No times like the New York Times

Notes from the religion beat of the newspapers of the New York Times Company:

  • The Southern Baptists have traditionally emphasized congregational autonomy, and so oppose credal formulas. They recently decided for the first time to require all overseas workers to sign a lengthy statement of faith. A few of the 5,500 workers didn’t want to sign, including 20 who quit, 10 who retired early, and 13 who were fired. Among the 43 who left there was one couple who said they disagreed with provisions on women as pastors and the relation between husbands and wives. How did The New York Times report it? You guessed it! Discord Over Edict Leaves 43 Out of Baptist Mission Service: “The Southern Baptist Convention’s missionary service said today that 43 people had left the organization, including 13 who were fired, because they refused to endorse a statement of faith that opposes women as pastors and says wives should submit to their husbands …”
  • The Boston Glob decided to offer some free advice to the Pope on who to appoint as the new archbishop. So they randomly called 400 self-identified Catholics, only 15% of whom are likely to be at mass any particular Sunday, and discovered that a group of people who don’t see any point in going to church also don’t see a reason for the church to be different from anyone else, for example on “social issues.” How did they report that? “Boston-area Catholics, increasingly alienated by the sexual abuse crisis that has rocked the church, say the characteristic they would most like to see in a new archbishop is openness to change, according to a new Boston Globe poll.”

Meanwhile, the Times has a scandal of its own: they hired a young black college dropout on the make, moved him along ignoring obvious repeated problems with his work, and put him on high-profile national assignments. The high profile made it hard to hide the fact that the part of his work he wasn’t inventing he was plagarizing. The Times has been having a public fit about the case, worrying that some of its facts were wrong. How about worrying about obvious spin and bias?

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