This piece by our great friend Raymond Ibrahim is a few weeks old but well worth revisiting, as it analyzes media tendencies and practices that are still very much with us. “Is the Media ‘Fair and Balanced’ on Christian Persecution?,” by Raymond Ibrahim for Pajamas Media (via RaymondIbrahim.com), January 23:
The mainstream media (MSM) has just provided another example of how it ostracizes those who fail to tout its party-line. Context: the Washington Post’s On Faith blog posted an article dealing with Muslim-Christian relations, in light of recent attacks on Christians in the Muslim world. Regular contributors were invited to respond. The response of one of these, Willis E. Eliot, a retired dean of exploratory programs, New York Seminary, was rejected (Pajamas Media published it here). Up till then, for over three years, Eliot had been publishing almost weekly on that blog; this is his first contribution to be rejected in all that time.
What about it caused the Washington Post to jettison it? You see, the nonagenarian Eliot decided to make black and white–as opposed to postmodern, “there-are-no-truths”–observations. Consider some of his comments on the differences between Christianity and Islam:
Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” Islam, to the contrary, is essentially hostile to “the infidels”… Jesus was anti-violent, Muhammad was violent… Muslims become violent, or threaten violence, when they feel offended: when we Christians feel offended, almost never do we become violent, and almost always we suffer the disrespect in silence.”
Inasmuch as Eliot’s assertions are empirically demonstrative–scripturally, historically, and in current affairs (a la Koran-waving jihadists and persecuted Christians)–so too do they go against the one unwavering dogma clung to by the MSM: cultural relativism. Hence, the need to suppress them.
No doubt On Faith’s editors were expecting the usual boilerplate responses when discussing attacks on Christians in the Muslim world: acknowledge their existence, yes, but be quick to point out that, “in their own way,” Christians are equally responsible. That is essentially how most other contributors responded: one found Christian fundamentalism as troubling as Muslim fundamentalism; another bemoaned how scriptures can incite violence, while being careful not to mention any particular religion; yet another counseled suffering Christians to “turn the other cheek” and forgive their persecutors, cloyingly adding that all violence “can be overcome with our radical love”–easy sentiments to preach living in distant America.
Consider the MSM’s approach to Egypt’s Copts, the Middle East’s largest Christian minority: whenever they are attacked by Islamists, the media refers to it as “sectarian strife,” eschewing the more accurate, if old-fashioned, term, “Christian persecution.” (What else does one call it when a vastly outnumbered Christian minority suffers at the hands of a Muslim majority–including its government–for nothing less than being Christian?) “Sectarian strife” suggests two, comparable forces fighting one another–hardly an accurate way to depict the situation.
Likewise, when Islamists bombed an Egyptian church on New Year’s Eve, leaving over 20 Copts dead, and dozens maimed, the MSM reported it, but under headlines such as “Clashes grow as Egyptians remain angry after attack” (New York Times) and “Christians clash with police in Egypt after attack on churchgoers kills 21” (Washington Post)–as if frustrated Christians lashing out against persecution is as noteworthy as the persecution itself. When earlier this month an Egyptian policeman boarded a train, identifying Christians by the small, tattooed cross on their wrists, and opened fire, killing one and wounding five to the distinctly Muslim war cry of “Allah Akbar,” the Los Angeles Times deemed it suitable to relate the story under the headline “Eyewitness claims train attacker did not target Copts, state media say.”…