NYT Religion Writer Throws a Hissy Fit

MARK OPPENHEIMER SUGGESTS NFL PRAYER CIRCLES ARE LITTLE MORE THAN 'CAREFULLY CALIBRATED ROUTINE.' CHRISTIAN FACADE.

MARK OPPENHEIMER SUGGESTS NFL PRAYER CIRCLES ARE LITTLE MORE THAN ‘CAREFULLY CALIBRATED ROUTINE.’ 

So I just got around to reading a tweet from Mark Oppenheimer, religion columnist for The New York Times. 

He was offended by my February 3 post taking issue with a cover story he wrote for Sports Illustrated, “In the Fields of the Lord,” which appeared in the magazine’s Super Bowl issue.

Oppenheimer’s article dissed NFL players who “point to heaven after the big sack, cross themselves after a touchdown and give thanks to Jesus in the post-game interviews.” His hit piece  – which, at one point, jokes about pro footballers attempting to “Christianize the strip club” – suggests that the faith of Christian athletes is unworthy of being taken seriously.

Had a Christ follower authored such an article, I would have disagreed, but I wouldn’t have wondered what secret animus he might bear toward Christianity.

But Oppenheimer is Jewish, as I noted in my post. And I couldn’t shake the suspicion that the cynical tone of his SI essay was attributable, at least in part, to a conceit that his faith is superior to the Christian faith.

Oppenheimer is skeptical of Christianity.

He doesn’t believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah foretold by the book of Isaiah. That He was born of a virgin. That He performed the miraculous. That He was crucified and rose from the dead three days thereafter. That he was seen by men after His resurrection. And that He sits now at the right hand of God.

In my view, a writer that rejects the divinity of Jesus – be he (or she) Jewish, like Oppenheimer, or Muslim, or Buddhist, or Hindu, or Scientologist or whatever – simply cannot write a fair and balanced article on the Christian faith.

Even when that article explores the seemingly innocuous subject of pro football and Christian athletes.

Oppenheimer didn’t see it this way. The guy who spent nearly 3,500 words mocking gridiron Christians threw a hissy fit because I had the temerity to report that he is Jewish.

“cheers, Christian Diarist,” Oppenheimer tweeted, “to anti-Semitism in attack on my Sports Ill piece abt Christianity + NFL.”

And The New York Times/Sports Illustrated religion writer got a tweet of support from Rebecca Ruquist, one of his twitter sycophants.

 “oy veyyyy,” she sympathized. “The ‘yes,’ (confirming your suspicion) is esp unsavory.”

Well oy veyyyy, indeed, Miss Ruquist. My post anticipated that readers would want to know the religious faith of the author of the Sports Ill piece (for the very germaine reasons I mentioned above). So, I answered in advance: “yes, he’s Jewish.”

Maybe, in Ruquist’s mind, that made my post “unsavory.” Maybe, to Oppenheimer’s way of thinking, that somehow made my post anti-Semitic.

But Oppenheimer protests too much, me thinks. By playing the anti-Semitic card, he clearly is attempting to deflect attention from his SI article, which is artfully written and deviously anti-Christian.

The Voice of One Crying Out

EVERYTHING WE ARE FOR HIS KINGDOM CAUSE.

EVERYTHING WE ARE FOR HIS KINGDOM CAUSE. GLORIA IN EXCELSIS GLORIA.

Greetings and felicitations, valued readers of The Christian Diarist.  Thank you for visiting this blog more than 60,000 times in 2012. That was, to borrow from the Apostle Paul’s post to the church in Ephesus, exceedingly, abundantly above all that we asked or thought.

In truth, it really did not matter to us how many actually read our writings, whether 60,000 or 6,000 or 600 or even 6.

For this blog is not about self-aggrandizement, which is why the author of the posts that have appeared on this blog has remained anonymous, save for his initials. And it is not about generating “hits” for purposes of attracting online advertising (and the lucre that comes with).

The Christian Diarist is the creation of a veteran journalist, whose day job is writing conservative commentary for one of the nation’s larger metropolitan daily newspapers. This blog is a labor of love, for which there is no compensation except the confirmation of the Holy Spirit that the time and effort committed here is serving the kingdom cause of the Most High.

And what is the nature of that service? (We imagine inquiring minds want to know).

It’s simple: To be the voice of one crying out in this fallen world of ours “make straight the way of the Lord.”

To warn the non-believer, the unsaved, the wicked, that a day of reckoning awaits them. And, if on that day they are weighed in the balances and found wanting, their souls will be condemned to eternal separation from God.

But, then, there also is Good News to be shared:

That the Lord, our God, is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. And that, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

My friends, this traditional, conservative Christian worldview does not often find its way into the mainstream media.

Not even on putative religious web sites and blogs maintained by MSM news organizations, like The Washington Post’s “On Faith” site and CNN’s “Belief Blog,” both of which reflexively promote the most “progressive” – which usually means non-Biblical – perspective on practically every religious issue.

The Christian Diarist is a conservative “new media” alternative to the faux Christianity promulgated by the WaPo, CNN and other liberal, oh-so-politically-correct gatekeepers of the MSM.

In 2013, we are going to ramp our crusade, by God, to put the Christ back in Christianity in this country. Toward that end, we have decided that, going forward, we not only will feature posts by JP, but also contributions of other established writers who share this blog’s traditional Christian values.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Did Radio DJs Kill Kate Middleton’s Nurse?

JACINTHA SALDANHA WAS SO OVERCOME BY DESPAIR, SHE TOOK HER OWN LIFE.

JACINTHA SALDANHA WAS SO OVERCOME BY DESPAIR, SHE TOOK HER OWN LIFE.

Once upon a time I was an aspiring media professional. My very first foray into the business was as summer newspaper intern with The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Near the end of my internship, I was given an assignment that haunts me to this very day.

I was told to go out to a Cleveland suburb where a shooter was reportedly spraying bullets in a residential neighborhood.

When I arrived at scene, police had cordoned off the block where the shooter – a troubled 17 year-old kid – was holed up in his house. After what seemed like hours, but probably were more like minutes, a SWAT team stormed the house.

I expected an exchange of gunfire, but there was none. Then paramedics were summoned to the house, where they removed the lifeless body of the kid, who, it turned out, had turned the gun on himself.

It shook me to my very core. Not the least because the deceased was only two years younger than I was.

But as I learned in J-school, I had to get to story; I had to interview witnesses.

So I approached the young man’s family, which had huddled behind the police cordon, along with neighbors that had been evacuated.

They were near hysterical. But, still, I asked them if they had anything to say to the newspaper.

They looked right through me. And I didn’t blame them. Because I intruded upon them at a time when they should have been left alone with their grief.

I was reminded of that experience when heard the tragic story of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who worked at King Edward VII Hospital in London, where expected mum Kate Middleton was treated this week.

Jacintha was so traumatized by a hoax played on her by two oh-so-clever Australian radio jocks – who pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles calling for Kate – that she killed herself yesterday.

My heart breaks for the deceased nurse and her family.

The tragedy confirms to me what I have learned during a media career of more than two decades: Many of those who work in print, digital, radio and television are closer to the prince of this world than to Christ.

Their God-lessness informs their approach to mass communication. If they can put something in print, or over the airwaves, that creates buzz, that attracts readers or listeners or viewers, they’re good to go with it.

Even if it causes a poor nurse so much despair, she finds her life no longer worth living.

Is Trinity Broadcasting Network Doing God’s Will?

TBN FOUNDERS JAN AND PAUL CROUCH BELIEVE THEY HAVE EARNED THEIR LAVISH LIFESTYLE.

I’m conflicted about Trinity Broadcast Network, which wrapped up its Fall Praise-A-Thon today.

There is no denying that “America’s most-watched faith and family friendly network,” as TBN advertises itself, provides a service to the Christian faithful.

I, for one, appreciate the platform it provides for such pastors as Ken Copeland, Charles Stanley, John Hagee, Ed Young Sr., David Jeremiah and Joel Osteen.

I also enjoy the praise and worship music it presents from such Christian artists as Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche, Michael W. Smith, Israel Houghton, Martha Munizzi and Cindy Cruse Ratcliff.

Yet, my soul is troubled by news reports of what goes on behind the scenes of the network founded 39 years ago by Paul and Jan Crouch:

A bitter division within the Crouch family that belies the happy front 78-year-old Paul and 74-year-old Jan, and son Matthew and wife Laurie, put on while hosting TBN’s Praise-A-Thon this past week.

Lavish spending by “Papa” and “Mama,” as Paul and Jan are called on air, which might be acceptable for a billionaire couple like Bill and Melinda Gates, but not for a putative Christian couple that has spent the past week encouraging its viewers to “plant of seed” with TBN of $100 or $1000 or more if they desire God’s favor.

This past Spring, Brittany Crouch Koper, the 26-year-old granddaughter of Paul and Jan Crouch, went public with allegations of scandalous, decidedly unGodly behavior within the Crouch family.

That includes, she said, the family’s cover-up of a “bloody sexual assault,” as well as infidelities by both Mama and Papa Crouch, and repeated incidents in which Uncle Matt Crouch exposed his genitals to TBN cleaning staff.

Equally damning were allegations by Brittany, who served as TBN’s finance director, of unscrupulous financial practices by the non-profit Christian enterprise.

Indeed, Mama and Papa Crouch have his-and-her $5.6 million mansions one street apart in Newport Beach, California. Mama spends little time at her SoCal estate because she’s usually at a huge TBN-owned home in Orlando – where she oversees the company’s Holy Land Experience theme park – which is adjacent to a similarly lavish home there Papa uses on his rare visits to the Sunshine State.

The Crouches travel back and forth across the country, and around the world, in TBN jets valued at $8 million and $49 million apiece. The Christian TV network  also owns a Bentley, which Papa Crouch sometimes uses to get from place to place.

“People have been conned by my grandparents,” said Britany, who is estranged from the Crouch family along her dad, Paul Jr., who used to host both “Praise the Lord” and “Behind the Scenes” TBN’s flagship programs, before parting ways with his parents last year.  

Now, there’s little dispute that Paul and Jan Crouch have done a great work in growing TBN over the past four decades, from renting a couple hours a day on a small SoCal television station back in 1973 to overseeing the vast broadcasting empire network TBN is today.

But “Papa” and “Mama” must well know, from reading the Bible, that their works, however great that may be, are as “filthy rags” in the eyes of God.

Former Model Takes on ‘Obscene’ Cosmopolitan

NICOLE WEIDER HAS CALLED OUT COSMO MAGAZINE FOR ITS SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT CONTENT.

The August issue of Cosmopolitan arrives on newsstands next week. Nicole Weider, a former fashion model, a purpose-driven young Christian woman, believes the “obscene”  magazine should be wrapped in a nontransparent plastic bag.

“This publication has steadily declined,” she says, “into a full-on pornographic ‘how to’ guide for teens and vulnerable young girls.”

Indeed, Cosmo’s August cover entices readers to venture inside its pages with promises of “52 SEX TIPS,” as well as one of those how-to features Nicole mentions, coaching women on how to “TURN HIM ON FROM ACROSS THE ROOM,” and a helpful article for ladies wondering what to do “When Your VAGINA ACTS WEIRD After Sex..”      

“Every issue,” Nicole attests, “dares girls and encourages them to try new sex moves (including anal sex), engage in threesomes, experiment with lesbianism, have public sex, watch porn…us(e) sex toys such as dildos, shower heads, and vibrating tongue rings to ‘please your man and stimulate your clitoris.’”

The 26-year-old is not advocating that America’s best-selling women’s magazine be censored, no matter, she says, that it is “one of the media’s worst influences on girls.”

She fully understands that Cosmo Editor-in-Chief  Kate White and her morally deficient  staff have “a right to free speech and to print what they want,” however ungodly.

But they do not have a right, Nicole notes, to market graphic sex tips to under-age girls. And while White and her nymphomaniacal writers at Cosmo almost certainly will deny that they are targeting pre-adult girls, former Cosmo editor Bonnie Fuller acknowledged  that “millions of 17-year-olds” read the magazine.

The unintentional confirmation that Cosmopolitan does indeed target tender-aged girls came in article Fuler wrote earlier this year for the Huffington Post, in which she defended Cosmopolitan for featuring pre-adult actress Dakota Fanning on its cover.

Fuller followed up the article by tweeting sister-girlfriend White, her former colleague: “I’ve got your back on Dakota Fanning.”

Meanwhile, young Nicole has contacted John Liebowitz, Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, to express concern that sexually-explicit Cosmopolitan is being sold to under-age girls.

Not surprisingly, she received the brush off from the FTC chairman’s office, which informed her that her complaint was unworthy of investigation because the obscene material Cosmo is putting in the hands of millions of under-age girls does not represent a “threat” to society.

Well, the young Christian woman was undeterred. She currently has an online petition drive going, on Change.org, which makes the persuasive case that that Cosmopolitan should be packaged in nontransparent plastic bags, like Playboy, Hustler and other adult magazines.

She also demands that the magazine be sold only to those at least 18 years of age, so that the hard-core material appearing on its pages each issue is no longer readily accessible to the millions of 17-year-old (and no doubt younger) girl whom Cosmo currently reaches.

Nicole Weider is standing in the gap for all of us who lament the coarsening of our culture. May God make a hedge around her, that the young Christian woman withstand the attacks almost certain to come her way.

Time Mag’s Unholy Portrait of Mother and Child

KIDDIE PORN DRESSED UP AS JOURNALISM.

I caught Jamie Lynne Grumet’s interview on CNN. She’s the 26-year-old Los Angeles mother who thought there nothing shameful about being pictured on the cover of Time magazine with her 3-year-old boy sucking her breast.

“Our family is a little different than the average family,” she laughed.

But it was no laughing matter.

Time’s ungodly cover is kiddie porn dressed up as journalism. It will probably be a best-seller among demonically-influenced sickos out there who get off on the sexualization of children.

Yet Time magazine defends its cover, which it timed to coincide with Mother’s Day – the one Sunday each year when churches are filled not just by the faithful, heeding the Biblical commandment to “honor thy mother, but also by those who do not otherwise attend church.

“Part of our job,” said Rick Stengel, Time’s unapologetic editor-in-chief, “is to provoke discussion and provoke thought.” But surely the magazine could have done so without exploiting all-too-willing Grumet and her little boy.

The L.A. mom offered a similar defense on CNN. “We weren’t doing it for publicity,” she insisted. “We were doing it to educate people.”

But of course.

She and her husband thought they would introduce the uninformed to so-called “attachment parenting.” It is the highly-questionable way of bringing up baby advocated by Dr. Bill Sears and wife Mary in their 1992 manual, “The Baby Book.”  

It encourages moms like Grumet to breast-feed their offspring for not just the first six months of their lives, as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, but well into toddlerhood.

It also encourages “co-sleeping,” in which a mom like Grumet shares a bed for any number of years with her child (and her husband, if he’s foolish enough to go along).

Ironically, Grumet herself is living proof that attachment parenting is damaging to children like her nearly four-year-old breast-feeding boy.

She told CNN that her own mom breast-fed her until she was fully six years old. That  explains how Time’s cover mom turned out so twisted.

Is the WaPo’s ‘On Faith’ Blog Biased?

Paul Wilson is not going to endear himself to the editors of  The Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog.

PAPER OFTEN HOSTILE TO THOSE WITH TRADITIONAL CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL VIEWS, STUDY FINDS.

The Post describes it as “a conversation on religion and politics.”  But in a report published this week by the Media Research Center, Wilson asserts that the blog “more accurately resembles a diatribe justifying liberal politics with religious imagery.”

The most recent example, writes Wilson, a Masters student at Catholic University, a researcher for MRC’s Culture and Media Center,  is an “On Faith” blog post this past week by Becky Garrison, who argued that actor Kirk Cameron is a not an authentic Christian because he opposes same-sex marriage.

The implication of Garrison’s rant is that the more than one-quarter of Americans that are evangelical Protestants – as estimated last year by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life – are counterfeit Christians.

That’s because, like Cameron, the vast majority of the evangelical community opposes homosexual marriage.

All told, writes Wilson, MRC analyzed 149 “On Faith” blog posts over a two-month span, from December 1 of last year to January 31 of this year. “Posts that posited a liberal view of religion outnumbered conservatives posts by over a 3 to 1 ratio,” Wilson found.

Even when “On Faith” stoops to publish a blog post by a Christian conservative, the liberal bias of its editors rears itself.

For instance, Wilson notes, the writings of Jordan Sekulow, the only one of “On Faith’s” regular bloggers who holds a traditional Christian conservative political view, are labeled “Religious Right Now.” By contrast, writes Wilson, “left-wing hack Anthony Stevens-Arroyo’s blog is simply titled ‘Catholic America.’”

It is no secret to anyone who reads The Washington Post that its editorial page is one of the most liberal in the entire country.

But what many unsuspecting Post readers may not know is that the paper’s liberal bias has thoroughly corrupted its religious coverage.

SI Swimsuit Issue is Soft Core Porn

SI DOING DIRTY WORK OF SEX INDUSTRY.

The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue has just hit newsstands. Its glossy cover lasciviously displays teen-aged model Kate Upton in what People magazine described as an “itty-bitty bikini.”

SI’s editors insist that its annual swimsuit issue – which always ranks as its best-seller – is tastefully done. But the reality is that SI is peddling soft core pornography. Its models are only slightly less sexualized than those that appear in Playboy.

In fact, SI is in many respects worst than Playboy.

Hugh Hefner’s skin magazine makes no pretense to be anything other than pornographic, notwithstanding the articles that fill the pages between the magazine’s nude photo spreads.

SI pretends that its swimsuit issue has something to do with sports. But closest connection covergirl Uptonhas to sports is that she is rumored to be dating New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Yes, the magazine does include several actual female athletes, including Alex Morgan, a member of theU.S.women’s soccer team, Natalie Coughlin, an Olympic swimmer, and Natalie Gulbis, the LPGA tour player.

The three legit sportswomen did not pose in itty-bitty swimsuits like Upton. No they were photographed nude, with only coats of body paint affording them any modesty.

What particularly disturbs is that, unlike most other soft core porn – be it in magazines, at the video store or on pay-per-view television – SI’s swimsuit issue is readily accessible to under-age boys.

For at least some of those boys, the sexualized image of teen-aged Kate in her itty-bitty bikini will stimulate an even more prurient sexual appetite: For hard-core pornography. For topless bars and all-nude strip clubs. For escort services and sex-for-hire.

SI is exploiting young women like Upton, while cultivating unhealthy sexual appetites in its young male readers.

The magazine is doing the dirty work of the sex industry.

Promoting Adultery on Valentine’s Day

WEB SITE SLOGAN: “LIFE IS SHORT. HAVE AN AFFAIR.”

This is what passes for editorial judgment at USA Today, the self-described “nation’s newspaper:” A splashy front page Valentine’s Day story amorally informing readers that web sites catering to “‘discreet’ encounters” are thriving.

A “‘discreet’ encounter,” for those of us of who prefer straight talk to euphemism, is an extramarital affair. For much of the past 3,500 years, since Moses descended Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, it has generally been considered forbidden fruit.

Not so much anymore, according to USA Today, which shamelessly featured the founder and CEO of Ashley Madison, a Toronto-based web site that unabashedly aids and abets  adulterous liaisons.

“The day after Valentine’s Day is one of our biggest days of the year,” boasted Noel Biderman, who launched his site 10 years ago, under the slogan: “Life is short. Have an affair.”

Biderman explained that, on Valentine’s Day, “People are disappointed by their spouses’ lack of effort and they feel especially undervalued when there is a societal expectation of romance.”

So Ashley Madison steps in and assists the disappointed, undervalued spouse in hooking up with some stranger; in violating his or her sacred marriage vow.

What particularly galls is that Biderman insisted that he actually is saving, rather than destroying, marriages. He maintained that an adulterous affair actually is a “marriage preservation device” and suggested that his web site performs some sort of public service by facilitating adulterous affairs.

In the time of Moses, Biderman would have been stoned – and deservedly so.

Alas, in our social nihilistic times, that wily serpent rates a front page story in USA Today.

Tooth for a tooth

I just finished reading a rather snarky posting on the staff blog of the OC Weekly, an “alternative” newsweekly out of Orange County, California.

It was authored by staff writer Gustavo Arellano, who dedicated much of his blog post to an attack on Trinity Broadcasting Network, America’s most-watched religious network, which happens to be headquartered in the OC.

Arellano passed along a letter from a reader who has a beef with TBN. The reader had a record producer client/friend (“mostly hip-hop, r&b, black music”) who wanted to put on a Christian music festival. So the reader pitched the idea to TBN on behalf of his client/friend.

The reader was “completely shocked” that TBN did not volunteer to “pay for production or licensing/syndication fees” for the proposed festival. “I’ve worked in Hollywood a long time,” she wrote, “and I’ve never encountered anyone as greedy as TBN.”

Yeah, right.

The insipid letter took up most of Arellano’s blog post but what I found most interesting was Arellano’s explanation of why he was sharing it. It was “an apology of sorts” for his missing a scheduled public appearance.

As it turns out, Arellano was supposed to present a speech on religion before the OC chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

“Just half an hour before my 2 p.m. start,” he related, “a blinding tooth ache forced me to visit the emergency room at Kaiser Permanente’s Irvine branch,” which, in turn, prevented him from presenting his anti-religion speech to the OC separationists.

Arellano and his fellow non-believers no doubt attributed the timing of his blinding tooth ache to happenstance. I see it as confirmation that the Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways.

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