violence! in the church

There was a Youtube video going viral.  It showed a Greek Orthodox baptism in a Greek church.

Journalists decried the violent treatment of the baby.

These people parody themselves.

Bizarre moment priest repeatedly dunks tiny baby in water in ‘most violent baptism ever’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5723147/Orthodox-bishop-violently-dunks-baby-water-baptism.html

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/enthusiastic-archbishop-carries-out-the-12522791


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Media v Evangelicals, 2018 part 5

In my previous post in this series I concluded by noting anti-traditionalist media coverage of a gathering at Wheaton University.  It was a group of “concerned” “Evangelical leaders.”  It included some theological conservatives, though most of the attendees tilted theologically liberal.  Since then, some sound bites by liberal Evangelicals made the rounds, mostly because they were bitterly critical of Christians who support President Trump.  Media continues to love quotes from NeverTrump clerics and pundits who have Christian or conservative credentials.

 

The continuing coverage of last month’s gathering of Evangelicals can be best represented by reading this long feature from the New Yorker, since it summarizes everything that I have seen elsewhere in mass media:

https://www.newyorker.com/news-desk/on-religion/at-a-private-meeting-in-illinois-a-group-of-evangelicals-tried-to-save-their-movement-from-trumpism

But I highlight it here because it talks about the debates, letting us know that President Trump was not the focus of that gathering, though he was obviously on everyone’s mind.  From other media accounts you would have thought that the meeting had been all about Trump.  In fact, as I had suspected all along, they talked about a host of culture war issues, with the primary issue being racism.

 

Racism got a lot of media chatter over the past few weeks (as it has ever since the Democrat Party enacted quotas for minority representation in their Party structure five decades ago).  In the past two years we have grown tired of the tedious way they slander all Christians who support President Trump as racists, which they do with complete disregard for the way Trump got more support from blacks and Hispanics than did Mitt Romney.  In my last report I linked to the Washington Post blathering about “white Evangelicals’” support for President Trump.  This trend continued.

PRRI released new poll results, and The Atlantic mined it for data to spin the racist angle, breathlessly reporting:  “…white evangelical support for Trump remains strikingly high, with 75 percent holding a favorable view of the president….”   Of course they isolated white Evangelicals.  They are still horrified that Trump showed surprising strength among blacks and Hispanics, but they say as little about that as possible.

 

Leftists were horrified at PBS, who went to the National Day of Prayer event in Washington, and got an interview with Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.  It is clear from the follow-up questions that the reporter was put on his back foot by some remarks by Rev. Rodriguez (a Pentecostalist pastor):

William Brangham:

There’s many things on that one side of the ledger that would seem to alienate him from the evangelical community, three marriages, accusations of adultery, bragging about sexual assaults.

You’re arguing that the policy side of the ledger is enough to make people think that things don’t matter as much?

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez:

No, I don’t think it’s ever to a point where it doesn’t matter.

I think it comes to the point where we don’t want to write anyone off. You don’t want to write off access to a president who can impact religious liberty, who can impact the sanctity of life. So it’s a matter of balancing these narratives in a way where we never sacrifice truth on the altar of expediency, but we likewise support policies that reflect our Judeo-Christian value system.

William Brangham:

So, it was something much more fundamental to evangelicals? When they looked at this last election, President Trump vs. Hillary Clinton, they just felt much more fundamental was at stake that made them want to support him?

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez:

Some would argue the future of American Christianity. Some argued…

William Brangham:

Is that right?

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez:

Absolutely.

 

Mass media bias was also clear from the lack of coverage of a story that got lots of attention in Christian media, which was the saga of Alfie Evans in England.  It was eerily similar to last year’s enforced death of Charlie Gard.  An English hospital decided that, in the “best interests” of the child, that they would seize him from his parents and sentence him to death, to “put him out of his misery.”  A British court upheld the hospital’s right to keep Alfie’s death on schedule.  American mass media pretended not to notice.  Three-sentence blurbs were all that consumers of mass media news got, except that Fox News provided a little bit of coverage.  This item is not an attack on Evangelicals; it is simply another indicator (as if any were needed) that mass media does not care about matters that concern Christians, except to the extent that matters of concern to Christians can be used to wedge Christians apart from each other.  They seek to divide us in order to conquer us.

 

There were continuing blasts in the ongoing #metoo sexual harassment media excitement.  Whenever a pastor is alleged to have engaged in philandery it gets special notice.  After a decade spent focused on violators in the Catholic ranks, now mass media is actively seeking out bad boy Evangelical pastors to be pilloried in the press.

 

The New York Times got all distressed about Betsy DeVos relaxing some strangling regulations related to religious colleges.  They focused on how theologically conservative Christian colleges would benefit.  They ignored the way the changes can also help theologically liberal colleges.  My favorite media critics noticed:

There are some important voices and points of view missing in the New York Times story that ran with this headline: “DeVos Moves to Loosen Restrictions on Federal Aid to Religious Colleges.” In addition to its focus on evangelical schools, this story really needed input from educational leaders on liberal religious campuses and even secular private campuses.

 

Aside from news coverage, there were the usual editorials.  One in particular may be classified as “friendly fire.”  It was a sermon by David French at National Review.  It was so awful that Bryan G. Stephens posted about it here for us Ratburghers.  D. French has a confused sense of Christian morals.  His sort of moralizing is something that irreligious mass media outlets love to spread around, as a way to drive another wedge to divide Christians.


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Media v Evangelicals 2018 part 4

There were some interesting developments since my last post in this series.  There were new instances of the continuing mass media assault on Evangelicals and new instances of mass media trying to drive a wedge between President Trump and his Christian supporters.

The drumbeat over Stormy Daniels and her sex affair with Donald Trump continued to be a daily item, most recently because the lawyer who originally paid her hush money had his home and office raided by the FBI, who seized a trove of records that are now the subject of a legal hoo-raw and media tempest.  Every time they mention this matter, Nevers and mass media make sure to mention that Donald Trump is morally unfit to serve as President and is undeserving of Christians’ support.

James Comey announced his book.  Copies were provided to friendly reviewers who immediately passed along Mr. Comey’s attacks on President Trump.  They especially used Mr. Comey’s remarks to an interviewer while pumping for his book.  Mr. Comey said that Mr. Trump is “morally unfit” for his office.  This of course fed a new round of chattering about how Mr. Trump is undeserving of Christians’ support.

Some high-profile Evangelical leaders had high-profile articles appear about alleged sexual sins.  Some of this was fresh news and some was old news that got recycled in order to add to the feeding frenzy.  Nevertheless it amounted to an embarrassment for a number of Christian ministries.  Bill Hybels is perhaps the most widely known of these ministers.  Some of the coverage put me in mind of the “pedophile priests” scandal of fifteen to ten years ago.  (At that time some of us observed that “pedophile” was an inappropriate name for the problem, that the Catholic churches did not appear to have a worse situation than Protestant churches, and that churches in general did not appear to have a worse situation than other institutions such as schools or government.  The phenomenon is characterized as much by the herd mentality of the media as by the sexual sins in question.)

There was an interesting feature article that appeared at HuffPo.  It was an analysis of findings revealed in the trial of Noor Salman, the widow of the jihadi who shot up the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.  You may recall that Leftist mass media raised a clamor about how the shooter was motivated by a “climate of hate” and laid responsibility for the shooting on the “anti-gay atmosphere” created by conservative Christians and Republicans.  To the credit of the Huffington Post they ran this really interesting post by Melissa Jelten, who reported that almost everything that had been said in the media about the shooter’s motives were wrong.

There was an interesting editorial in the New Yorker.  It stirred up some outragey reactions from folk on the right.  It was an anti-Christian screed aimed at Chick-fil-A for being popular in New York City, and thereby offending the godless writer and his pals.

Wheaton hosted a conference of Evangelicals, tilted leftward.  The Washington Post headline reflects a (months-old) quote from Tim Keller:  “There’s now a red evangelicalism and a blue evangelicalism.”   As if this was news.  Conservative Evangelicals have been looking askance at Liberal Evangelicals for half a century.  The problems is that the Liberals became more and more Liberal, to the extent that some are still claiming to be Christian while espousing all sorts of heresies and syncretisms.  Some have admitted that they have “emerged beyond Jesus.”  Those are the media darlings.  (Though they keep whining about the declining size of their flocks.)

So, nothing new here, just a continuation of mass media hostility to Christians in general, with a special level of hate and snark aimed at Evangelicals who support President Trump.  I will put links in the comments.


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Media v. Evangelicals, 2018 part 3

Time for my third installment to report on recent mass media attacks on Evangelicals.  There is quite a lot to cover, and I probably missed a lot due to work stuff, life stuff, and a local phone service outage that still has my AT&T internet service out.  We had tons of anti-Evangelical digs from Leftist mass media that used the occasions of the Parkland shooting and the death of Billy Graham.

Several of the editorials (many masquerading as articles or obituaries) about the passing of Billy Graham brought up his renown for acceptance and support of both Democrats and Republicans, and then sprang from that into assaults on Evangelicals who voted for President Trump.  They are obviously waging a political campaign intended to separate President Trump from his base.  One example that was cited by other media several times and which was featured in the Google News Spotlight was an excerpt from “The Story with Martha McCallum,” a discussion show on Fox News Network, from Feb. 22.  There was an exchange between Juan Williams and Rev. Robert Jeffress, both of whom are regular contributors at Fox News.  The setup was Ms. McCallum quoting from a recent column by J. Williams:

“It now seems clear that evangelical Christians who hold up biblical edicts on lying, cheating and adultery, don’t care about the word of God when it comes to Trump.”

Pastor Jeffress began his remarks with this:

“Let me just share this perspective, evangelicals had a binary choice in 2016 between Donald Trump, who admittedly by his own admission is not a Sunday school teacher or a saint, but he has become the most pro-life, pro-religious liberty, pro-Israel president in history. The other choice was Hillary Clinton.”

Which was followed by the usual escalation of voices and led to this remark by Juan Williams:

“Well, so I listened to Pastor Jeffress, and he says the policies matter, it’s not the fact that this man, as president of the United States, is a role model for us as a society. And I just think that you’re buying in to the idea that the policies matter but character and Christian doctrine don’t matter.”

I found that to be an interesting assertion, in keeping with the overall tone of mass media coverage of all things Evangelical.

Also in the coverage of the death of Billy Graham, Politico and the New York Times led the rush to trash Franklin Graham.  Franklin Graham has supported President Trump, and they preached to their readers about how this is a mortal sin.

 

What I find even more interesting than sermons against Evangelicals that spring from some news hook is the steady appearance of new attacks on Evangelicals that are not triggered by events but just are part of the media scene.  For example, for no apparent reason, the Google News Spotlight featured an anti-Christian rant from RawStory.com.  It stayed in the Spotlight for a few days at the beginning of February.  When you pushed through and checked it out, it turned out to be a re-post of a blog post that had run at RawStory in 2016.  Old news.  Old sad news, and of the kind that tells us a lot more about the people who select the Google News Spotlight than it tells us about either RawStory or about Christians.

In a more newsworthy but unprofessional light, Yahoo News did an e-mail interview of Eric Metaxas.  The author of the article cited several quotes from old David French articles in which he lambasted Evangelicals, in order to spin Metaxas’s responses.  I will put a link in the comments, and also a link to the blog post in which Eric Metaxas published the entire exchange as a way to correct the record.

 

More recently, the New York Times gave us another feature in which they were trying to wedge white Christian women away from President Trump:

Evangelical voters, often portrayed as a monolith, are becoming increasingly difficult to define. The support for Mr. Trump reflects a growing pragmatism among evangelical voters who are willing to accept a less than ideal model of Christian faith in exchange for policies that they endorse.

“I think they’ve become experienced and very practical,” said Frances FitzGerald, the author of the recent book “The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America.” “By large majorities they used to believe that to be elected, you had to be of good character. No longer. It’s ‘We want a president to do what we want him to do, and he’s going to do it if we turn out and vote.’”

Mr. Trump also appeals to white evangelicals in other ways with his strong language, disruptive view of presidential norms and his policies on taxes. “Religious right rhetoric has always been very martial — isolationist and martial at the same time,” Ms. FitzGerald said.

When they say “increasingly difficult to define,” what they mean is increasingly difficult to caricature and stereotype, which has been their pattern for five decades.

That week, I saw a Google News Spotlight headline for an article from Forbes: “Why White Evangelicalism is so Cruel.”  That was sort of intriguing, but the article had already been pulled by Forbes.  Vanished into the ether, just like a couple of posts by me and 10 Cents at Site R>.  I searched for it the next day and discovered that it had been posted at the author’s personal blog site.

Also earlier this month, The Atlantic posted a very long essay by Michael Gerson: “The Last Temptation.”  It carried this subheading: “How evangelicals, once culturally confident, became an anxious minority seeking political protection from the least traditionally religious president in recent memory.”  It is very snarky and throws around insults.  Here is the key takeaway:

“Blinded by political tribalism and hatred for their political opponents, these leaders can’t see how they are undermining the causes to which they once dedicated their lives. Little remains of a distinctly Christian public witness.”

That longwinded essay provided several pull quotes that were used by other mass media journalists to attack Evangelicals.

 

In the end I have nothing really new to report in this post.  Leftist mass media continue to try to wedge Evangelical support away from President Trump.  They like to quote Republicans whenever a Republican Never attacks President Trump or attacks Christians who support President Trump.

They are the Opposition Party.  They are getting plenty of material to work with.


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Parkland dirty tricks

In the immediate wake of the Parkland school shooting the students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were immediate stars.  They were passionate, articulate, polished, highly-motivated champions of gun control.

Perhaps there was a little more to the story than just a group of fabulous grieving students?

Kyle Smith on Opinion Laundering:

The reason television has made stars out of Hogg and González is obvious: They are telegenic, sympathetic vehicles for a message media personalities wish they could get away with openly espousing themselves. (“I get so angry talking to these gun nuts,” Piers Morgan said in a revealing moment on British morning television today.) Just as an op-ed editor at a newspaper can showcase his opinions without his name ever appearing in print by his selection of which articles to publish, the TV media keep giving airtime to students like Hogg because they’re saying all of the things the media’s nominally neutral hosts believe but don’t otherwise feel comfortable saying. Katy Tur, George Stephanopoulos, and Wolf Blitzer can’t passionately lecture the audience about why they think gun policy is crazy in this country, so they put the students on camera to say it. They’re simply laundering their opinions through these kids.

David Hines on Astroturfing:

On February 28, BuzzFeed came out with the actual story: Rep. Debbie Wassermann Schultz aiding in the lobbying in Tallahassee, a teacher’s union organizing the buses that got the kids there, Michael Bloomberg’s groups and the Women’s March working on the upcoming March For Our Lives, MoveOn.org doing social media promotion and (potentially) march logistics, and training for student activists provided by federally funded Planned Parenthood.

The president of the American Federation of Teachers told BuzzFeed they’re also behind the national school walkout, which journalists had previously assured the public was the sole work of a teenager.  …

What’s striking about all this isn’t the organization. If you start reading books about organizing, it’s clear how it all works. But no journalist covering the story wrote about this stuff for two weeks. Instead, every story was about the Parkland kids being magically effective.

On Twitter, I lost track of the number of bluechecks rhapsodizing over how effective the kids’ organizational instincts were. But organizing isn’t instinctive. It’s skilled work; you have to learn how to do it, and it takes really a lot of people. You don’t just get a few magical kids who’re amazing and naturally good at it.

The real tip-off should have been the $500,000 donations from Winfrey and Clooney. Big celebrities don’t give huge money to strangers on a whim. Somebody who knows Winfrey and Clooney called them and asked. But the press’s response was to be ever more impressed with the kids.


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Media v. Evangelicals

I have been reading a rash of stories about disarray and infighting among Evangelicals. These stories are mostly written by journalists who are not Evangelical, and who can generally be considered hostile to traditionalist religion. They focus on disagreement over President Trump, and then fail as they try to relate a position regarding President Trump to issues in the church.

Remember how the NeverTrumps preached at us? During the 2016 campaign, they said that support for Donald Trump amounted to “sacrificing conservative values.” But as they realized that their erstwhile followers were not dissuaded from Trump’s candidacy, they went further. They began to tell us that it would be “immoral” to vote for Trump. There were some who said that a vote for Trump was “unChristian.”

Anti-Trump sentiment dominates Leftist mass media. They keep recycling the anti-Trump remarks of the Nevers, who for the past 1-1/2 years have been getting greater distribution than ever before, even while their readership has declined. Leftist journalists also like quoting Christian pastors who criticize President Trump. These journalists are typically so unacquainted with religion that they assume that all Christians must be Conservatives. I saw a number of year-end editorials that cited divisions within Evangelical Christianity that quoted the most politically liberal Christians and mistook them for political conservatives because they had Christian credentials.

Journalists seem unable to understand that there is a difference between political right and left and theological right and left.

This editorial is typical. It is featured in the Google News spotlight today. It is by Rachel Zoll of Associated Press. It gets circulated as if it were a news article, but it is an editorial.

http://time.com/5102214/donald-trump-immigration-evangelicals/?xid=gonewsedit&google_editors_picks=true

Ms. Zoll quoted four politically conservative Christians who offered weak criticism of President Trump, mixed with lukewarm brushoffs that the “shithole” remark was unfortunate but not inaccurate. Then she pivots with this:

“Yet anger spread among other conservative Christians.”

Following which, she quoted two moderates and two liberals. The only thing that would make these four men qualify as “conservative Christians” is that they all believe that the Resurrection actually happened. Otherwise, nobody would call these guys “conservatives” in either the theological sense or the political sense.

What is actually going on is that journalists get praise from other journalists whenever they can wedge liberal Evangelicals away from conservative Evangelicals. This has been going on for a long time. They think that they can boost the Leftists in the Evangelical churches same way that media boosted the Leftists in the old mainline churches, until they destroyed them.

This battle is part of a fight that has its roots in the Enlightenment. It is a continuation of the ongoing fight of the Left against the authority of G-d, by tearing down the churches.


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Knowledge Base: Embedding Media in Posts and Comments

Thanks to a technology called oEmbed, it is possible to embed videos, documents, tweets from Twitter, images from image hosting sites, polls, and other media in your posts on the main site and in groups, and in comments on those posts.

It couldn’t be easier.  For example, suppose you’re viewing an interesting video in YouTube which you’d like to share.  As long as the person who posted the video hasn’t marked it as ineligible for embedding, you simply copy the URL from the address bar of your Web browser, something that looks like “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ6nn8fZOmc” into your post on a line by itself, without any formatting (such as bold or italic type), and the link address will be automatically transformed into embedded media when you publish the post or comment.

In order for a link to be embedded,

  1. The site linked to must support the oEmbed protocol and,
  2. The site must be on a “white list” of acceptable sites.

The white list for ratburger.org is presently the standard list supplied with a stock installation of WordPress, but sites may be added or removed in the future based upon user requests and experience.  Here is the complete list of sites from which you may currently embed content.  In addition, you can embed links to posts or comments on ratburger.org.

This about 95% of what you need to know.  What follows are more technical details which many users can safely ignore.  But this is the knowledge base, so here’s the knowledge.

Some sites, for example YouTube and Twitter, will give you “embed code” which often starts with something like “<iframe”.  This is not what you should paste into your post or comment.  That is intended for sites which do not support oEmbed but rather require you to paste the raw HTML (the markup language for Web documents).  Ratburger, like most modern WordPress-based sites, fully supports oEmbed and does not permit raw HTML in posts.  Simply post the URL from your browser’s address bar on a line by itself, and the site will take care of all of the details of embedding.

But how does it work, you ask.  The oEmbed protocol is clever.  Upon encountering what looks like a URL in text, and determining that it references a site our white list allows embedding, a special request is sent to that site for the embed code for that URL.  If the site recognises the URL and permits embedding it, it supplies the HTML code to be inserted to embed the media in the page.  This step should make it abundantly clear why a white list is necessary: without massively complex parsing and analysis of this HTML, there’s the possibility it might contain malicious code which could damage the user’s computer or compromise privacy.  Consequently, embedding is restricted to sites with deep pockets where the damages from such misbehaviour deter them from engaging in it.  (In other words, “Don’t be evil, or we’ll sue you into the stone age”.)

Finally, what if you want to cite a URL, but not have it embedded?  This happens frequently when writing about resources on the Web or documenting work which cites them.  It’s beyond irritating to try to provide the user a URL and have it expanded into a box which disrupts the flow of the text.  When I first encountered this, I slew more thesauruses than the Chicxulub impactor trying to express my distaste for this: my favourite was “the mephitic URL expander”.  The secret lies in recalling the phrase “on a line by itself, without any formatting”.  To cite a URL without invoking oExpand, simply break one of these rules.  The easiest way is to work it into your text, quoted, for example, as I did in the second paragraph of this post.  You can also simply precede the URL with a period, which few people will notice, but which breaks embedding of the URL.

.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ6nn8fZOmc


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