Mainline killed the local church star — paper blinks

The death of a congregation is never pleasant, and the closure of the West Side Presbyterian Church in Englewood, New Jersey was no exception. Sunday, Nov. 3, was to see a final worship service at the 117-year-old congregation.

According to The Bergen (N.J.) Record, simple demographics are to blame:

“It’s going to be a good farewell,” said Bob Ryder, president of board of trustees for the Presbytery of the Palisades, which oversees nearly 50 Presbyterian churches in North Jersey.

West Side’s closure is part of a national demographic shift away from mainline Protestant churches. Suburban communities such as Englewood, where Protestants were once the dominant group, have seen an influx of Hispanics, who are more likely to be Catholic, Asian immigrants, who belong to different faiths, and Orthodox Jewish families.

Another factor is that an increasing percentage of people are not joining any church. About one-fifth of Americans and one-third of those under 30 are religiously unaffiliated, according to a 2012 study by the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project.

In the Presbyterian denomination alone, 86 churches disbanded last year after national membership dropped by more than 100,000 from 2011 to 2012, according to Presbyterian Church USA. The Presbytery of the Palisades has closed five churches in the past 10 years, including two in Hackensack and one each in Garfield and Edgewater, Ryder said.

Now, it’s entirely possible that shifting demographics and the “rise of the nones” that caused the closure of five churches in the Presbytery of the Palisades. It’s possible, but I have to wonder if the 2011 actions of the PCUSA’s General Assembly, among other moves away from historic Presbyterian positions, might have had something to do with the departures as well. Surely not all 86 PCUSA congregations disbanded over demographics alone, did they?

We get only that demographic logic from the story, but as Godbeat veteran Peter Smith of the Louisville Courier-Journal notes:

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Another one-sided AP same-sex marriage story

Case closed.

The Associated Press has decided, apparently, that stories need to include only side. Stories about same-sex marriage, that is.

Earlier this month, I highlighted a doozy of an AP puff piece out of Salt Lake City on some Mormons challenging their church’s stance on homosexuality. Now comes another AP puff piece — this one datelined Harrisburg, Pa.

To be fair to AP, I should point out that the latest story does include two sides — New Jersey same-sex marriage advocates who are on the verge of victory and Pennsylvania same-sex marriage advocates who are having more trouble persuading their state to do the right thing.

Same-sex marriage opponents? Ah ha ha. Get out your magnifying glass and try to find them in this story.

The top of the editorial — er, news story:

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania and New Jersey are on tracks that could lead to the Northeast being the first full region in the country to legalize gay marriage – but the routes are hardly parallel and the horsepower anything but equal.

A flurry of recent court decisions has gay couples in New Jersey, where same-sex marriage has long been debated, hurrying to make wedding plans for when they can legally marry starting Monday – even as a moderate Republican governor with apparent presidential aspirations appeals.

Across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania, advocates are pecking away at a 1996 gay marriage ban by introducing bills in the Legislature, defiantly issuing marriage licenses in localities and taking the issue to court – with few people conceding the tactics will work anytime soon in a big state with a socially conservative spine.

Who does AP allow to speak in their own voice — inside quote marks — in this story?

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AP badly flubs Catholic teaching

The media’s obsession with sexualityism is somehow getting even more pronounced. We have a backlog of stories to look at.

But here’s a quick example of how shoddy the coverage is, this time from the Associated Press:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to sign a bill Monday barring licensed therapists from trying to make gay minors straight.

There are so many questions I have about this. So many questions not answered in this brief AP report. One might be how this bill handles treatment of minors who have unwanted same-sex attraction. Does this ban affect their treatment options? How so?

In any case, that’s not why I mention the story. Here’s the portion that fails utterly:

In a signing note accompanying the bill obtained by The Associated Press that will be made public Monday, Christie says he believes people are born gay and homosexuality is not a sin. That view is inconsistent with his Catholic faith.

Really?

How so?

AP preaches this interpretation of Catholic teaching from the pulpit but provides … no substantiation. So we can’t know why AP is making this statement. I’m really curious how in the world that view is inconsistent with his Catholic faith. That church teaches that same-sex attraction is not a sin but that homosexual acts are. And as for people being born gay, a doctrinal view of key importance in the church of sexualityism, neither is that view “inconsistent” with Catholic teaching. The church even puts its teaching on the matter online so AP reporters and others can check.

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