NPR head apologizes for linking anthrax attack to Traditional Values Coalition
A January 22 broadcast of National Public Radio's Morning Edition suggested the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) might be under investigation for sending anthrax-laced mail to U.S. Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. Yesterday, it was National Public Radio that found itself under federal scrutiny as the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce held hearings on the broadcast.
"Perhaps public broadcasting does not understand why Americans associated with the Traditional Values Coalition and strongly associated with their Christian faith would be offended," said the committee chairman, Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.).
"We have made mistakes at NPR," said Kevin Klose, the network's president and CEO. "One mistake was our report about TVC . You have my personal and professional apology. I'm sorry about our mistake, and I hope we can move forward from here."
TVC executive director Andrea Lafferty says NPR's apology isn't enough. "NPR continues to employ the 'blame the rape victim' tactic," she told the committee. "Traditional Values Coalition is the victim here, but they are doing whatever they can to make it seem like we are the perpetrators, not NPR. I personally have suffered, as has Traditional Values Coalition."
Video of the hearing is available, but it's nearly four hours long. A transcript will be available within two or three months.
The "Toupee Revival" revisited
In the middle of a sermon on June 4, 2000, PromiseLand Church pastor Kenneth Phillips reached up and pulled off his toupee. "Pastor Phillips spoke about vanity and the sin of pride," The Dallas Morning News recalls. "He confessed that his fake hair had become a barrier with God." The story didn't end there, however:
Those who were there that night heard an emotional sermon on the sin of pride that none have forgotten to this day. Not a word. It changed them. Some canceled vacations to pray about the sin of pride in their own lives. They unplugged televisions to spend more time with family. Young people vowed to stop wearing immodest clothing. Kim Williams sold her Corvette.
Pentecostals around the country are calling it the "Austin Awakening," but hats (and toupees) off to the Dallas Morning News for noting the theological debate in this story: Since Phillips is a "oneness Pentecostal," most Trinitarian Pentecostals aren't willing to embrace the "Austin Awakening." "That's still a firewall that divides Pentecostals," Charisma editor Lee Grady tells the paper. "What's happening in Austin may be well-known in Pastor Phillips's orbit, but it's not that big on the larger Pentecostal radar screen."
Still, wouldn't it be nice to see some Christian leaders and media personalities without their hairpieces?
- No quick rucifix | The voucher decision may be bad for Christianity (Steven Waldman, Slate.com)
- Vouchers backers plan more challenges | Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on June 27 that school-choice programs are constitutional, 47 states still restrict state legislatures from approving voucher money for "sectarian" private schools under a provision known as the Blaine Amendment (The Washington Times)
- Lines dividing vouchers | For now, the conservatives have what they want -- an erasure of the line dividing church and state but not the line dividing city and suburb (David S. Broder, The Washington Post)
- Vouchers facing tough hurdles | Wording in Pennsylvania's Constitution that prohibits the mingling of church and state will make it difficult for any school voucher proposal to gain ground in the state Legislature (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- In Virginia, a tuition tax credit is more likely | State constitution has higher wall between church and state (The Washington Post)
- An un-American pledge | Despite the outraged claims that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has banned the Pledge of Allegiance in its decision that the inclusion of "one nation under God" violates the First Amendment's separation of church and state, the pledge is still alive if spoken without that clause in an official governmental setting (Nat Hentoff)
- Rulings on religion may have little impact | Religious institutions and their adherents may obtain an incremental benefit from the court's narrower construction of the Constitution's prohibition pertaining to aid to religion. But those same groups and individuals stand to lose much more if the Constitution's guarantee that they can practice their religion without government interference is read in a similarly constrained manner (Avi Schick, Newsday)
Pledge of Allegiance:
- Pledge follows Bush to church | President Bush joined more than 100 parishioners at a seaside church yesterday in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during services, a defiant dig at a recent San Francisco court ruling on the pledge's "under God" phrase (The Washington Times)
- How 'under God' got in there | With Eisenhower Present, D.C. Pastor's Sermon Sparked Quest to Change Pledge (The Washington Post)
- The irony behind lessons of secularism | In our effort to win a war against these religious warriors, we wrap the cloak of religion even tighter around us. (Salim Muwakkil, Chicago Tribune)
- Pious pledgers all | America is a famously religious nation. That is a fact. Religion really needs no help from the governmentand that is a fact also (Richard Cohen, The Washington Post)
- It was no 'scare' | Supporters of taking out the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance have come up with a new twist in their arsenal of arguments: It was part and parcel of the McCarthyite witch-hunt of the 1950s, when America faced a phony Red menace and the real dangers came from right-wing proponents of a new conformity (Ronald Radosh, New York Post)
- When patriotism wasn't religious | Perhaps the next step for those who identify patriotism with religion will be to try to amend the Constitution itself by mentioning God (Arthur Schlesinger Jr, The New York Times)
- God & man at the founding | Secularists are wrong on religion (Stanley Kurtz, National Review Online)
- 500- year wait for Mass | A churchbelieved to be the smallest in England is to hold its first Catholic Mass since the Reformation (BBC)
- Poll: 58 percent of Mexicans would prefer ailing Pope to stay at home | 31 percent say he should come (Associated Press)
- Pope struggles through short speech (Associated Press)
- Vatican threatens to excommunicate women 'priests' | Austrian, German and U.S. women were ordained by Argentine bishop Romulu Braschi, the founder of a schismatic community (Associated Press)
Copyright © 2002 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
See our past Weblog updates: