The Times meets the Evangelicals

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 14, 2005

It isn't often that Evangelical Christian scholars are quoted in a piece that appears on the front page of the Sunday New York Times Week in Review section. What did they do to command that attention?

Oh. They said the Bible is ambiguous about abortion.

Talk to Evangelicals at random, and you'll find very little evidence of ambiguity. But there is some. The Times has found 2-- wait, wait, no! maybe 3!-- Evangelical professors who think things are more complicated.

We shouldn't be too quick to say this is tendentious reporting. The Times, as an institution, probably has a better understanding of Mayan archeology than of the American Evangelical movement. It's only natural that their reporters would come into contact with those Evangelicals who share their own interests and views-- in much the same way that in his new home in Iceland, Bobby Fischer is probably best acquainted with the people in his neighborhood who play world-class chess.

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  • Posted by: - Nov. 17, 2005 8:33 AM ET USA

    Just because it's in the paper, doesn't mean it's true. Just Google the author of the article and you can form your own opinion. I started Googling all the authors of articles when Gabe Huck was fired by Cardinal George. It's amazing how Mr. Hucks "message" was incorporated in our texts, our worship aids etc. So knowing the author and his/her agenda is key.

  • Posted by: Sterling - Nov. 16, 2005 5:14 PM ET USA

    The Times now seems to have twice-weekly meetings about ways to dismantle Christian teachings. It's run a spate of pro-evolution articles that rely heavily on quotes from "pro-evolution" Christians. "Trinity" isn't in the Bible either, but the Times isn't writing about that ... God looks down from Heaven and He laughs.

  • Posted by: Sir William - Nov. 15, 2005 1:15 PM ET USA

    Since Protestants use the Hebrew translations of the OT, one should mention that the commandment against murder reads thus in Hebrew: lo ratsach - not (will you) rend to pieces (another) What part of this Commandment doesn't apply to most abortions? Could the TIMES honestly call strangulation or poison murder by this criteria? Is the Bible, then, ambiguous on strangulation or poison? Maybe theTIMES should get out of biblical interpretation and stick to what it does best: fiction.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 14, 2005 5:03 PM ET USA

    I don't subscribe and refuse to register, so I can't comment on the grounds offered for the story. But I will say that the Bible is ambiguous about lots of things. For instance, you find no insistence there that the sun rises in the east or that rocks roll down hills. Presumably the writers didn't want to squander papyrus on the obvious.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 14, 2005 3:01 PM ET USA

    Don't forget Frances Kissling, SpecOps!

  • Posted by: - Nov. 14, 2005 2:42 PM ET USA

    “For evangelicals, who are defined in large part by their reliance on the Bible, the question of how the Scriptures should be interpreted is crucial.” It's not crucial; it's everything. Protestants painted themselves into this box when they bought into “sola scriptura.” But we Catholics don’t need to worry about such things because we have the Church, and the Church--the sole arbiter of authentic Revelation—tells us that directed abortion is always wrong. That’s not so complicated, is it?

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Nov. 14, 2005 1:10 PM ET USA

    As a former newspaper reporter & editor, I can say without hesitation that you're right on target, Diogenes. A reporter/editor can always find the quotes that he needs for his story... & he often has a list of folks he can rely on for the quotes to "fit" the story/edtiorial/ideological agenda that the publisher wants. That's why "Father" McBrien is often on CNN... & for years, that's why "Archbishop" Weakland was a source for the NYTimes (Weakland could write for the Op/Ed page at will).

  • Posted by: - Nov. 14, 2005 1:04 PM ET USA

    Sacred Scripture is NOT ambiguous about murder. Only when abortion is redefined as anything other than murder do those esposing ambiguity come out of the woodwork.