CNN's Roland Martin Uses Platform to Attack the Pope

On the same day that he attacked the GOP as being "scared of black folks," CNN contributor Roland Martin posted a column on in which he proclaimed the "irrelevancy" of Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church, specifically in the context of a recent document that clarified what the Catholic Church teaches about other Christian denominations. He advised non-Catholic Christians that they "shouldn't even bother getting upset" over the recent document issued by the Catholic Church. "Just chalk up to an old man trying to get a little attention," he said of Pope Benedict XVI. Martin also described the Pope as a "hardliner" who was trying to correct interpretations of the Second Vatican Council by liberals, who, in the Pope's view, had gone "too far in some of their declarations." At the same time, he also praised a Catholic priest in Chicago (Martin's current place of residence) who launched a death threat publically against a gun shop owner in a nearby suburb earlier this year.

Martin's column, as described by CNN, "are part of an occasional series of commentaries on that offers a broad range of perspectives, thoughts, and points of view." CNN's own past indicates that they probably aren't going to make the "range of perspectives" very broad. When controversy erupted over the Danish Mohammed cartoons in 2006, they took the following stance: "CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons in respect for Islam." Apparently, the same kind of respect won't be shown to Catholics who might be offended by Roland Martin's column. In their own descriptive for the column, CNN summarizes Martin's viewpoint with the following: "This is evidence of [Pope Benedict's] ego being more important than work of Christ, columnist says."

Martin became a CNN contributor earlier this year, and besides his regular appearances on "American Morning," has written a couple of columns on religion and politics on CNN's website. In the first article on the subject, he criticized Christian conservatives' focus on abortion and homosexuality. In the second, he continued his criticism of pro-life Christians. In both of these articles, Martin identifies himself as a Christian.

In this most recent commentary, Martin gave an account of his background as someone who was "born and raised in the Catholic Church" and was once a "die-hard Catholic." He contrasts the "bland" Catholic parish he grew up in with that of Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina parish in Chicago, who "will surely have your soul jumping with his strong sermons and willingness to engage the community to get involved in direct action." However, Martin doesn't mention Father Pfleger's involvement with Jesse Jackson's Rainbow-PUSH Coalition's "direct action" against Chuck's Gun Shop in Riverdale, Illinois, in which he threatened to "snuff out" the shop's owner. I guess Martin warms up to the Catholic hierarchy when they support left-wing causes.

Martin then spent the second half of his column quoting from Scripture in his criticism of the Pope and the recent document, something that he didn't do in his other columns. He also includes the following lament: "It is these kind of missives by Pope Benedict XVI that do nothing to support or build the community of faith. All it does is divide."

Even with this kind of preaching, Martin's use of terms like "hardliner" and "liberal" in his column demonstrates that he can't escape his liberal viewpoint when writing about religion.

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