By Jonathon Van Maren
It is difficult to get surprised by the mainstream media’s utter ignorance of religion, but last week I spotted a headline that almost seemed to be an intentional parody of that fact. It was an Associated Press headline by Nicole Winfield and Colleen Barry, on an article intended to helpfully give context to the events surrounding the fire at the great Paris cathedral: “Tourist mecca Notre Dame also revered as place of worship.” The article with that car crash of a title was filed, of all places, from Vatican City.
Following the reaction to the fire at Notre Dame, there were the responses of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to the ruthless massacres of Christians celebrating Easter across Sri Lanka, resulting in the deaths of 321 men, women, and children and the injury of hundreds more. While condemnations of the recent atrocities at mosques in New Zealand by a white supremacist killer were specific in naming the ideology that sparked the murders and the faith that made the victims a target, Obama and Clinton responded to the bombing of Christians by Islamist terrorists by referring to an attack on “Easter worshippers,” prompting nearly universal mockery and demands that they actually call the victims what they were: Christians, butchered in their churches because they were Christians.
In the case of the former president and the wannabe president, it may not be sheer ignorance that drove the decision to cast Christians in terms that make them sound as if they regularly sacrifice farm animals to strange statues on Easter Island. Because orthodox Christians are the primary opponents (or targets) of progressives in the ongoing culture wars in the West, there is also the ulterior motive of seeking to deny Christians any sympathy that could call into question their rock-bottom placement on the intersectional totem pole. Muslim victims suit the progressive narrative of Western white supremacy as the predominant threat to civilization, second only to climate change. The growing heaps of dead Christians from Nigeria to Sri Lanka are an inconvenient truth.
In fact, the Washington Post actually published a column rather giving the game away, unbelievably titled, “Christianity under attack? Sri Lanka church bombings stoke far-right anger in the West.” The authors list a number of apparently sinister condolences sent out by leaders such as Marine Le Pen and say analysts claim that the majority of terror victims are Muslim (conveniently leaving out the fact that Christians are the most persecuted faith group in the world). They also questioned the “far-right” outrage by citing this fact: “French government statistics do show hundreds of incidents of vandalism against churches last year, although the vast majority of acts were minor.” Well, that’s not such a big deal, then. Hard to imagine why people are getting so worked up. If this were said about an arson spree targeting mosques, it might be said, it would trigger paroxysms of rage and accusations of Islamophobia from the same media set.
The mainstream media consistently display a profound and embarrassing ignorance of Christianity’s core tenets and practice, which is unsurprising, considering the fact that increasingly, the public’s knowledge of Scripture comes from trashy and inaccurate Hollywood movies, and a mere 11% of them have read the entire Bible. One of the few things our media class (which is populated by journalists who, for the most part, never darken the doorway of a church) knows about orthodox Christianity is what it has to say about sexuality, the protection of human life, and the fundamental and foundational nature of the family. In short, the media see it as a collection of oppressive beliefs that should be treated with contempt. That they appear to be blissfully unaware of Islam’s teachings on these same subjects is one of progressivism’s strangest contradictions.
It is a sad fact that non-Western Christians facing violent persecution (in 144 countries, according to the Pew Research Center) receive less sympathy than almost any other group from the Western media due to the progressive Left’s hatred of Western Christians — at least, those who refuse to go galloping along with the metastasizing Sexual Revolution. Progressives may be fantastically ignorant as to what Christianity actually teaches, but they know just enough to despise it and the unwelcome restraints it places on human behavior. Thus, the mass killings of Christians can prompt solemn condolences to the “Easter worshippers”; journalists bemoaning the fact that “far-right” figures are condemning the bombing of innocent men, women, and children; and columnists reminding us that the vandals burning down French churches are committing only “minor” crimes.