It’s a stunning disconnect. The creators and salesmen of news are the least likely people to see the world through what might be called an eternal perspective. Rarely do they offer reverent silence on the sacred, while happily profiting from the profane. The media’s tone on religious questions is predictably wary of demanding ancient dogmas, preferring a comfortably modernist rethinking of religion, one that acknowledges that primitive men once had primitive creeds, but now — Thank God? — we’ve built up enough of a deposit of worldly wisdom to see through them. They have the arrogance to form God in their own image.
In 2004, the media were shocked to discover that President Bush was re-elected by a flock of people they clinically identified as "values voters," people who marched to the polls in resistance to liberal agenda items like unlimited partial-birth abortion and the "marriage" of two men or two women, or perhaps trios and quartets as the progressive future unfolds. These journalists had every right to be surprised. After all, they’d worked so very hard to ignore opponents to this agenda, or dismiss them as an unhealthy threat to the Jeffersonian notion of the separation of church and state.
Since every poll taken of reporters finds them measurably less religious than the average American, it’s not surprising that they miss what traditionally religious Americans perceive as the real and growing threat to church-state separation: the state dictating to the church what its creed can and cannot include, and the media presuming that they will direct the faithful by using the unfaithful.
The networks barely touched this issue, but when they did, they knew who they were going to "watchdog." The Catholic Church, not Kerry. CBS released a poll touting how "78 percent" of Catholics disapproved of the bishops disapproving of Kerry. But as with so many surveys of this nature, it was disingenuous. CBS was acting like....well, CBS. CBS did not poll practicing Catholics, but simply asked anyone who claimed to be Catholic, even if he hadn’t seen the inside of a church since he was 12.
See how the media presumed to direct the creeds of the faithful (bishops trying to uphold church teachings) by using the opinions of the unfaithful (who were more likely to be Kerry voters). But the real poll came in November, and even the Kerry-friendly network exit polls showed Bush beating Kerry among all the self-proclaimed Catholics, 52 to 47 percent.
Their reporting carries with it an arrogant insistence that all wisdom comes from saying that God has to be compartmentalized into Someone we only consult at meals or at bedtime – under our breath, of course, lest anyone be offended. The dogma of their orthodoxy insists God should not be allowed to have any influence in our legislatures, in our schools, in our music and movies, or in our voluntary associations like the Boy Scouts. We have a duty not only to separate church and state, but to separate church from education, church from entertainment, church from everything we share with each other in public.