Stop the Presses! NPR Slightly Fair to Religion

Get Religion compares two NPR stories on religious freedom and finds at least one with a decent balance:

The lede of today’s story: (2/28/17)

The collision of two core American values — freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination — is prompting a showdown in legislatures and courts across the country.
For some conservatives, religious freedom means the right to act on their opposition to same-sex marriage and other practices that go against their beliefs. LGBT advocates and their allies, meanwhile, say no one in the United States should face discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

This latest piece is absolutely fantastic: 1. No scare quotes. 2. No biased language such as “so-called.” 3. No favoritism — it clearly explains both sides and fairly represents each side’s arguments and concerns.

NPR loves the straw man question — where the interviewer completely misses the point of the right-wing argument.

I’m not ready to announce that NPR is balanced (they are not) or that they are fair (nope) but at times they interview conservatives, and get their butts kicked. The interviews air anyway.

Sebastian Gorka ate Steve Inskeep’s breakfast on Morning Edition the other day.

INSKEEP: On Feb. 3 when you were on the program, we asked if you felt the president believes Islam is a religion. The reason we had to ask that is because the previous national security advisor Michael Flynn made some statements suggesting he didn’t believe it was a religion. You weren’t aware then what the president’s view was. Have you learned since? Does the president believe Islam is a religion?

GORKA: It would be nice if you actually reported things accurately. I didn’t say I would refuse to do anything of the sort. This is not a theological seminary. This is the White House. And we’re not going to get into theological debates. If the president has a certain attitude to a certain religion, that’s something you can ask him. But we’re talking about national security and the totalitarian ideologies that drive the groups that threaten America.

I’ve read that Gorka is on the list of Trump staffers who the left would like to force out.


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2 Responses to Stop the Presses! NPR Slightly Fair to Religion

  1. onwyrdsdream says:

    I’d like to quibble a bit on the first sentence.

    “The collision of two core American values — freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination”

    Freedom of religion is an American value. Freedom from discrimination is an American ideal.

    value: a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.

    ideal: 1) satisfying one’s conception of what is perfect; most suitable. 2) existing only in the imagination; desirable or perfect but not likely to become a reality.

    the reason I say that is based on what they’re really about. “Freedom of religion” operates under the assumption that it isn’t my place to tell you what, who, how, or if you worship. In so much as we have any say in your worship, it is only to the degree that it goes against our laws, which in theory can’t be about religion itself. “freedom from discrimination” operates under the assumption that some human agency is qualified to judge for all of us which among the myriad qualities of a human being we’re allowed to use when we judge how we’ll interact with an individual.

    freedom of religion is a value, because we want others to respect our choices as far as our religion goes, and in exchange we agree to do the same. We consider our particular religious preferences to be important in defining who we are, and our relationship with our fellows and with God.

    On the other hand, “freedom from discrimination” is an ideal. We’d like to not be discriminated against, but we’d hate to not be able to discriminate against others. We’d like to not discriminate against certain groups for certain reasons, but against other groups we’d love nothing more than to discriminate against them seven times a day. The who changes from individual to individual, but be it illegal immigrants, bloody murderers, or chick-fil-a, there will always be some people are part of the exception. Because being indiscriminate is actually a bad thing, even if we accept that it would be nice to discriminate less, it is completely unrealistic that we wouldn’t discriminate at all.

    But wait! it’s different! We’re talking about discriminating against certain classes.

    Yes. That’s the thing. “Certain classes” has no limiting principle. “Axe Murderers” could become a protected class. “Freedom of religion” has a limiting principle. Once you’re not interfering with someone’s religion, it’s pretty difficult to do more. Err. Less.


  2. Quibble away, young man! I have heard some really terrible stories on NPR, and a few conservative interviews where the guest completely outclasses the interviewer.

    I even hear a part of a story yesterday about the ethical issues relating to using fetuses. (They called them something like proto-fetuses since they were days old only.) It seemed the story actually supported the notion that once a fetus is a few days old, they can be an ethical dilemma. These were out of the womb creations. I was stunned.

    Ax murderers would be a protected class if they did so out of a non-Christian worldview.


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