NYT Gets It Wrong

NYT gets it wrong: David E. Sanger reports that “Mr. Bush has never answered the question of how he would react if Iraq or Afghanistan or other nations in the Middle East held free elections, and freely chose fundamentalist Islamic governments.” That contradicts this report on BBC News, from Tuesday: “Bush has said he would accept an Islamic government in Iraq as the result of free elections. Mr Bush told the Associated Press in an interview that he would accept such a result if elections were open and fair. ‘I will be disappointed. But democracy is democracy.’”

Easy Answers

“‘Media have a tendency to think of religion as inherently controversial. That leaves them prone to accept the easiest answer instead of investigating it further.’” Revealer contributor Stewart Hoover tells it like it is, regarding how the mass media is covering religion in the 2004 campaign: “‘The media in the United States take it as a given that religious people are likely to vote for President Bush. This assumption helps create the perception of a “religion gap” — the idea that regular churchgoers are more likely to vote for Bush than those who attend less frequently. However, there may be equally religious people who don’t attend church as much and are in support of John Kerry. The media should examine whether church attendance is the only indicator of religiousness.’”

Holy War Hits the Farm

Indonesian Muslims attacked several Christian-owned pig farms with machetes, slaughtering around 20 animals accused of emitting an offensive smell. A Muslim leader said that the odor was especially offensive during Ramadan. Local police did nothing to stop the attack.

The Lambeth Chill

“‘I mean, can you imagine having a commission study racism with no people of colour at the table, or study sexism and have no women at the table? And yet it seems perfectly fine — in fact [on the contrary] you’d be accused of doing something horrible — not to have a gay or lesbian person at the table talking about these issues.’” Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, talks with Michael Valpy of The Globe and Mail about his surprise that the Lambeth Commission which convened, in part, to deal with his sexuality, was comprised entirely of heterosexuals. Robinson also predicts that the commission’s report will have a chilling effect on gay and lesbian aspirations within the church.

Bomb of the Spirit

Pastor Jose L. Gonzalez, of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement, was arrested and charged with making a false statement after joking to an airport security officer checking his luggage that his Bible was his “bomb.” Though a subsequent investigation cleared Gonzalez of any suspicion, if convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Witchless in Washington

A Washington state school district has cancelled Halloween celebrations in all of its schools, due in part to concerns that children’s costumes –particularly witches’ costumes — might be offensive to Wiccans’ religious beliefs. There are several Wiccan groups in Puyallup, WA, and the districts guidelines for celebrating holidays take them into account when prohibiting the use of “derogatory stereotypes.”

ADL Criticizes Presbyterians

The Anti-Defamation League has released a statement critical of the 24 leaders of the U.S. Presbyterian Church for meeting with Hezbollah in Beirut. The church leaders were on a “fact-finding tour” of the Middle East, and at least one delegate praised Hezbollah’s goodwill toward Americans and said that conversations with Islamic leaders had been easier than with Jewish leaders. The statement and meeting may exacerbate existing tensions between Jews and Presbyterians due to the church’s proposal to divest from Israel.