by Steven Kokx
As of the writing of this column, 43 Catholic organizations, including Franciscan University and Ave Maria University — two schools that stopped offering health coverage because of the reforms included in the president’s health care plan — have filed lawsuits against the Obama administration for infringing on their religious freedom. Even the University of Notre Dame, a school that bestowed an honorary degree on the president in 2009, has joined its Catholic brethren in their fight.
Similar to the media’s decision to not report on the half-million or so protesters who attended the March for Life rally this past January, outlets like ABC, NBC, and CBS — all of whom spent hours on end drooling over comments made by a 30-year-old law student — have largely ignored what has become the largest legal defense of religious liberty in American history.
“Evidence of big media’s bias against religion is beyond dispute,” writes Cal Thomas, a Catholic commentator. Noting the countless number of attacks on Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, Thomas concludes that “any faith attached to a conservative agenda is to be ridiculed, stereotyped and misrepresented [by the media]. Islam is a notable exception.”
Case in point: political commentator and comedian Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, recently skewered the Catholic Church when he showed a picture of the Virgin Mary between the legs of a nude woman. It’s not the first time he’s done something offensive, and it certainly won’t be the last. But according to the Catholic League, a nonprofit organization who is demanding an apology for the stunt, Mr. Stewart has a long history of slamming Catholicism in particular. In the past, he has compared the pope to the grand wizard of the KKK, questioned whether or not Mary and Joseph had oral sex, and claimed that a Norwegian gunman who killed over 70 innocent people was simply living out his Christian faith.
Not everyone is offended by such words, though. Sandi Villarreal, associate web editor for the left-leaning Christian website Sojourners, thinks Christians should simply turn the other cheek when others mock the Church. I don’t disagree with her sentiments entirely; religious Americans should be lighthearted about certain issues. But there is a difference between self-deprecation and allowing oneself to be persecuted. When Catholics let others make fun of what they believe on a regular basis, they act as enablers and become complicit in the culture’s acceptance of values antithetical to the ones preached by Jesus Christ.
Not long ago, ABC decided to air a program originally entitled Good Christian Bitches. Though the show changed its name and was canceled due to low ratings, it proved Cal Thomas’s point about the media’s double standard when it comes to religion. Could you imagine a sitcom entitled Angry Muslim Clerics or Cheap Jewish Rabbis? Such programs would be offensive, especially to members of the Islamic and Jewish faiths. The media, however, trashes the teachings of the 1.2-billion-member Catholic Church on a daily basis.