By: Jack Reacher Dateline: The Swamp 28 September 2019 0757 Hours
Years ago, my boss and I worked on a large project in which a major political news organization was an active partner. During this collaboration, the stakeholders at this political news organization repeatedly suggested holding conference calls at 10am or 11am on Sundays. Each time they were surprised when both my boss and I informed them that this time did not work for us because we would be at church services. It certainly seemed to me that no one in their organization had even considered this might be an issue for scheduling.
This illustrates a larger point about political news coverage. Nearly everyone is familiar with the fact that most political reporters hold moderate to liberal views. Jay Carney went directly from being the Washington bureau chief of Time magazine to serving as the director of communications for then Vice President-elect Joe Biden. The less discussed blind spot for political journalists is that there are far too few prominent political journalists who are also active and practicing Chrisitans. This leads to coverage that is contemptuous and misleading regarding disputes involving people of faith.
Karen Pence, the Second Lady, teaches at a Christian school in Northern Virginia. One way to cover this story would be to applaud her for using her gifts and talents to educate others and get first hand experience at a private Christian school, a type of school that often does not get enough attention in debates about federal educational policy. Instead, this story was covered in many outlets as her embracing anti-LGBTQ sentiments because the school asks parents and employees to follow moral guidelines based on Christian principles, including a prohibition on homosexual acts.
Just last week, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited several schools as part of her efforts to observe different approaches to providing elementary education. The Trump administration has been remarkably open to considering all approaches to education. One could report this effort by Secretary DeVos as a thoughtful way for her to gather diverse perspectives in her role as the chief policy advisor on education to the President. Much of the press coverage about this tour centered on her visit to a Catholic School in Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, there are over 79,000 students in diocesean elementary schools in the state. This is a sizable group whose experiences are also often overlooked when formulating federal education policies.
Rather than applaud her efforts to hear from this often forgotten sector of the educational world, the press coverage centered on the anti-transgender policies of this school. However, this school merely follows the teaching of the Catholic Church and has a dioscesean policy that states,
“where there is a clear biological determination of a person’s sex and subsequent efforts to chemically and/or surgically alter the given biology. This is understood in Catholic moral terms as self-mutilation and therefore immoral. To attempt to make accommodations for such persons would be to cooperate in the immoral action and impose an unacceptable burden on others in the school community.”
One would find a similar policy at almost every Catholic school in the world.
In the insular, liberal leaning, and secular world of the DC mainstream media, a school placing Christian values at its core instead of the whims of individuals is unthinkable and must indicate that the leadership of the school is biased and prejudiced against minority groups. The viewpoint that religion often challenges us to subjugate our desires in service of a divine calling has no representation in this corner of the media landscape.
People poke fun at Christians who assert that they are a persecuted group, but there is no other way to describe a group that a major segment of the media does not understand and holds in contempt.