Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

The religious illiteracy of secular reporting

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 13, 2011

 Just when you think that reporters in the mainstream media couldn't possibly show any more ignorance about religion, along comes a story to prove you wrong. This time it is the oh-so-respectable BBC. In an otherwise unenlightening commentary on Sarah Palin's use of the term "blood libel," the BBC solemnly informs us: 

Blood libel myths run counter to Jewish theology which prohibits murder.

Yes, it's true-- and not exactly surprising-- that the Jewish faith condemns murder. But somehow the BBC report conveys the impression that the Jewish condemnation of murder arises from some arcane theological point, which we readers cannot be expected to be aware of, much less to understand. 

In fact, anyone who knows anything about Judaism knows why the faith condemns murder. The phrase "Thou shalt not kill" rings a bell, doesn't it? Yet the story suggests that the BBC reporter doesn't expect his readers to be familiar with the Decalogue-- perhaps because he isn't familiar with it himself.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our August expenses ($22,308 to go):
$35,000.00 $12,692.44
64% 36%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jan. 14, 2011 11:10 AM ET USA

    I have also seen it referred to as "the body of theological opinion" - to make it even more remote from "morality". The author could have done a service for its readers to point out that the largest media and the official government media of the Islamic world today continue to circulate past versions and even new tales repeating the blood libel against Jews.

  • Posted by: Hal - Jan. 14, 2011 9:50 AM ET USA

    Geeez, Phil, "The Beeb" is so reliably anti-Catholic and theologically dim on all topics on a regular basis, that's kind of like shooting fish in a barrel, eh? ;>))

  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - Jan. 13, 2011 11:13 PM ET USA

    Not sure if this is funny or sad.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

In Iraq, the Pope has good reason to seek intervention, but fear unilateral US action 9 hours ago
As Catholic News Unfolds... August 19
An Iraqi archbishop's warning to the West August 19
The cause for beatification of Archbishop Romero: BBC botched the story August 19
Church Fathers: The Didache and the Epistle of Barnabas August 19

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8