a “Crossroads” podcast. The post talked about a number of hot stories and trends on the religion-news beat — think thinning ranks in the Catholic priesthood, for example — and then boiled things down to this statement: “Demographics is destiny and so is doctrine.” One of the other stories mentioned was this: … Sometimes you have to see the numbers written on the walls…. Read more

In NYTimes piece, bias against AA is a hard habit to break

Sometimes our readers are sharper than us professional word pushers. One of them just dismantled a New York Times feature with the skill of a soldier field-stripping a rifle. The article in question looks at the Center for Motivation and Change, an anti-addiction program that favors secular counseling, therapy and medication. Well and good, as far as that goes. But the article also notes how CMC shuns the 12-step method of Alcoholics Anonymous. No, more than that. It tries again… Read more

Wrestling with that old Anglican timeline, in South Carolina

Anyone who follows news on the religion beat knows the drill when it comes to reporters framing the global, national, regional and local conflicts between Anglicans: The battles are about homosexuality, period, and all heck broke loose in 2003 when the tiny Diocese of New Hampshire elected an openly gay and non-celibate bishop. The problem with that news template is that it’s simplistic. Debates over sexuality have driven the headlines, but the doctrinal debates are much broader than that. Also,… Read more

Surprise! Same-sex couples produce happier kids, media say

Ordinarily, quality journalism benefits from solid information, concrete evidence and a healthy dose of skepticism. But certainly, major news organizations can be forgiven when they err on the side of a higher ideal, right? In this week’s example, that higher ideal would be acceptance of same-sex parents. At this point in history, producing a baby apparently — and regrettably, it seems — still requires a father and a mother. But on the bright side, a “major study” has come up… Read more

Latest box scores from France: USA 67 — Islam 19

Voters were no longer the subjects of politics, democratic citizens deciding the fate of their country. They were objects to be counted, studied, and counted again. The proliferation of polls had allowed almost any newspaper or televisions station in the nation to measure the feelings of any population. Measurement, not democratic debate, was becoming the stuff of American politics. — E.J. Dionne “The Illusion of Technique” in Media Polls in American Politics (1992) The wire service AFP reports that a poll… Read more

Brazil’s faith in football: What happens after the apocalypse?

If you know anything about the sport the world calls “football,” then you know that an apocalyptic event took place yesterday in Brazil. If you know anything at all about the host nation for the 2014 World Cup, then you know — everyone chant the mantra together — that football is the true religion of Brazil. Here is a typical blast of this faith language, drawn from today’s Los Angeles Times piece about Germany’s 7-1 shredding of what is left… Read more