By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
During an address to youth in Madrid last week, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput warned that liberal news outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, Newsweek and The New York Times do not “provide trustworthy information about religious faith.
CNSNews.com is reporting that the incoming Archbishop of Philadelphia gave an address on religious freedom to 10,000 young pilgrims at World Youth Day last week in which he said the Church’s moral teachings have led to “ferocious public smears” of Catholicism and religion in general by the liberal media.
” . . . (I)n the United States, our battles over abortion, family life, same-sex ‘marriage,’ and other sensitive issues have led to ferocious public smears and legal threats not only against Catholics, but also against Mormons, evangelicals, and other religious believers,” he said.
“And with relatively few exceptions, the mass media tend to cover these disputed issues with a combination of ignorance, laziness, and bias against traditional Christian belief.”
He went on to warn youth that they are making a serious mistake if they rely on media such as The New York Times, Newsweek, CNN or MSNBC for reliable news coverage about religion.
“These news media simply don’t provide trustworthy information about religious faith — and sometimes they can’t provide it, either because of limited resources or because of their own editorial prejudices. These are secular operations focused on making a profit,” he said. “They have very little sympathy for the Catholic faith, and quite a lot of aggressive skepticism toward any religious community that claims to preach and teach God’s truth.”
He also pointed out how the media provided heavy coverage of the “Arab Spring,” but little coverage of the wake of these uprisings in which Christians are suffering.
“ . . . (V)ery little of that coverage has mentioned that the turmoil in Muslim countries has also created a very dangerous situation for Christians and other religious minorities across North Africa and the Middle East,” he said. “In Egypt, angry mobs have attacked Christian churches and monasteries, burning them to the ground and murdering the people inside.”
The media also routinely neglects to cover the widespread anti-Christian violence in Iraq, Syria, and Tunisia, and places such as Pakistan where “Christians face frequent discrimination, slander, beatings and even murder.”
He went on to warn about how dangerous it is to allow a democracy to force religion out of the public square.
“Forcing religious faith out of a nation’s public square and out of a country’s public debates does not serve democracy,” said the Archbishop. “It doesn’t serve real tolerance or pluralism. What it does do is impose a kind of unofficial state atheism. To put it another way, if we ban Christian Churches or other religious communities from taking an active role in our nation’s civic life, we’re really just enforcing a new kind of state-sponsored intolerance — a religion without God.”
Archbishop Chaput will be installed as the head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on September 8, 2011.
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