Separation of Church and Scrutiny; Only Exotic and Obscure Religions Get a Free Pass from Liberal Press

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 14, 2012 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Separation of Church and Scrutiny; Only Exotic and Obscure Religions Get a Free Pass from Liberal Press


Of all the double standards that define the left-leaning political media, perhaps the most glaring involves the separate standards it uses in covering candidates' religious beliefs.

Candidates who are members of exotic or obscure religions regularly escape scrutiny. But faithful adherents to mainstream religions are heavily scrutinized and, at times, are attacked for their beliefs, which are routinely portrayed as strange or dangerous.

There has been a lot of talk about the prejudice and discrimination Mitt Romney would have to endure as the first viable Mormon presidential candidate, but details of the presidential front-runner's faith have barely been discussed.

There seems to be an unspoken agreement in the media that Mormonism, which even Mr. Romney recently acknowledged is an unusual religion in a number of respects - is off-limits.

Mr. Romney is not alone. In 2006, Keith Ellison became the first Muslim elected to Congress. Only five years removed from Sept. 11 and with the U.S. engaged in two wars against Islamists, the Minnesota lawmaker might have expected his faith to be a liability during the campaign. But it may have helped him win.

Ellison's Muslim faith has generated no controversy in the campaign, Minneapolis lawyer Scott W. Johnson wrote in the Weekly Standard before the election. On the contrary, it has served to insulate aspects of his public record from close scrutiny in a city whose dominant news organ, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, is a paragon of political correctness.

Protected from scrutiny of his religious beliefs and dubious past, including his relationships with the Nation of Islam and members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Mr. Ellison has won each of his three elections by no less than 34 percentage points.

President Obama's faith has similarly been deemed off-limits. For two decades before he became president, Mr. Obama attended the church of the controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright. Mr. Wright's church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, preaches black liberation theology, a religious philosophy whose goal is to liberate blacks from oppression.

Mr. Wright made numerous incendiary remarks from the pulpit during the time Mr. Obama attended, including a suggestion that America was to blame for the attacks of Sept. 11.

The press mostly ignored Mr. Obama's association with Mr. Wright and his church, and berated anyone who brought it up. A pre-election New York Times editorial argued that Mr. Obama's religious connection with Mr. Wright should be none of the voters' business.

In the campaign, Republican nominee John McCain refused to mention Mr. Obama's church or pastor in ads, interviews, speeches or debates. Because neither the mainstream media nor Mr. McCain was willing to talk about Mr. Wright or Trinity, many voters never heard much about them.

Contrast this with the media's treatment of candidates from mainstream faiths. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 26 percent of Americans identify as evangelicals, making evangelical Christianity the most commonly practiced religion in the country.

Despite the pervasiveness of their faith, evangelical Christian candidates routinely receive excessive negative scrutiny from the media.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Separation of Church and Scrutiny; Only Exotic and Obscure Religions Get a Free Pass from Liberal Press


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?