Mollie Ziegler has leveled the playing field with Newsweek by taking alleged journalist Lisa Miller to the proverbial woodshed for a well-deserved come-uppance. But far be it from me to spoil things. First, read Miller’s breathtakingly witless trashing of the Church here. Then continue with what MZ has to say:
It is no exaggeration to say the piece was an embarrassment. My analysis of the belly flop is here. On a radio show yesterday, the host asked me whether the piece was more offensive to my sensibilities as a journalist or a Christian. I went with “journalist” since the piece wasn’t anywhere legitimate enough, theologically speaking, to be considered seriously. As a journalist, it violated almost every rule in the book. It failed to accurately represent the viewpoint being scrutinized. It was riddled with errors. It was driven by emotion. More than a few journalists — one at a competing weekly news magazine — wrote to me yesterday asking, “Where was her editor?"
Indeed. In fact, she saves her strongest criticism to answer that very question. It needs to be said here that Newsweek editor Jon Meacham is no slouch, having been widely published on religious matters, ranging from cover stories to American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation , a well-written historical portrait of religion and American politics. Indeed, MZ's post carries just a note of surprised disappointment that Meacham could forsake theological (not to say journalistic, as well) integrity for the sake of socio-political expediency:
A good editor helps shape the story, makes sure it’s well researched and reported, notices blatant mistakes or errors in logic or of bias. Well, I have bad news. Based on his editor’s note, Meacham completely failed Miller and her readers. His note introduces and praises the piece.
No matter what one thinks about gay rights — for, against or somewhere in between — this conservative resort to biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism. Given the history of the making of the Scriptures and the millennia of critical attention scholars and others have given to the stories and injunctions that come to us in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament, to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt—it is unserious, and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition.
Yes, that’s right. The editor of Newsweek thinks that argument from the Bible is “the worst kind of fundamentalism.” Can you believe that? Can that be serious? Proper exegesis is difficult and requires a great deal of understanding of languages, types of writing styles, history and tradition — but determining what the Bible teaches is very serious work. Lutherans such as myself believe that Scripture is the only divine source and the norm for our teachings. That may be shocking to a liberal Episcopalian but to call such exegesis intellectually bankrupt is ignorant. And Biblical exegesis sort of defines the “great Judeo-Christian tradition.” Perhaps Meacham’s focus on civil religion and American history has made him blind to this fact.
The lady is just getting warmed up. Do read the whole thing. And be sure to read the comments, as well.