Liberal Two-Fer: NPR Ties Catholic Inquisition to Bush Interrogations at Guantanamo

On Monday, as thousands of Catholics were marching in the streets of Washington to protest the brutality of abortion, NPR’s Terry Gross was focusing her program “Fresh Air” on bashing the Catholic Church and the Bush administration – a liberal two-fer – with the Vanity Fair writer Cullen Murphy. His new book finds parallels between the Inquisition and the Bush team’s “persecution” of  Muslims at Guantanamo.

This kind of approach if par for the course at NPR, the network that has chummy lunches with (oops, fake) radical Muslims. On Tuesday’s Talk of the Nation, they featured a very harsh review of the tenth anniversary of the Boston Globe rooting out sex abuse by priests in Boston, featuring trial lawyer Mitchell Garabedian.A listener quickly gets the impression that the problem with the Catholic Church is its very hierarchical (and patriarchal) nature.

Secular liberals want to impose “democracy” on churches, so that the “spirit of modern times” can dominate the churches like it does the liberal media. Garabedian complained, “the same people who implemented the old policies in - within the church are implementing the new policies within the church. It's the same regime. The attitudes haven't changed. As the earlier caller stated, these higher-ups are still running the institution.” Impeach the pope?

On “Fresh Air,” Gross actually began the Inquisition talk by running comedy clips from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and Mel Brooks’ “History of the World Part I.” NPR promoted it this way:

Murphy's new book God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World  traces the history of the Inquisitions — there were several — and draws parallels between some of the interrogation techniques used in previous centuries with the ones used today.

"A few years ago, the intelligence agencies had some transcripts released ... of interrogations that were done at Guantanamo, and the interrogations done by the Inquisition were surprisingly similar and just as detailed," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "[They were] virtually verbatim."

"Many people in the Bush administration were insisting [it] was not torture at all. The Inquisition was actually very clear on the matter. It obviously was torture. That's why they were using it."

Murphy’s own website summarizes the book this way:

The Inquisition pioneered surveillance and censorship and "scientific" interrogation. As time went on, its methods and mindset spread far beyond the Church to become tools of secular persecution. Traveling from freshly opened Vatican archives to the detention camps of Guantánamo to the filing cabinets of the Third Reich, Murphy traces the Inquisition and its legacy.

Surprise, surprise! Murphy sought out a blurb by leftist New Yorker writer Jane Mayer, one of the most prominent Bush-trashing journalists (and a favorite of Terry Gross):

"From Torquemada to Guantanamo and beyond, Cullen Murphy finds the ‘inquisitorial impulse’ alive, and only too well, in our world. His engaging romp through the secret Vatican archives shows that the distance between the Dark Ages and Modernity is shockingly short.”
—Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side.

A glance at the cover might make the reader assume that the oppressed victim looks awfully Christ-like. And get a look at the hook-nosed pope with the Vatican dome on his head. Would any major publisher use a drawing like this in the 21st century to mock the Jews or the Muslims? If Guantanamo is the subject, do the publishers want to imply that 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Muhammad is like Jesus? If an author was drawing historical parallels between Islamic slaughterers of the Middle Ages and today's Muslims, would they star on NPR? You should already know the answer to that.

Tim Graham's picture


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